Orzo Pasta Salad

This light & fresh Orzo Pasta Salad is full of colorful veggies and a delicious homemade dressing. Perfect for BBQs or meal prep it for the week!

The post Orzo Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Every now and then I come across a recipe at a restaurant that I absolutely love, then I spend the next few moments trying to guess what’s in it so I can recreate it at home…for a lot less! Well today, I’m sharing one of those recipes! This Orzo Pasta Salad is inspired by a dish at one of my favorite restaurants, J. Alexander’s, and it’s now going into my pasta salads rotation!🙌 It includes fresh veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes and onion, along with tart & slightly sweet dried cranberries, and the best homemade vinaigrette dressing to bring it all together. This pasta salad recipe will definitely become a new favorite!

Overhead view of Orzo Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl with wood serving spoons on the side.

Ingredients For Orzo Pasta Salad

The restaurant version of this recipe includes wild rice, but I decided to leave the rice out because for one…wild rice can be expensive, and two…wild rice takes quite a bit of time to cook. But I absolutely love this version instead! So here’s everything you need to make this simple orzo pasta salad recipe:

  • Orzo: Orzo is a small shaped pasta that looks similar to rice. It cooks quickly and is popular in soups and salads just like this one. If you don’t have access to orzo pasta, you can certainly substitute it for a different small-shaped pasta instead.
  • Vegetables: A combination of veggies like bell peppers, roma tomatoes, red onion and sweet corn, adds lots of color, flavor, and texture. I made sure to dice the vegetables small so they match the proportion size of the rest of the ingredients.
  • Dried Cranberries: One of the things I love most about this pasta salad is the addition of the dried cranberries. It adds a tart & slightly sweet flavor and compliments the sweet corn and dressing perfectly!
  • Vinaigrette Dressing: To keep things light and fresh, I opted for a homemade vinaigrette dressing made with simple pantry ingredients and sweetened with a bit of honey. It’s so good!!

Variations & Recipe Tips!

  1. Switch it up! If you’re looking to change up the flavor profile, then try adding some Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, and greek salad dressing, for a Mediterranean-inspired orzo pasta salad!
  2. Wanna make it more filling? Add some grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, or a can of chickpeas (drained & rinsed). 
  3. Cool down the pasta. Don’t forget to give the cooked pasta and corn a quick rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process and cool off the pasta before adding the veggies, herbs and cheese.

Serving Suggestions

This light and summery orzo pasta salad is perfect for BBQs and cookouts! Add it to your summer menu and enjoy it with some turkey burgers or grilled salmon. It’s also great with leaner proteins like Baked Cod, Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts, or even some Garlic Butter Shrimp on the side.

Side view of orzo pasta salad in a white serving bowl.
Overhead view of Orzo Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl with wood serving spoons on the side.
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Orzo Pasta Salad

This light & fresh Orzo Pasta Salad is full of colorful veggies and a delicious homemade dressing. Perfect for BBQs or meal prep it for the week!
Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $9.99 recipe / $1.24 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 (1 cup each)
Calories 265kcal

Ingredients

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil $0.96
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar $0.39
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.04
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp honey $0.18

Pasta Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta $1.49
  • 1 cup frozen corn $0.41
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.59
  • 1 yellow bell pepper $1.59
  • 2 roma tomatoes $0.78
  • 1/2 red onion $0.40
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries $1.70
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley $0.29
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Start by making the vinaigrette dressing. In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, basil, salt and honey until smooth. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  • Cook the orzo pasta according to the package directions. Add the frozen corn to the boiling water during the last 3 minutes of the pasta cook time.  Drain the pasta and corn in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the pasta.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the veggies. Dice the bell peppers and tomatoes, finely dice the red onion, measure out the dried cranberries, and chop the parsley.
  • Transfer the pasta and corn to a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables, chopped parsley and dried cranberries.
  • Give the vinaigrette dressing another stir. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and season with 1/4 tsp salt. Toss the salad ingredients together until everything is evenly coated in the dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 163mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead view of two white bowls of orzo pasta salad.

How to Make Orzo Pasta Salad – Step by Step Photos

Vinaigrette dressing for orzo pasta salad.

Start by making the vinaigrette dressing. In a medium bowl whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp honey until smooth. Set the vinaigrette aside.

Cooked orzo and corn drained in a colander.

