To me, this dish screams the first days of spring. Fresh lemon and tender greens bring in a burst of fresh flavor, but a hint of winter flavor lingers from the parmesan and mushrooms. Everything is relatively quick to cook, making this an easy weeknight meal. It’s also great as leftovers the next day. While I think this dish is already pretty kid-friendly, serve this with a bit of marinara sauce to make it a bit more familiar and appealing to kids.
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Kale Raab & Kamut Pasta
Takes about 30-45 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into bite-size, thin pieces
- 2 lemons (about 6 tablespoons worth)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (freshly grated is preferred, but not necessary)
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (not including oil needed to saute)
- bunch of kale raab (alternatives: broccoli raab, broccoli)
- about 10 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 12-ounce box of spiral pasta (I like kamut- see why here!)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
What’s kale raab?
Kale raab is the edible flower buds produced by kale plants. If you ever have seen broccoli raab, kale raab is the same thing, just from kale. You probably won’t find it at the grocery store; I spotted it at my local farmers market. Feel free to substitute broccoli raab, or broccoli– kale raab is somewhat akin to broccoli, it’s just more delicate and tender.
Before anything, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil–this is the most time-consuming part of the recipe. Then get started on marinating the chicken. Combine 3/4 of the lemon juice, 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Pour over chicken and marinate for at least 15 minutes, up to 2 hours. Tip: Marinate chicken in a plastic baggie for minimal cleanup.
Once water is boiling, add in a teaspoon of sea salt and cook pasta according to directions. I like to err on the side of al dente, which took about 7-ish minutes for the kamut pasta. Drain pasta and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, begin to cook the chicken and kale raab and mushrooms. I used two pans so I could do this simultaneously. If you only have one, just cook the chicken first, do a quick rinse, and then cook the kale raab and mushrooms.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray or add a bit of oil to the pan. Once the pan is hot, add chicken. Let the chicken sit on the pan for a few minutes to get nice and golden. Once the sides and the middle are beginning to turn white, flip the chicken (after about 5 minutes). Cook until white in the center and golden on both sides, about another 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a medium sized skillet over low to medium heat. Once the pan is hot, coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil–here, I don’t recommend spraying, because the kale raab and mushrooms won’t cook quite as well. Saute and stir occasionally until the kale raab is a more vibrant color and the mushrooms are starting to turn golden, about 7-ish minutes.
Toss pasta, kale raab, mushrooms, and chicken in a large bowl. Add the remaining lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons) and olive oil (2 teaspoons). Taste, and add more lemon juice and olive oil if needed. Top with parmesan.
This dish is great for leftovers the next day. Just store in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat in the microwave the next day.