Spicy Cashew Pasta With Crispy Chicken (Pasta of the Month, May 2024)

Last updated: June 4th, 2024

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Make this spicy cashew pasta with crispy chicken for a satisfying, high protein dinner you can cook in under 30 minutes.

Cashew pasta with crispy chicken.

You can always count on us for unique pasta recipes, thanks to our Pasta of the Month series. This month’s pasta was inspired by one of our latest obsessions: spicy cashew butter sauce! Using our favorite cashew butter dressing recipe as a starting point, we created a super satisfying, high protein spicy cashew pasta with crispy chicken that you can make in under 30 minutes.

Contrasting textures like this creamy cashew pasta sauce paired with super crispy pan fried chicken make a dish so much more exciting to eat. It’s creamy and decadent, with crunchy bites of chicken and a bit of fresh parsley flavor to brighten things up.

Once you try this creamy cashew pasta, you won’t want to go back to regular pasta sauce! And you’re going to want every excuse to make this crispy chicken again and again. It’s that good.

What This Recipe Entails

Our spicy cashew pasta with crispy chicken is one of the best quick and easy dinners you can make in under 30 minutes. All it takes is whipping up a quick sauce, boiling the pasta, and pan-frying super thin crispy chicken breast.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 18 minutes

It will take about 5 minutes to make the sauce, 5 minutes to prep the chicken, 12 minutes to boil the pasta, and 6 minutes to cook the chicken. If you time things right, you can prep and cook the chicken while the pasta is boiling. Then this dinner will come together in less than 20 minutes!

Crispy chicken and cashew butter pasta.

Spicy Cashew Pasta with Crispy Chicken Recipe Ingredients

The spicy cashew sauce in this pasta recipe is so creamy, you won’t believe it’s made without milk or heavy cream. Our secret? Using cashew butter as a base, and relying on one of our favorite recipes ever, copycat Sweetgreen spicy cashew dressing.

Yes – we use a dressing as the sauce for this pasta recipe, combined with some pasta water to thin it out and help it cling to the noodles. And it’s delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need to make our spicy cashew pasta recipe with crispy chicken:

To make the dressing, you’ll need cashew butter, rice vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, sesame oil, lime juice, water, crushed red pepper flakes, powdered ginger, and salt. It’s quite spicy, so hold back on the red pepper flakes if you want a less spicy version for your pasta.

This cashew butter pasta sauce clings best to long noodles, which is why we recommend making this recipe with fettuccine. You can also use linguine or spaghetti, but we’d stay away from anything too thin (like angel hair) or too short (like penne or ziti).

Spicy cashew pasta with crispy chicken.

How To Make Spicy Cashew Pasta with Crispy Chicken

Making our cashew pasta recipe with crispy chicken is a 3-step process: make the sauce, boil the pasta, and make the crispy chicken. Then, everything gets combined and served together!

Here’s a step by step breakdown for how to make this easy pasta dinner recipe:

  1. First, make the spicy cashew sauce and set aside. Check out the full recipe here for details.
  2. Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook according to package directions.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the crispy chicken. Start by setting out 3 shallow bowls – one with the flour, salt, and pepper whisked together; one with the beaten eggs; and one with the plain breadcrumbs.
  4. Coat the chicken well in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Gently shake off any excess before transferring the chicken from one dish to the next, and make sure the chicken is completely coated. Set aside.
  5. Next, heat about a quarter inch of vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the chicken and fry until crispy and golden brown on both sides, about 5 to 6 minutes total (flip halfway through). Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pasta is done cooking.
  6. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve some pasta water (about a quarter cup), then drain and return to the pot. Stir the cashew sauce into the pasta until it’s well-coated, adding a splash or two of the pasta water to help the sauce cling to the noodles if needed.
  7. Finally, slice the crispy chicken into thin strips and serve over the pasta. Drizzle extra cashew sauce over the crispy chicken and optionally garnish with fresh parsley.

To achieve the best pan fried crispy chicken, make sure to pound the chicken breast thin before coating it. This will also help each piece of chicken cook at the same rate, and cook quickly so this dinner comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Also, make sure the oil is hot before you add the chicken to the pan! If the chicken sits in not quite hot enough oil for too long before it really starts to fry, the breadcrumbs will soak up too much oil and become soggy. Waiting for the oil to be super hot means the chicken will start to crisp immediately when you add it to the pan, locking in the moisture inside the chicken while creating a super crispy crust on the outside.

