Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken
This Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken is creamy, cheesy comfort food that comes together with ease. The lemon gives it a bright fresh flavor which pairs beautifully with the Ricotta and Parmesan, and sauteed garlic and fresh wilted spinach are the perfect complements. This dish also features tasty seasoned chicken and linguine, though you can substitute other long noodles like fettucine or spaghetti if that’s what you have on hand. If you love pasta in a rich, creamy sauce, loaded with chicken and spinach (and who doesn’t?) then this one’s for you! Better yet, a serving is just 354 calories or 8 WW (Weight Watchers) Points. To view your current WW Points for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
I adapted this recipe from a NY Times Recipe called “Creamed Spinach Pasta,” but I decided to change the title (along with several ingredients) because I thought Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken was a better description of my finished dish. The recipe does feature a lot of spinach in a cream sauce, but ricotta cheese doesn’t make me think of creamed spinach. Plus, I added chicken and lemon and made some other changes, so I think the new name suits it better.
When I measured the finished recipe I got just under 7 cups, so I decided to list the serving size as six (1 rounded cup) servings. I figured I’d be clear about that in case you’re wondering how rounded that cup should be!
Looking for more tasty, lightened up pasta dishes like this Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken? Check out my One-Pot Chicken Florentine Mac and Cheese, One-Pot Creamy Chicken Piccata Pasta, One-Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta with Chicken and Spinach, One-Pot Cheesy Chili Mac, One-Pot Turkey and Veggie Spaghetti, One-Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Pasta, Bruschetta Chicken Pasta, One-Pot Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta, Beef Enchilada Pasta Skillet, Turkey Sloppy Joe Pasta, Chicken Pot Pasta, Sausage Ricotta Pasta, Lemon Chicken Orzo with Tomatoes and Asparagus, and many more in the Pasta section of my recipe index!
Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken
- 8 oz dry linguine, (use whole wheat linguine if following the WW Purple plan)
- 1 lb raw boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ + 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 12 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup fat free half-and-half
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup fat free ricotta
- 1 oz Parmesan cheese, finely shredded (I use a box grater)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Cook the linguine according to package instructions and drain.
- While waiting for the water to boil, season the chicken pieces with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, and the ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder. Drizzle one tablespoon of the oil into a large sauté pan and bring to medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and browned, 6-8 minutes. Remove the chicken to a side plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the sauté pan and bring over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant and starting to turn golden. Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time, stirring until it wilts and adding more until it’s all wilted (about 4 minutes). Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and stir.
- Add the half-and-half to the pan and increase to medium heat to bring to a simmer. Cook for another two minutes until the cream thickens slightly. Stir in the nutmeg, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Add the cooked and drained pasta into the sauté pan and stir together with the spinach and sauce.
- Remove the pan from heat and stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the reserved chicken and stir to combine.
9 per (1 rounded cup) serving (PP calculated using a Weight Watchers PointsPlus calculator and the nutrition info below) Adapted from the NY Times
This sounds so yummy!
Thank you Emily, I look and try most of your recipes. I love your blog! This looks truly inviting as does all of your recipes. I will add portabella mushrooms and onions in place of the chicken (need to split the recipe as my daughters are vegetarian).
Delicious! The whole family loved it
WOULD THE POINTS CHANGE IF YOU USED CARBA NADA PASTA?
My husband and I made this tonight and it really filling and delicious! We forgot to get shredded parmesan but grated worked in a pinch, and we added more red pepper flake because we like more of a kick. We’ll definitely be adding this to the regular rotation.
This dish was amazing. Loved the flavor with the lemon, nutmeg and chili flakes which made it more interesting than the typical chicken pasta dish. My whole family liked it!
This recipe is fantastic, even my husband liked it and ate it as leftovers the next day. Where I live I could not find fat free ricotta so I used low fat cottage, as was suggested on line for a substitute.
This is an awesome recipe, definitely a do over. The only downfall is all the dishes it creates. I would cook the chicken then add the spinach in the same pot. Thank you so much for this amazing dish.
I’m so glad you liked it!
Hi there!! How come you only need whole wheat linguine if on the purple plan? I’m on the green plan which is more strict so shouldn’t I be using the whole wheat as well? Thanks so much!!
You’re welcome to use it on any plan, but whole wheat pasta is zero points on Purple (while white pasta has points), so those on purple need to use whole wheat to get the points value I have listed. On Green you can use white or wheat pasta, as both will have similar points.
I actually think Green is the most flexible plan, but it depends on what you’re looking at and what feels “strict” to you. Green has the least amount of zero point foods, but you have more points to spend. I find I have the points to eat a wider variety of foods on Green, whereas on Purple I’d have to spend a large portion of my points on the specific zero point foods, so Purple feels more “strict” to me!
Hi Emily, like others posting, this was a hit at my house! Loved the bit of nutmeg and lemon. Hope this makes your “best of” list at the end of the year.
Can this be frozen? Looks so yummy, but it is just me eating it! Thanks!
Love your site!!!!
I would really LOVE to try this. my question…can it be frozen? I cook for 1…and this is a lot for 1 person.
I swapped the pasta for linguine shaped hearts of palm and it was yummy!
I saw some questions about freezing but no answers…. Did anyone ever freeze it?
this was tasty but the sauce never came together
Emily, what would I do without you? Your recipes are amazing. I make your Doritos Taco Salad and this recipe all the time. And, you have a link to calculate my WW Personal Points? What?! Are you a magician or something? 🙂 Thank you so much for all your hard work!
Aw, this comment made my day! Thank you!
This is such a hearty, yummy dish! It looks fancy too and could easily be served at a dinner party.