Would it be out of line to say I’ve discovered my life’s purpose and it is cutting down on dishes? If so, then healthy pasta recipes like this Chicken Broccoli Ziti that cook entirely in ONE PAN (including the pasta itself) are my vocation.

Delicious and creamy chicken broccoli ziti recipe in a skillet

Dedicating one’s life to streamlining dish duty (while eating carbs) might be demanding, but I can’t say no to divine authority—especially when it tastes like heaven.

In addition to getting all of us out of washing a separate pasta pot (you’re welcome), cooking the pasta in the same skillet as other ingredients can actually make it easier to create a creamy pasta that tastes decadent but, like this broccoli pasta, is actually healthy for you.

As it cooks, the pasta releases starches that make the sauce taste velvety and rich, without the need for actual cream.

You also don’t have to sit around and wait for the pasta water to boil, an amount of time that seems to increase the hungrier I am.

This creamy chicken broccoli ziti is so many wonderful things that we need right now. It’s reasonably light and healthy—the amount of cheese is moderate without being stingy, the chicken is lean and filling, and just look at that broccoli green!—but it is substantial enough to be craveable on a chilly winter night.

I jazzed up this pasta with artichokes, a convenient item to keep in your pantry. I’m already envisioning future versions made with sautéed spinach added or even peas.

If you share my devotion to carbs that cut down on dishes, be sure to check out a few of my other one-pot pastas like this Sweet Potato Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, this Cauliflower Pasta, this Taco Pasta, and this Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Gnocchi.

I also have a whole section of one-pan meals!

This recipe has a fairly high vegetable-to-noodle ratio, which is exactly how we love our pasta, and it makes a more balanced meal. You can serve the pasta with an extra side of veggies if you like, but honestly we found it filling and healthy just as it is. Dinner, done!

Easy and healthy pasta recipe in a skillet with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs

How to Make One Pan Chicken Broccoli Ziti

This recipe will work with any tube-shaped pasta. Feel free to try it with rigatoni, rotini, or penne in place of the ziti. You’ll need to keep an eye on the pasta as it cooks to make sure it doesn’t dry out, but it’s highly doable and fairly easy-breezy.

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. A source of lean protein and something we always have in our freezer. If you like, you could also try this recipe with cooked Italian chicken or turkey sausage. For a shortcut, make this chicken broccoli ziti with rotisserie chicken instead.
  • Broccoli. Not only is this little green veggie is a tasty addition to our pasta dish, but it’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Whole Wheat Pasta. Pasta is universally loved for its delicious flavor, texture, and ability to grab on to sauces. I prefer to use whole wheat pasta, which contains B vitamins, fiber, and minerals, making it a healthy choice compared to regular white pasta.
  • Non-Fat Milk. Cooking the pasta in milk yields a lightly creamy sauce reminiscent of Alfredo sauce, but it’s made without cream or even cream cheese. Result: a decadent tasting chicken broccoli ziti that is healthy for you.
  • Chicken Broth. In addition to the milk, the chicken broth helps create the scrumptious garlic sauce.
  • Spices. My perfect combination was salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. It’s a little heat and a lot of flavor!
  • Veggies + Aromatics. In addition to the broccoli, I added garlic, onion, and canned artichoke hearts to this ziti recipe. They turn delightfully tender and give the sauce a more complex flavor.
  • Lemon Juice. For a touch of acid, balance, and brightness.
  • Parmesan Cheese. I can’t resist stirring in this wonderfully nutty cheese. It perfectly complements all the other flavors in the recipe, especially the lemon garlic sauce.

The Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet, saute the chicken, then remove it to a plate. Next saute the onion.
  2. Stir in the broth and milk, bringing it to a boil. Add the ziti. Once boiling, add in the broccoli. Boil until the pasta is al dente, stirring often.
  3. Add the artichoke hearts, lemon juice, Parmesan, parsley, and chicken. Serve warm with additional cheese and herbs. ENJOY!

A skillet with chicken, pasta, and vegetables

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Pasta

  • To Store. Store leftover ziti in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently reheat the ziti in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, adding additional broth as needed. You can also rewarm the pasta in the microwave until hot.
  • To Freeze. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

More Favorite Chicken and Broccoli Recipes

A tasty pasta dish made with vegetables, chicken, and Parmesan cheese

Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe

  • Dutch Oven. One of my most prized kitchen tools. It’s ideal for one-pot recipes like this ziti.
  • Chef’s Knife. A sharp chef’s knife will cook beside you for years. Plus, it makes prepping your veggies and chicken easier.
  • Cutting Board. I love this non-slip cutting board.

Creamy chicken broccoli ziti in a skillet with artichokes and Parmesan cheese

More time eating, less time washing. I think we can all support this idea!