Cook 1 1/2 cups of orzo pasta according to the package directions. Add 1 cup frozen corn to the boiling water during the last 3 minutes of the pasta cook time.  Drain the pasta and corn in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the pasta.

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the veggies. Dice 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 2 roma tomatoes, finely dice 1/2 red onion, measure out 3/4 cups dried cranberries, and chop 1/4 cup fresh parsley. (Frozen corn is pictured on the cutting board, but is added in the previous step with the boiling pasta).

Cooked orzo, corn, and chopped vegetables in a large bowl with vinaigrette dressing being poured on top.

Transfer the cooked pasta and corn to a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables, chopped parsley and dried cranberries. Give the vinaigrette dressing another stir. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad.

Orzo pasta salad ingredients mixed together in a large bowl.

Toss the salad ingredients together until everything is evenly coated in the dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to enjoy!

Overhead view of orzo pasta salad in a large white serving bowl with wooden serving spoons on the side.

Enjoy this light, fresh and summery orzo pasta salad at your next BBQ, cookout or family gathering! Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

The post Orzo Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Pasta Salad

This easy Pasta Salad is full of fresh flavors and tossed in a zesty Italian dressing. It will be the star at your next BBQ or summer cookout!

The post Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Friends, this is the pasta salad recipe that I grew up on! A simple mix of cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and pasta, all tossed together in a zesty and tangy Italian dressing. It’s a classic! And it was always everyone’s favorite side dish at summer BBQs and cookouts! It’s fresh, vibrant, and it definitely feeds a crowd. There are also lots of ways you can customize this easy pasta salad to fit within your budget and make it your own. I’m sharing a basic version in today’s post, but I’ll also share lots of fun ways to switch things up!

Overhead view of pasta salad in a large white serving bowl with wood serving utensils on the side.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s everything you need to make this traditional pasta salad recipe:

  • Pasta: I opted for rotini pasta because it’s easy to grab with a fork and it’s little crevices are perfect for holding the salad dressing. With that being said, my mom always made this recipe with spaghetti pasta…and it was always a hit! So use your favorite pasta or whatever you have on hand. Bowtie pasta also works well!
  • Vegetables: A variety of fresh vegetables like bell peppers, cucumber, onion and tomatoes adds lots of color, flavor, and texture! I chose red and orange bell peppers for lots of color, but feel free to use whichever color you prefer.
  • Salad Dressing: Tangy Italian dressing is a classic with this recipe and brings the entire salad together. I’ll list a couple more options below.
  • Cheese: Just a little bit of feta cheese adds a nice creamy-salty flavor to the salad.
  • Fresh Herbs: Fresh chopped parsley tops off this veggie-packed pasta salad!

Pasta Salad Dressing

Since I usually make this recipe for potlucks & BBQs, along with a few other dishes, I find it a lot easier to buy bottled Italian dressing simply for convenience. But if you have a well stocked pantry, you can totally make your own vinaigrette dressing to add to this pasta salad. You can also try our homemade Italian dressing, a greek vinaigrette, or a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

What Else Can I Add?

Salad Seasoning: McCormick salad seasoning is another popular ingredient in pasta salads and something that I often use when making this recipe. I was tempted to add it this time until I saw the current price at my local store. It’s definitely a splurge! I also find myself not using the entire bottle before it expires. But I’m happy to report this version tastes just as good without the added seasoning mix. But if you do have the extra coins, add 2 Tbsp of salad seasoning to your pasta salad for even more flavor!!

Other Ingredients: What I love most about pasta salads is that they’re super easy to customize. Try swapping out some of the veggies or adding any of these options: 

  • Broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • Kalamata olives
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Salami
  • Mozzarella cubes or pearls
  • Parmesan cheese

Storing Leftovers

This pasta salad recipe stores very well in the refrigerator. It often tastes better the next day after the salad has had plenty of time to marinate in the dressing. You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Side view of pasta salad in a white serving bowl.
Overhead view of pasta salad in a large white serving bowl with wood serving utensils on the side.
Print

