Chicken penne alla vodka is one of my favorite healthy pasta recipes that is easy to make for weeknight dinner. This lightened up version is super creamy with delicious flavor and takes healthy comfort food to the next level! On the table in less than 30 minutes!
Pasta is on our menu at least once a week. If it's not chicken parm, baked feta pasta, no boil lasagna or chicken sausage pasta, this healthy pasta dish is one of our faves!
Tomatoes and cream normally separate on their own so adding in the vodka helps them to blend together in such a creamy way! The alcohol cooks down so there is no need to worry - it is family friendly!
Serve with some delicious bread dipping oil and a green salad!
Why This Recipe Works
- This chicken penne alla vodka is lighter than the rich classic version thanks to Greek Yogurt and dairy free milk - yes you can make it without heavy cream!
- Can be made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. You can use crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce and don't need tomato paste to make it from scratch.
- Make it even faster by making it with jar sauce. Hello easy weeknight meal!
- Restaurant quality (think Carmine's goodness!) yet easy enough to prep quickly for guests.
Ingredients For This Recipe
Here are the ingredients you need to make this recipe. Reference the recipe card at the bottom for exact measurements and the notes below for substitution ideas.
- Parmesan cheese: You an also use pecorino romano if you want to make it without parmesan.
- Penne: Penne is the pasta that is usually used but you could always try another pasta you have on hand like rigatoni.
- Tomato sauce: You can also use whole plum tomatoes and puree them using a hand blender. Keep as many tomato chunks as you prefer.
How to Make This Recipe
This is a step-by-step walkthrough of how to cook this recipe. The recipe card at the bottom shows the exact cook time and temperatures.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezer Instructions: Make sauce and freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Add in cooked chicken and pasta when you plan to cook it.
- Microwave Reheating Instructions: Reheat in a microwave-safe container for a few minutes or until heated through. You can add a bit of leftover sauce before heating.
- Oven Reheating Instructions: Add a bit of reserved sauce to baking dish and heat up a baked version in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes or until heated through.
- I made this on the stovetop but you could also experiment with making it in your Instant Pot or crock pot.
- Make it spicy by adding in some red pepper flakes or your favorite spicy season blend.
This recipe is a meal in its own but I love to serve it with a veggie side like broccoli or green beans.
Adding in vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus or spinach as well as other protein like bacon, pancetta, prosciutto. shrimp or chicken sausage would be delicious! You could also swap cutlets for chicken thighs.
Grilled chicken is my choice for this recipe, but you could also use sautéed, fried or a breaded version or even rotisserie for ease.
Yes, to make this without vodka you can substitute chicken broth or water/lemon juice. Note that the vodka is cooked down in the recipe making the alcohol is cooked off. Taste Cooking explains it all in this article.
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Chicken Penne Alla Vodka
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 6 ounces grilled chicken cooked
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt plain
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk plain
- ¾ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- If not already cooked, cook penne by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to al dente package directions. Drain.
- While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add vodka and stir until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, Greek yogurt, garlic and almond milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
- Add sauce to cooked pasta and chicken and stir in Parmesan cheese. Top with fresh herbs and salt & pepper.
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