I made this Lemon Dill Chicken Pasta with Goat Cheese at the insistence of an herb.
My general meal planning tactic is to create recipes that use up whichever leftover ingredients I would be the saddest to see spoil.
Was it the artisan salami I bought on impulse at the fancy supermarket which commanded our menu? The shallots that have been lurking in a dark corner of our pantry? The gruyere cheese I used to make Crab Artichoke Toasts? No—it was the bundle of fresh dill for which I paid a grand total of $.79.
The idea of seeing its downy soft, fragrant leaves turn brown tore so forcefully at my heart, that I based an entire dish around its signature spring flavor (it also inspired this Creamy Cucumber Salad and Smoked Salmon Dip).
Thus, this lemon dill chicken pasta with goat cheese was born.
When dill is dictating the menu, lemon is a necessity—the two are the dearest of flavor BFFs.
Next, came the idea of pasta, since a) one can never have too many quick and healthy pasta dishes (like this Ricotta Pasta) in one’s arsenal and, b) my only concrete plan at this point was an herb and some lemon juice, which is another way of saying, I didn’t have a plan at all.
Pasta to the rescue!
In the end, this lemon dill pasta with goat cheese turned out to be one of our favorite dinners that I’ve made in quite a while (it’s right up there with this Garlic Pasta).
It’s simple, flavorful, and filled with some of spring’s best offerings. I hope you enjoy!
5 Star Review
“I made this recipe just as you said and it was delicious! I will definitely be making this one again.”— Elise —
How to Make Lemon Dill Chicken Pasta with Goat Cheese
This bright, nourishing, spring pasta recipe is made with simple healthy ingredients that require almost zero cooking (like this Chicken Broccoli Ziti). With a trio of spring favorites: sautéed red onions, peas, and spinach, this easy weeknight pasta dish will be on repeat all season long.
- Whole Wheat Pasta. Regardless of if I’m making Chicken Pesto Pasta or Mediterranean Pasta, I always will reach for whole wheat pasta to add some fiber and protein to my pasta recipes.
- Chicken Breast. A lean protein choice that adds some heartiness to the dish.
- Peas. Bejewel this spring pasta recipe with some healthy green color along with some plant-based protein and fiber. (This Pea Salad is another perfect way to kick off spring cooking.)
- Dill. If you ask me, nothing screams spring like a recipe packed with fresh dill flavor. (It’s also key to this flavorful Pea Crostini recipe).
- Goat Cheese. For a tangy, no-fuss cream sauce that doesn’t require a roux or heavy cream. (I also love it in this Creamy Arugula Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomato.)
- Lemon. Both zest and juice for some springtime brightness and acidity. For another bright lemony pasta, try this Pasta al Limone.)
- Red Onion. For some spicy bite and zip.
- Cook pasta until al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
- In a skillet, sauté the chicken until cooked through, then remove to plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onions.
- Toss in the peas.
- Add the reserved chicken, pasta, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and toss together with some of the reserved pasta water, as needed.
- Stir in the spinach, dill, and goat cheese. Cook until the spinach wilts and goat cheese is melted and creamy. ENJOY!
- To Store. Place leftover pasta in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm pasta in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat, adding splashes of broth as needed to thin the sauce. Top leftovers with a squeeze of lemon juice to refresh the flavors. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
Maybe I should obey my herbs more often.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pasta water is a magical ingredient that you should start using in pasta recipes if you’re not doing so already. It helps bind the pasta and sauce together and helps thicken the sauces to the perfect consistency.
To Make this pasta gluten free, swap the whole wheat pasta for your favorite variety of gluten free pasta. Then, prepare as directed.
Sure! If you’d like to make this pasta recipe without chicken so it is vegetarian, you can simply omit it. For extra protein you can toss in some edamame, drained and rinsed white beans, or roasted chickpeas for some crunch.
Lemon Dill Chicken Pasta with Goat Cheese
- 8 ounces whole wheat bowtie pasta or pasta of your choice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 3 teaspoons, divided, plus additional for tossing pasta
- 10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 large or 2 small breasts)
- 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup green peas fresh or frozen
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice about 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups fresh chopped spinach
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain. Toss the drained pasta with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking, then set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add the chicken and sauté until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes (be careful as the oil may splatter). With a slotted spoon, remove to plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
- Reduce pan heat to medium. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the skillet, the onions, salt, and pepper, and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften; about 1 minute. Add the peas and cook until heated through (about 1 minute for fresh or 3 minutes for frozen).
- Add the reserved chicken, reserved pasta, remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. If the pasta seems to dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water.
- Just before serving, stir in the spinach, dill, and goat cheese. Serve warm.
- TO STORE: Place leftover pasta in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm pasta in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat, adding splashes of broth as needed to thin the sauce. Top leftovers with a squeeze of lemon juice to refresh the flavors. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
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