Pasta Salad

This easy Pasta Salad is full of fresh flavors and tossed in a zesty Italian dressing. It will be the star at your next BBQ or summer cookout!
Course Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $13.44 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 10 (1.5 cups each)
Calories 307kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rotini pasta $1.25
  • 1 english cucumber $1.49
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.59
  • 1 orange bell pepper $1.59
  • 10 oz. grape tomatoes $2.49
  • 1/2 red onion $0.37
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley $0.29
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese $1.83
  • 16 oz. bottled zesty Italian dressing $2.50
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the pasta. Drain well.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the veggies. Slice the cucumber into half moons, chop the bell peppers, slice the tomatoes in half, thinly slice the red onion, and chop the parsley. Set the vegetables and chopped parsley aside.
  • Once the pasta has drained, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables, chopped parsley and feta cheese.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta salad. Toss the salad ingredients together until everything is evenly coated in the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste, I added about ¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp ground black pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.*

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*I prefer to let the pasta salad refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours prior to serving so all the flavors can marry together. If you are making this ahead of time, wait to add the feta cheese until right before serving.
**I portioned this into generous servings, but this recipe can definitely feed a lot more people if you’re serving this with other side dishes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 558mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead view of a serving of pasta salad on a plate with a fork on the side.

How to Make Pasta Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cooked and drained rotini pasta in a colander.

Cook 1 lb. of rotini pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the pasta. Drain well.

Chopped pasta salad vegetable ingredients on a cutting board.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the veggies. Slice 1 cucumber into half moons, chop 1 red bell pepper and 1 orange bell pepper, slice 10 oz. of grape tomatoes in half, thinly slice 1/2 red onion, and chop 2 Tbsp of fresh parsley. Set the vegetables and herbs aside.

Pasta salad ingredients added to a large white serving bowl.

Once the pasta has drained, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables, chopped parsley and 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese.

Italian dressing being poured over pasta salad.

Pour 16 oz. of zesty Italian dressing over the pasta salad. Sometimes I like to reserve 1/4 cup of the dressing to add right before I serve it.

Pasta salad being tossed and mixed together with serving utensils.

Toss the salad ingredients together until everything is evenly coated in the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste, I added about ¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp ground black pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. I prefer to let it refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours prior to serving so all the flavors can marry together. If you are making this ahead of time, wait to add the feta cheese until right before serving.

Overhead view of pasta salad in a large white serving bowl with wood serving utensils on the side.

Enjoy this tasty pasta salad recipe at your next summer BBQ, potluck, or family gathering!

Close up view of pasta salad in a white serving bowl.

The post Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Baked Ziti

This baked ziti uses ricotta, mozzarella, and creme fraîche to make a bubbly, rich pasta with a hearty, spinach-flecked red sauce loaded with flavor. The creme fraîche keeps things silky, adds dimension, and is a game changer. A family favorite that freezes well and happily feeds a crowd.

Continue reading Baked Ziti on 101 Cookbooks

I discovered a truly fantastic version of baked ziti in 2017 when I started cooking from Colu Henry’s Back Pocket Pasta. Big, hearty, family-style pastas are a great love of mine, but my baked ziti attempts were always just so-so. I struggled with overall cohesiveness, and the ricotta mixture always tended to bake up a little drier than I hoped. Colu’s technique was a game-changer. She recommends a 50/50 blend of ricotta and creme fraîche in her recipe – it keeps everything silky and rich, and I’ve never looked back. And yep, sour cream will also work in a pinch.baked ziti in a metal tin hot from the oven with lots of melted cheese on top

What Makes Great Baked Ziti?

If you want to make the best baked ziti, focus on two things: how long you cook the pasta, and the sauce. The sauce is king here. You want to use good, flavorful tomatoes, and you want to let everything simmer down into a thick, chunky, vibrant red sauce. A bit of patience is key. See the sauce in the photo below? Keep simmering. On the pasta front, avoid over-cooking in the initial stage, the boil. The ziti will continue cooking as the pasta bakes – you want to arrive at the finish line with perfect pasta. If you overcook during the initial boil, the pasta will become too soft and unstructured.