Serving Suggestions

This spicy cashew pasta is the perfect dinner for when you’re craving a comforting, high protein meal. Enjoy it by itself, or serve it with a side salad or Italian bread if you want a little something extra.

Pasta with a spicy cashew butter sauce and chicken.

Storing and Reheating

Store leftover cashew pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. We recommend storing leftover crispy chicken in a separate container from the pasta so that it doesn’t become soggy from being in contact with the pasta sauce. The chicken will also stay good for up to 5 days.

To reheat, combine pasta and crispy chicken in a bowl and microwave single servings for about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Or, reheat crispy chicken in an air fryer or toaster oven until warmed through, then add on top of microwaved pasta.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This creamy pasta with spicy cashew sauce and crispy pan fried chicken is so satisfying! It’s packed with protein which makes it perfect for when you’re craving something hearty. Plus, you can cook this pasta dinner in under 30 minutes. What’s not to love about that?

Try our spicy cashew pasta with crispy chicken recipe and don’t forget to rate, comment, and share below!

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Spicy Cashew Pasta With Crispy Chicken

Make this spicy cashew pasta with crispy chicken for a satisfying, high protein dinner you can cook in under 30 minutes.
Servings 3 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

Spicy Cashew Sauce

  • 7 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Pasta and Crispy Chicken

  • ½ pound fettuccine
  • ½ pound chicken breast pounded to quarter-inch thickness
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 large eggs beaten well
  • cup plain breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fresh parsley chopped (optional garnish)

Instructions

  • First, make the spicy cashew dressing. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk thoroughly until combined. Set aside.
  • Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook according to package directions.
  • In the meantime, prepare the crispy chicken. In one shallow bowl or dish, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper. In a second shallow dish, beat the eggs. In a third shallow dish, add the breadcrumbs.
    Coat the chicken well in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Gently shake off any excess before transferring the chicken from one dish to the next, and make sure the chicken is completely coated.
  • Heat about a quarter inch of vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the chicken and fry until crispy and golden brown on both sides, about 5 to 6 minutes total (flip halfway through).
    Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pasta is done cooking.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, reserve some pasta water (about a quarter cup), then drain and return to the pot. Stir the cashew sauce into the pasta until it’s well-coated, adding a splash or two of the pasta water to help the sauce cling to the noodles if needed.
  • Finally, slice the crispy chicken into thin strips and serve over the pasta. Drizzle extra cashew sauce over the crispy chicken and optionally garnish with fresh parsley.

Notes

Spicy cashew sauce: We used our favorite spicy cashew dressing recipe (here) for this creamy cashew pasta sauce! The full recipe is included above since there’s really not a great store-bought alternative for this. This sauce is quite spicy, so if you want less heat reduce the amount of red pepper flakes (or omit them entirely).
Pan frying chicken: Make sure to pound the chicken breast thin before coating it. This will help it become super crispy without overcooking, and make sure each piece of chicken cooks at the same rate (if you’ve split your chicken breast into smaller pieces). Also – make sure the oil is hot before you add the chicken to the pan! If the chicken sits in not quite hot enough oil for too long before it really starts to fry, the breadcrumbs will soak up too much oil and become soggy. 
Serving suggestions: This spicy cashew pasta is the perfect dinner for when you’re craving a comforting, high protein meal. Enjoy it by itself, or serve it with a side salad or Italian bread if you want a little something extra.
Storing and reheating: Store leftover cashew pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. We recommend storing leftover crispy chicken in a separate container from the pasta so that it doesn’t become soggy from being in contact with the pasta sauce. The chicken will also stay good for up to 5 days.
To reheat, combine pasta and crispy chicken in a bowl and microwave single servings for about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Or, reheat crispy chicken in an air fryer or toaster oven until warmed through, then add on top of microwaved pasta.
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Author: Nicole
Calories: 891kcal
Course: Dinner, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Fusion, Italian
Keyword: breadcrumbs, cashew butter, chicken breast, egg, fettuccine, flour, high protein, parsley, spicy cashew dressing

Nutrition

Calories: 891kcal | Carbohydrates: 105g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 236mg | Sodium: 780mg | Potassium: 891mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1043IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 7mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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