This Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Skillet is a delicious and easy weeknight dinner idea with a lighter and healthier alfredo sauce.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Rotini pasta – you can use any pasta but alfredo sauce clings to small shapes with texture better than it does to flat noodles like spaghetti.
- Broccoli and red pepper – feel free to swap out for other veggies of your choice like zucchini, mushrooms, diced tomato or brussels sprouts.
- Olive oil – olive oil is the most common for an Italian dish like this, but any neutral cooking oil will work just fine.
- Chicken breasts – using white meat chicken keeps the dish lower in fat and calories, but if you prefer dark meat, you can certainly use boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Butter – you can double up on olive oil instead, but it won’t be as creamy.
- Milk – I like to use 2% milk because it's lighter than whole milk, but it still gives you the creaminess that skim milk won't. If you need a non-dairy option, any nut milk will work.
- Garlic – fresh minced garlic is best but you can also use jarred minced garlic.
- Flour – use all-purpose flour or whole-wheat flour.
- Chicken broth – vegetable broth would work as well.
- Heavy cream – you can also use half and half to reduce the fat a bit without sacrificing on flavour or consistency.
- Nutmeg – leave this out altogether if you don’t have any on hand.
- Parmesan cheese – nutritional yeast is a good dairy-free alternative.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
How to make broccoli chicken alfredo skillet
- Make the rotini.
- Add the broccoli to the pasta water.
- Brown the chicken.
- Make the alfredo sauce.
- Add in the chicken, rotini, broccoli and peppers.
- Cook until the veggies are softened.
- Garnish and dig in!
Secrets to a perfect light alfredo sauce
- Use a little bit of butter and LOTS of garlic.
- Go easy on the flour – you want a thick sauce, but not one that tastes like there's a filler in there.
- Use a tiny bit of cream. Yes, I have listed 1/4 cup here in this recipe, however when you divide it among six servings, it really isn't that much!
- Use FRESH parmesan – like really, don't buy that pre-shredded crap. It won't give you the same creamy sauce and it will taste inauthentic.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are 527 calories per serving in this yummy recipe – it’s still indulgent, but has less calories than if you were to use a full-fat alfredo sauce.
Alfredo sauce is essentially a white cheese sauce. As a result, there are some great ways to boost the flavour. For example, I use a lot of garlic for an authentic Italian taste. You could add crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy kick, or for some warmth without the spicy heat, add a dash a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon. Another idea is to balance the slightly bitter flavour of broccoli by adding a squeeze of lemon juice over the top right before serving. Of course, salt and pepper will also balance the flavours.
As with any pasta dish, you can never go wrong with a small green salad and loaf of warm French bread on the side. You could also serve broccoli chicken alfredo with an Italian soup, such as minestrone.
We all have crazy busy days from time to time, right? If you're just not in the mood to make sauce from scratch, use your favourite brand of jarred sauce instead. Just be aware that they are often very high in sodium and they lack flavour. Consider adding some freshly chopped parsley for a pop of color and to boost the flavour.
Storing and reheating
If you have leftovers, you can store them in airtight containers for up to 5 days.
You can store the sauce combined with cooked pasta, but for best flavour, I recommend storing just the chicken, broccoli and sauce. Then, cook a fresh batch of pasta when you're ready to enjoy the meal again.
Reheat any leftovers either in a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes, or using 50% power in the microwave. Either way, stir occasionally and cook until the dish warms through.
Freezing broccoli chicken alfredo
Unfortunately, cream sauces do not freeze well, as they tend to separate and can become watery. However, you can definitely freeze broccoli chicken alfredo with sauce already mixed in! I like to use glass meal prep containers for this, because they can go right from the freezer to the microwave.
Another option is to freeze the leftovers in large Ziploc bags, then lay them flat in the freezer. This way, they will take up less space!
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More skillet recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on packing this dish up for leftovers
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
- Or these aluminum foil containers are perfect for re-heating straight from the freezer to oven
- And of course I get all my free range chicken breasts from Butcher Box!
Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Skillet
- 1 lb rotini pasta
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 red pepper, diced
- Boil pasta according to package directions. Once pasta is finished cooking and right before draining, add broccoli, stuffing down into water. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 minute or so before draining. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, while pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken and saute for 4-5 min until browned. Remove chicken from pan and wipe clean.
- Add butter and let melt over med-high heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add flour, and whisk. Add milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking to combine. Sauce will start to thicken. Add chicken broth after you're finished adding milk. Continue whisking. Add cream, salt and pepper, nutmeg and parmesan cheese. Whisk to combine.
- Add chicken back into skillet, along with cooked rotini and broccoli. Toss to combine. Add red pepper and stir well. Cook for another 4-5 min until all veggies are softened.
- Garnish bowls of pasta with red chili flakes, pepper, freshly grated parmesan and fresh basil if desired. Serve and enjoy!