Baked Ziti: The Ingredients

  • Dried ziti pasta: Use a good-quality dried pasta here. Ziti is the namesake shape to use, but penne is a legit alternative and easier to find tbh. For a bit of added nutrition, explore whole wheat pastas, or pasta made with lentils or chickpeas. As I’ve mentioned in previous pasta recipes, a forever favorite of mine is the Monograno Felicetti Farro Penne Rigate. You can even make baked ziti gluten-free by swapping in one of the GF pastas.
  • Baby spinach: One note here, if your baby spinach has long thick stems, go ahead and snap the biggest offenders off. Aside from that I don’t bother chopping or fussing.
  • Canned tomatoes: Look for good-quality diced canned tomatoes. Note that you’ll need both a 28-ounce *and* a 14-ounce can. I tend to grab fire-roasted for this recipe, but you don’t have to!
    red sauce for baked ziti in a skillet with a wooden spoon
  • Sausage: I rarely buy or cook with fake meat, but this is one recipe where I use Impossible sausage for the meat component. It just helps check all the boxes for a big, family-style baked ziti that everyone can get on board with. Another alternative is to use this mushroom ragù as your sauce, in place of the red sauce with sausage posted below. 
  • Cheeses: Three cheese are in play here. Use fresh mozzarella if possible. It’ll typically be in liquid, and any size is fine – you’ll be tearing it into smaller pieces. For the grated cheese Colu recommends Pecorino Romano, but if you tend to keep Parmesan on hand, go ahead and use that – freshly grated. And the ricotta plays another key roll here, so use one you’d enjoy eating straight – on a cracker or slice of toast.
    ingredients for baked ziti in a baking tin ready to go into oven
  • Creme fraîche: The wildcard in this baked ziti is the addition of creme fraîche. To make your own, you can add 1 tablespoon of cultured buttermilk or yogurt to a cup of heavy cream. Stir well, cover with a clean dishtowel, and allow to sit out on your counter for 12 hours or so, until it thickens. Refrigerate until ready to use. Alternately, you can use sour cream here. It’s tangier, but in a good way!

baked ziti being served on a marble table with drinks and plates

Variations

Here are some favorite variations on this baked ziti that I’ve cooked over the years.

  • Make it Spicy: To make this baked ziti feisty and spicy, add a bit of spicy Calabrian pepper paste (the one I buy most is called Bomba di Calabria) to the sauce after adding the spinach. Go easy, some of these pastes are wildly spicy. But also go stronger than you might otherwise because the sauce will be cut with all that dairy. Taste and adjust.
  • Make it Gluten Free: You can make this recipe gluten-free by using GF pasta in place of traditional pasta. At the time I’m writing this the Impossible sausage is GF, but double check – in case you’re using another brand or their product changes.
  • Baked Ziti with Mushrooms: I do a version of this baked ziti using this mushroom ragù, and it is equally fantastic. Basically, fill a 12-inch skillet to 1/2-inch or so below the rim, and stir in the 5 ounces or spinach. Then proceed with the recipe as written. Basically, don’t skimp on the amount of sauce you’re using.  https://www.101cookbooks.com/mushroom-ragu/
  • Toss in Some Wildcards: A lot of times when making baked ziti, I’ll toss ingredients in on a whim. Whatever I have at hand. A few of the more successful additions include the following: torn olives, lots of lemon or orange zest, extra spinach or herbs, deeply caramelized onions, goat cheese in place of half the mozzarella.

baked ziti in a metal tin

Baked Ziti: Make Ahead Tips

This recipe makes a large pan of baked ziti. We typically eat half and freeze half resulting in easy meals in the coming weeks. The best way I’ve found to freeze baked ziti is to start by refrigerating your baked ziti until it is very cold. This makes it easy to slice into precise, individual portions. Arrange the portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to freezer bags for up to 6 weeks. Reheat, covered in foil, on a baking sheet (or in baking pan), in a 375F oven until bubbly and hot throughout.

back pocket pasta cookbook
colu henry and husband

Back Pocket Pasta & Colu

Colu’s archives are a gold-mine of low lift, fabulous meals. In the years since Back Pocket Pasta was published, she also wrote Colu Cooks: Easy Fancy Food. You need someone like Colu Henry in your life. When Back Pocket Pasta was published, I wrote, “She’s one of those stylish friends who will tell you where to score the prettiest dresses, help you book the best travel destinations, and happily point you toward your next good read.” She’s the queen of bringing effortless style to the weeknight dinner table and her books are brimming with casual recipes achievable with little more than a reasonably stocked pantry and a bit of seasonal flair. You can follow her here and here.

More Pasta Recipes

 

Continue reading Baked Ziti on 101 Cookbooks

Vegan Pesto

This simple 6-ingredient vegan pesto recipe is herbaceous, savory, and easy to make in just 5 minutes! It’s an all-purpose sauce you can toss with al dente pasta noodles, drizzle on a pizza, spread on a sandwich, and so much more!

