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Chicken Broccoli Ziti with Crunchy Bread Crumbs

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This chicken broccoli ziti recipe is sure to become a weeknight dinner staple! The broccoli chicken ziti combination has been on my “to create” list for a while and while originally I was going to go in a baked and cheesy direction, our trip to Italy inspired me to keep it simple, highlighting the flavors of this chicken broccoli pasta in a more understated way. And I think you’ll love how it turned out! We have chewy pasta, tender chicken and broccoli, and crunchy breadcrumbs. Perfection and while I may be biased, I think this is the best chicken broccoli ziti recipe out there!

If you love easy pasta dish recipes for weeknight dinners (happens at least once a week at our house!), be sure to try my orecchiette with sausage, 10-minute pesto tortellini, creamy tomato pasta, or sheet pan pierogi dinner next time and serve with my favorite NA sparkling rose.

Bowl of chicken broccoli ziti pasta with spoon

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

What You’ll Love About Chicken Broccoli Ziti

  • Deliciously simple flavors
  • Tender broccoli, satisfying chicken, chewy pasta, and crunchy breadcrumbs
  • Made with nutritious ingredients (it’s got protein, vegetables, and carbs!)
  • Just 10 minutes prep time
  • Just 20 minutes cook time

Ingredients

  • Panko – Using panko over traditional breadcrumbs is recommended as their flat shape helps add major crunch to the dish. Traditional bread crumbs can be so small (unless they are homemade!) that it doesn’t get as crunchy as we want it. This topping truly makes the dish, don’t skip it!
  • Butter – Use high quality butter for best flavor.
  • Broccoli – Look for fresh and bright green broccoli. You can use crowns of broccoli or use prepared broccoli florets that are already cut and washed. (You will still want to trim these to ensure they are similar sizes.)
  • Ziti – You can’t really make this broccoli chicken ziti recipe without the ziti, but you totally can use a different pasta shape if you want or need to. Try something similar like penne, rigatoni, or mostaccioli.
  • Olive oil – Use high quality cooking olive oil to saute the chicken and a finishing olive oil for drizzling before serving.
  • Chicken breast – I’ve used boneless skinless chicken breast, but you could also use chicken thighs, just adjust cooking time as dark meat can take longer to cook.
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic cloves so that you can slice them. Frozen or jarred garlic can also be used in a pinch.
  • Parmesan cheese – Use a fresh Parmesan cheese for best results.
Ingredients to make chicken broccoli pasta recipe

How to Make Broccoli Chicken Ziti

This is an overview on how to make broccoli and chicken pasta, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

Toast bread crumbs. Melt some of the butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat and toast panko until it is golden brown.
Crunchy bread crumbs in skillet
Cook pasta. Boil pasta to al dente in a large pot, according to package instructions, but drain 2 minutes early. RESERVE SOME PASTA WATER!
Prep ingredients. Clean and trim broccoli florets. Cut chicken into small pieces. Thinly slice garlic.
Cook chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, season with salt, and cook until browned.
Cooked chicken in skillet
Cook broccoli. Add broccoli and garlic to chicken and toss everything together. Season with salt and cook, until chicken is cooked through and broccoli is tender.
Broccoli and chicken in a skillet
Combine pasta. Add pasta and half of pasta water to skillet and toss everything together. Add more pasta water if mixture seems dry.
Chicken broccoli ziti in skillet
Finish. Top pasta with broccoli and chicken with a drizzle of finishing olive oil, toasted bread crumbs, freshly grated Parmesan, and freshly cracked pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.

FAQs

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes, you’ll just need to make a few swaps in this recipe for chicken broccoli ziti to make it gluten-free. Swap the panko for your favorite gluten-free bread crumbs and swap the pasta for your favorite gluten-free pasta.

How many calories are in chicken broccoli ziti?

The exact nutrition will vary based on recipe and ingredients. The full nutrition estimates can be found below the recipe card, but each serving has an estimated 642 calories.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover chicken broccoli and ziti leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How to reheat chicken broccoli ziti

Reheat pasta in a hot skillet until cooked through for best results, or microwave until warm.

Chicken broccoli ziti in a bowl
Photo Credit: My Everyday Table.

What to Serve with Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

I created this chicken ziti broccoli recipe as a complete meal, but if you have a family with large appetites or want to stretch it a bit, serve it with one of these easy sides.

How to Feed Chicken Broccoli Pasta to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in.

I would recommend serving the chicken broccoli pasta in a pinch bowl (taster bowl) if it’s a new or learning-to-like it food. Serve the meal with a few items you know your kids will eat, like fruit, milk, and/or bread and butter.

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Close up of chicken broccoli ziti
Photo Credit: Loren Runion for My Everyday Table.

More Easy Pasta Recipes

If you like this chicken broccoli and ziti recipe, you might also like some of these other easy pasta recipes:

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Close up of chicken broccoli ziti

Chicken Broccoli Ziti with Crispy Bread Crumbs

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Description

This easy weeknight chicken broccoli ziti recipe with crunchy bread crumbs is delicious, made with nutritious ingredients, and ready in just 30 minutes! 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. butter (divided)
  • 16 oz. broccoli florets (about 2 small crowns)
  • 3/4 lb. ziti pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 16 oz. chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. sea salt (divided)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and toast breadcrumb mixture for 2-4 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions, but drain 2 minutes early. BE SURE TO RESERVE 1 CUP PASTA WATER.
  3. Meanwhile, clean and trim broccoli. Chop florets into small, 1-inch pieces. Cut chicken into small, 1-inch pieces. Thinly slice garlic.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to extra large skillet. When it’s hot, add chicken to pan and season with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until browned.
  5. Add chopped broccoli and garlic to pan, tossing everything together. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli has softened and chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  6. When pasta is finished cooking, add drained pasta to pan, along with 1/4 of the pasta water.
  7. Toss everything together and add extra pasta water if mixture seems dry.
  8. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, toasted bread crumbs, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper to taste.

Notes

  • This dish is very simple, but shouldn’t be “dry” – if it seems dry, use the reserved pasta water and stir it into the pasta mixture. The starchy water should create a silky sauce. You can also be sure to drizzle the plated pasta with olive oil to finish it off. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 642
  • Sugar: 4.2 g
  • Sodium: 599.4 mg
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 80.7 g
  • Fiber: 6.1 g
  • Protein: 41.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 105.6 mg

Keywords: chicken broccoli ziti recipe, broccoli chicken ziti, chicken broccoli pasta, chicken and broccoli pasta

Food styling and photography by Loren Runion.

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Comments

    • Emily

      Hi Pam! Yes, it’s supposed to be a very simple dish. Did you add cooking water to make it glossy? That definitely helps ensure it doesn’t get dry. And a drizzle of olive oil before serving is highly recommended! The tomatoes sound like a yummy addition as well.

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