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Pasta with Chicken, Balsamic, and Arugula

A complete meal pasta made in about 30 minutes start to finish. I use gluten-free spaghetti, you can use whatever pasta you prefer!

Course dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy dinner recipe, easy pasta recipe, gluten-free recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Linda Spiker


Tips: this recipe has a few things going on at the same time. Have all ingredients out on the counter before starting. Then just follow the directions!

  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 2 medium sized chicken breasts, cut in half (see photos)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups baby arugula (baby spinach and baby kale work too)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds


  1. Place a large pot filled with salted water on high heat, cover and bring to a boil (cook pasta to package instructions and save a 1/4 cup of pasta water before straining)

While waiting for water to boil prep everything else:

  1. Peel and slice onion, chop parsley, grate cheese, chop garlic , chop walnuts and set aside

  2. When water is almost boiling, place a large pan on high heat, add olive oil (pan needs to be large enough to accommodate all the cooked pasta)

  3. When oil is hot add onions. Turn heat to medium heat, and stir occasionally for about  6 minutes (the key to caramelized onions is patience, keep the heat at medium and resist the temptation to cook them faster)

While onions cook, prep chicken:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts in half so they remain the same length but are half as thick as they used to be (see photos)

  2. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts
  3. When onions have been in the pan for about 6 minutes, move them to the sides of pan, add a little more olive oil if necessary and add breasts to pan, cook first side 6 minutes, still frequently stirring onions, then turn chicken and cook six more minutes (do not overcook, there is nothing worse than dry chicken!)

  4. While second side of chicken cooks, add pasta to boiling water, stirring pasta frequently to prevent sticking
  5. When chicken has cooked for 6 minutes on the second side, check to make sure it is cooked through and remove from pan and allow to 'rest' on a plate (do not turn off heat) . To same pan add nuts, garlic, red pepper flakes, balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of pasta water, simmer and stir for one minute scraping any chicken bits from pan

  6. Add two large handfuls of baby arugula (about 3 cups) to pan and stir for a minute or two
  7. Strain pasta (do not rinse) and place in pan, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, toss with herbs, nuts and arugula. Season with sea salt and pepper, toss again

  8. To plate: divide pasta onto four plates. Slice chicken breasts on the diagonal and place on top of pasta
  9. Sprinkle with parsley, parmesan and pomegranate seeds.. Serve.