This simple 6-ingredient vegan pesto recipe is herbaceous, savory, and easy to make in just 5 minutes! It’s an all-purpose sauce you can toss with al dente pasta noodles, drizzle on a pizza, spread on a sandwich, and so much more!

Greek Orzo Salad

This Greek Orzo Salad recipe is a light and flavorful pasta salad that’s delicious as a side dish or main dish. It’d be perfect with anything you’re grilling this summer! Greek Orzo Salad This easy Greek Orzo Salad is similar to my Greek Pa…

This Greek Orzo Salad recipe is a light and flavorful pasta salad that’s delicious as a side dish or main dish. It’d be perfect with anything you’re grilling this summer! Greek Orzo Salad This easy Greek Orzo Salad is similar to my Greek Pasta Salad but with orzo and smaller diced veggies. I love orzo […]

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This Buffalo Chicken Pasta recipe is the perfect combination of creamy, tangy, and spicy flavors. It’s a must-try for spicy food lovers.

The post Buffalo Chicken Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that most dips can also double as an amazing pasta sauce, and this Buffalo Chicken Pasta is a great example. I took all of the creamy, tangy, spicy goodness of buffalo chicken dip and made it into a deliciously cheesy one-pot pasta. So gather around all of my spicy food friends, you’re going to want to make this easy, creamy, and addictive Buffalo Chicken Pasta ASAP!

Close up overhead view of a bowl full of buffalo chicken pasta with a fork.

Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This cheesy buffalo chicken pasta starts with all of the same ingredients as buffalo chicken dip, then we add a few more to make it a little saucier and give the dish just a touch more flavor and texture. Here’s what you’ll need to make buffalo chicken pasta:

  • Chicken Breast: We use one boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe and stretch it across four servings to keep things budget-friendly. You can use diced boneless, skinless chicken thighs for an even less expensive option. Or, you can add leftover chopped or shredded cooked rotisserie chicken to the pasta at the end. If using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, just add the remaining spices to the sauce.
  • Seasoning: We seasoned the chicken breast with garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and salt for extra flavor.
  • Butter: Butter balances the heat and acidity of the hot sauce and helps give this dish that classic buffalo sauce flavor.
  • Chicken Broth: In true one-pot pasta style, the pasta is cooked in chicken broth for maximum flavor.
  • Pasta: We used a classic penne pasta for this dish, but you could also use bowtie, rotini, or any short pasta shape.
  • Cheese: A combination of cream cheese and Monterey jack cheese keeps the sauce extra creamy and smooth without the need for a flour and butter roux.
  • Hot Sauce: Franks Red Hot Sauce is the classic sauce used for any “Buffalo” flavored dish, but any vinegar-based cayenne hot sauce will also be delicious.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Worcestershire adds just the right of umami and sweetness to the buffalo sauce, preventing it from having a flat flavor.
  • Petite Diced Tomatoes: To give this pasta more texture and flavor, we added a can of petite diced tomatoes.
  • Green Onion: We topped this pasta with sliced green onion for a little dose of savory freshness at the end.

What Else Can I Add?

If you have a little extra wiggle room in your budget, you can add even more goodies to this buffalo chicken pasta to make it ✨extra✨. Try topping the pasta with crumbled blue cheese, or stirring in some bacon crumbles. If you love a crunchy topping, try crushing some butter crackers or tortilla chips and sprinkling them on top of the pasta just before serving. And while it is totally unconventional, I think some small broccoli florets would be awesome in this, kind of like broccoli mac and cheese!

What to Serve with Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This buffalo chicken pasta is pretty rich, so you’re going to want something light and refreshing to serve on the side. You can opt for a super Simple Side Salad, a classic Caesar Salad, or maybe a simple Cucumber Tomato Salad. Or just go with the theme and serve up some carrot and celery sticks with blue cheese dressing for dipping!

