Chicken Primavera

published May 17, 2024
Chicken Primavera Recipe

Everything (the chicken! the veggies! the sauce!) comes together in the same skillet.

Serves4

Prep25 minutes

Cook22 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
A cast iron skillet filled with chicken primavera showing nicely browned chicken breasts and cooked vegetables in a creamy sauce.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

If you love pasta primavera, this chicken primavera is for you. The cream-based sauce toes the line of decadence, but it still tastes light and bright (not as heavy as Alfredo sauce or Tuscan chicken, more in the lane of Marry Me Chicken). While I think the combination of asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, peas, and spinach work particularly well, you can experiment with any vegetables you like — that’s part of the joy of the dish! This is also a great time to use up any produce lingering in the back of your crisper. 

The recipe starts by searing the chicken breasts in the pan, which is later used to make the sauce, making it a true one-pan meal. Thanks to a handful of cooking staples like heavy cream, chicken stock, and garlic, this dish also comes together quickly. One of the best parts: sopping up all the sauce with something starchy like crusty bread, boiled potatoes, rice, or of course, pasta. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • It all comes together in one pan. The veggies! The sauce! The chicken! It’s a weeknight dinner MVP.  
  • It’s loaded with vegetables. But according to the cross-tester, it still tastes indulgent. Win, win. 
  • The cream sauce is creamy, but not too creamy. I added low-sodium chicken stock to the sauce to make it a bit more balanced. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Key Ingredients in Chicken Primavera

  • Boneless chicken breasts. Stick to medium-sized chicken breasts for this recipe to ensure they fit snugly in the pan. 
  • Vegetables. The mix of vegetables is what makes primavera — your choice for which types to use! See below for more of my favorite veggies to use. 
  • Red pepper flakes. A pinch of pepper flakes add a warmth to the dish without making it overtly spicy. 
  • Heavy cream. The key ingredient in creating a luscious, silky sauce for the vegetables to finish cooking in. 

Helpful Swaps 

  • The joy of this recipe is that you can swap in any veggies of your choice. Summer squash, broccoli, bell peppers, and carrots are all great options to experiment with. If using any of the above, add them in with the zucchini and asparagus. 
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be swapped in for breasts here. Since typically thighs are thinner than breasts, there’s no need to pound them thinly. 

Chicken Primavera Recipe

Everything (the chicken! the veggies! the sauce!) comes together in the same skillet.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 22 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 pound

    zucchini (2 small or 1 large)

  • 1 pound

    asparagus

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas

  • 4

    medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total)

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 pint

    cherry tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1 cup

    heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 5 ounces

    baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)

Instructions

  1. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Trim and cut 1 pound zucchini crosswise into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Trim and cut 1 pound asparagus on a slight diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Place 1 cup frozen peas in a fine-mesh strainer and run under lukewarm water to thaw.

  2. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a large resealable bag and pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season all over with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and sear until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate (the chicken will not be cooked through). Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and repeat searing the remaining chicken. Transfer to the same plate.

  4. Add the zucchini, asparagus, and 1 pint cherry tomatoes to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to blister and the zucchini and asparagus start to brown in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, peas, remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  5. Add 1 cup heavy cream and 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 8 minutes.

  6. Add 5 ounces baby spinach a few handfuls at a time and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices on the plate to the pan nestling the chicken in the sauce and vegetables. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and registers at least 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.