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes. I love to hear from you! Your feedback and knowing you enjoy the recipes I post keeps me energized to continue creating easy, healthy recipes like this one.

Chicken Broccoli Ziti with a creamy garlic sauce in a skillet

Chicken Broccoli Ziti

4.83 from 29 votes
This creamy Chicken Broccoli Ziti cooks in one pan for easy clean up. Ready in 30 minutes! This healthy pasta recipe is lighter but doesn't skimp on flavor.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch strips
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional; or reduce to 1/8 teaspoon if sensitive to spice
  • 1 14-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk plus additional as needed
  • 6 ounces dry whole wheat ziti pasta or similar pasta such as penne, rigatoni, or fusilli (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 1 medium head broccoli cut into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water drained, cut into quarters, and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for even more lemon flavor, add the zest also
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus additional for serving

Instructions
 

  • Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium high. Once the butter is melted, add the chicken and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Saute until the chicken is golden on the outside and completely cooked through, about 5 minutes. With a large spoon, remove the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the onion. Cook until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Do not let the onion brown (adjust the heat as needed if it starts to brown). Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Slowly stir in the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then add the ziti. Let the ziti boil for 5 minutes, then stir in the broccoli florets. Continue boiling until the ziti is al dente, about 5 to 7 minutes more. Stir often to make sure the ziti cooks evenly. If at any point the pasta looks too dry, splash in additional milk as needed.
  • Stir in the artichoke hearts, lemon juice, Parmesan, parsley, and reserved chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning as you like. Enjoy hot, with a sprinkle of extra Parmesan and parsley as desired.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store leftover ziti in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently reheat the ziti in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, adding additional broth as needed. You can also rewarm the pasta in the microwave until hot.
  • TO FREEZE: Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 514kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 37gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1067mgPotassium: 946mgFiber: 7gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 2178IUVitamin C: 91mgCalcium: 281mgIron: 3mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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76 Comments

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  1. Delicious, doesn’t weigh you down like creamy alfredo but doesn’t skip on flavor! I love being able to do it all in one pan too.5 stars

  2. Yum yum yum! I made a few variations only because I didn’t have exactly the ingredients in my cupboard, but we loved it. Good one Erin! I’ll check out the rest of your recipes!5 stars

  3. I loved it for ease of cooking, flavor and variety. It can also be adjusted for sodium by using a blackened seasoning instead of the kosher salt. Great recipe!5 stars

  4. Can you use almond milk instead of low fat milk and can you use chickpea pasta instead of whole wheat pasta for this recipe?

    1. Hi Kiran! I’ve never tried either of these swaps, so it would be a complete experiment. If you try using almond milk, make sure that it’s unsweetened. Since you generally need to drain and rinse chickpea pasta to remove the chickpea starch, you may want to cook the pasta separately and rinse it before adding it to the pot. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  5. I’d have to rate all of the recipes from this site a 5 Star. I’ve literally been cooking from this site for two weeks now. I just served this up. The hub’s just said, Ooooo that has good flavor! I did make it GF so I could enjoy. It’s filling, yet light! Thank you for this website. I actually started a FB page with a few friends and we share recipes and healthy tid bits.5 stars

  6. sorry just saw this now will be making this soon with few subs perfct for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

  7. Can frozen broccoli florets be used instead of fresh? Just did not know if would be same cook time, etc. thanks.

    1. Hi Robin! I think frozen broccoli will work fine here. However, I’d recommend cooking it separately, then adding it in later with the cooked chicken. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Sue, I’m very sorry to hear that this recipe didn’t turn out for you as expected. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I truly wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  8. Great recipe!! Easy to follow and came out delish! I added too much Italian seasoning. Besides that it was delish!!5 stars

  9. Made this last night! Wow! It was excellent! Tasty and in one pan! I do like spicy so I added a jalapeño. This will now be in the dinner rotation!! Thank you!!5 stars

  10. My entire family of picky eaters devours this! I roasted the broccoli first bc that’s how we love it. So easy and delicious. Thank you!5 stars

  11. My family says it’s a keeper! We made a couple of adjustments because I didn’t have non-fat milk or whole wheat pasta. It still turned out fantastic and it’s very easy to make.5 stars

  12. We liked this recipe very much. I loved that it was one pot and very quick to make.

    I used almond milk and it worked fine. Also used frozen broccoli that I cooked, chopped up and added at the same time as the chicken (which was leftover Costco chicken). Very light creamy sauce.

    I can see modifiy this recipe to use up leftovers or adding just a little pesto sauce also.

    Thanks5 stars

  13. This recipe turned out really well and had great flavor. My sauce broke but I just stirred it a bunch until it blended in and when I added the Parmesan that took care of any visual problems. I will definitely make it again.5 stars

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