Tips for Making One Pot Pasta

One-pot pasta can be tricky for some because the pasta is cooked in a much smaller amount of liquid than traditional pasta cooking methods. Here are a few tips to make sure your one-pot pasta cooks evenly and to the right texture:

  • Use heavy, thick-bottomed cookware to help the ingredients heat evenly.
  • Use a burner that is close in diameter to the bottom of your pot to ensure even heating.
  • The broth does not need to fully cover the pasta for it to cook, so resist the urge to add more water or broth in the beginning. Steam will help the pasta above the water line to cook, and the pasta will be stirred to ensure it all has contact with the liquid.
  • Make sure the liquid is simmering the whole time the pasta is cooking. If the heat is too low, or the liquid is only simmering in the center of the pot, the pasta will cook unevenly and get gummy.
  • Stir the pot occasionally to prevent sticking and help everything cook evenly.
  • Use your judgment. If the pasta looks close to being cooked through, but there is too much liquid left in the skillet, let it finish simmering with the lid off. If the liquid is gone but your pasta is still not tender, add a splash of more water or broth and continue to simmer until tender.
Overhead view of a pan full of buffalo chicken pasta with a striped napkin on the side.
Overhead view of a bowl full of buffalo chicken pasta.
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Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This Buffalo Chicken Pasta recipe is the perfect combination of creamy, tangy, and spicy flavors. It's a must-try for spicy food lovers.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.13 recipe / $2.03 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 545kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about ⅔ lb.) $3.33
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 8 oz. penne pasta $0.67
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth $0.28
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $1.10
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce $0.52
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese $0.58
  • 2 green onions, sliced (optional) $0.16

Instructions

  • Cut the chicken into ½-¾ inch pieces. Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and salt, then sprinkle it over the chicken pieces. Toss the chicken in the spices until everything is well coated.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Once hot, add the chicken and allow tge chicken to brown on all sides. The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point.
  • Add the uncooked pasta, canned diced tomatoes (with the liquid), and the chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken. Stir to dissolve all of the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.
  • Place a lid on the pot and allow the broth to come up to a strong simmer. The broth will not fully cover the pasta, but that is okay. Once the broth is simmering, briefly stir the pasta, replace the lid, then turn the heat down to medium-low.
  • Allow the pasta to simmer in the broth for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring once or twice throughout, and always replacing the lid after stirring.
  • Once the pasta is tender and only a small amount of thickened liquid remains in the skillet, cut the cream cheese into chunks and add it to the past along with the butter, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until the cream cheese has fully melted into the pasta.
  • Add the shredded Monterey jack cheese and stir until melted into the sauce. Top with sliced green onions, then serve hot.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 1193mg | Fiber: 2g

How to Make Buffalo Chicken Pasta – Step by Step Photos

diced chicken breast with seasoning being sprinkled on top.

Dice one boneless, skinless chicken breast (about ⅔ lb.) into small ½-¾ inch pieces. Combine ½ tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, and ¼ tsp salt, then sprinkle it over the chicken. Toss the chicken until it is evenly coated in spices.

Browned chicken pieces in a skillet.

Heat 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high until very hot. Once hot, add the chicken and allow it to brown on all sides. The chicken does not need to cook through here, just let it brown on the outside.

Tomatoes, pasta, and broth added to the skillet.

Add 8 oz of uncooked pasta, one 15oz. can of petite diced tomatoes (with the liquid), and 1.5 cups of chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken.

Uncooked pasta in the skillet with the chicken and tomatoes.

Stir everything well, making sure to dissolve all the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. The broth will not fully cover the pasta, but that’s okay. Do not add extra liquid at this point.

Cooked pasta in the skillet, a spatula pulling the pasta to the side to show the thickened sauce.

Place a lid on the pot and allow the broth to come up to a strong simmer. Once simmering, give the pasta a quick stir to loosen it from the bottom, replace the lid, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta simmer over medium-low for 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and only a small amount of saucy liquid remains.

Cream cheese, hot sauce, butter, and Worcestershire added to the skillet.

Once the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, it’s time to make the buffalo sauce. Add 4oz. of cream cheese (cut into chunks), 2 Tbsp butter, ¼ cup hot sauce, and ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce. Continue to stir and cook over medium-low until the cream cheese is fully melted into the sauce.

Shredded cheese added to the skillet.

Add ½ cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese to the skillet and stir until it has melted into the sauce.

buffalo chicken pasta topped with sliced green onions.

Top the buffalo chicken pasta with sliced green onions and serve hot!

Overhead view of a bowl full of buffalo chicken pasta.

The post Buffalo Chicken Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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