Prepare an expert 30-minute meal using leftovers. Our one-pot leftover chicken and broccoli recipe is useful on nights when you’re short on time. We covered all the food groups, so you can feel good about getting dinner on the table fast!
If you don’t have leftover chicken, it’s just as easy to purchase a roasted chicken at the supermarket. You can use fresh broccoli in this dish, but if you’re buying a bird at the store, you may as well mosey over to the produce section and pick up a package of pre-chopped florets.
The secret to this dish is to cook the pasta 2–3 minutes fewer than indicated on the box (al dente). This way, your noodles won’t overcook when you add the broccoli. The lemon zest adds such bright, robust flavor—your family will think dinner was prepared from scratch when it was hardly any effort at all!
Leftover Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Recipe
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 lb spaghetti, regular or whole wheat, snapped into thirds
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb chicken, leftover, chopped
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 3/4 tsp dried basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 zest of lemon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Fill a large pot half-full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water reaches a rolling boil, add salt then cook pasta according to directions minus 2 minutes so that it is tender but still firm, or al dente.
- Roughly 2 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, add broccoli florets to the pot, allowing them to boil with the pasta for the remaining cook time, before draining everything in a colander. After draining, return the pasta and broccoli to the pot and cover to keep it warm.
- In the meantime, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add chicken and stir to lightly coat in the oil. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes to rewarm the chicken. Add basil and garlic and bloom for 30 seconds.
- Reduce the heat to medium then add the chicken stock, lemon zest and juice. Using a rubber spatula, scrape any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce slightly. Pour the chicken over the pasta and broccoli.
- Sprinkle the entire mixture with Parmesan cheese and add the cream. Then stir gently to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper then serve immediately. Enjoy!
Swap the broccoli for cauliflower, if cauliflower is your thing.