Rasta pasta with jerk chicken is tender grilled marinated chicken breast tossed in a creamy alfredo sauce with Jamaican spices and penne. This spicy pasta dish is enhanced by sauteed bell peppers, jerk seasoning, cream, and parmesan cheese. With this recipe you can have a delicious, filling meal on the dinner table in under an hour!
Rasta pasta with jerk chicken is the perfect way to spice up your standard pasta meal. Each bite is packed with bold, spicy flavor thanks to jerk seasoning. Good luck trying to have leftovers because this is the best chicken rasta pasta recipe!
Why You’ll Love This Jerk Chicken Rasta Pasta Recipe
- Easy weeknight dinner. Marinate your chicken ahead of time, and this meal comes together easily with just a few simple steps.
- Customizable. This recipe has quite a few ingredients but you can mix and match them according to your taste buds. Make it spicy, or vegetarian, or throw in an extra protein. It’s up to you!
- Comforting. This Italian-Jamaican fusion has plenty of carbs, cheese, and juicy chicken, making this a great comfort food. Cozy up with a bowl because it’s super filling!
What is Rasta Pasta?
Rasta pasta is a popular Jamaican-style pasta that originated in the 1980s in Negril, Jamaica by Chef Lorraine Washington. The original pasta dish was made with fettuccine and bell peppers. The trio of bell peppers reminded one of her customers of the colors of the Rastafari movement so they referred to it as “rasta pasta.”
It became popular in the United States after a Jamaican restaurant in Brooklyn called Footprints made their own version inspired by Washington’s.
What is Jamaican Jerk seasoning?
Jerk seasoning is a bold spice blend that usually includes allspice, cinnamon, dried herbs, clove, cumin, cayenne pepper, and hot pepper flakes. This is not to be confused with jerk marinade, which is a wet variation of the seasoning mix.
Jerk Chicken Rasta Pasta Ingredients
- Boneless Chicken Breast: Boneless chicken thighs will work as an alternative.
- Seasoning: Jerk Seasoning, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder
- Olive Oil: this oil has a higher smoke point which makes it great for cooking the chicken.
- Penne Pasta: The sauce clings to this just right.
- Aromatics: I use roughly chopped onion, grated or minced garlic cloves, and grated ginger.
- Peppers: Use julienned red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper.
- Fresh Thyme: For fresh flavor and a pop of color.
- Green Onion: Finely chopped.
- Parmesan Cheese: Use more if needed.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: This enriches the sauce so I don’t suggest swapping it for half and half.
- Seasoning: Jerk Seasoning, salt, ground black pepper, smoked paprika
How to Make Rasta Pasta with Jerk Chicken
Cook Penne Pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
Marinate and Cook Jerk Chicken
Marinate the chicken breast with the jerk marinade, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Then in a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken on both sides for 10-15 minutes until cooked through and charred on the outside (or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F).
Using the same skillet, saute the bell peppers and onions until fragrant then add the green onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute for about 1 minute.
Make Alfredo Sauce
Add the heavy whipping cream, jerk marinade, salt, pepper, and paprika, and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes. Now, add the parmesan cheese and stir well until incorporated.
Add the Chicken & Serve
Then roughly chop the jerk chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and add it to the sauce with the pasta. Mix well until all the pasta noodles are coated. Finally, serve and enjoy!
- Pasta: Instead of penne, you can use bow tie, rigatoni, fettuccine, or your favorite pasta.
- Protein: You can use other proteins to replace the chicken. I suggest shrimp, salmon, or andouille sausage.
- Vegetarian Rasta Pasta: Want a meatless meal? A blend of your favorite vegetables and mushrooms is a great protein substitute.
- Vegan Rasta Pasta: Omit the chicken, use a vegan parmesan cheese alternative, and instead of heavy cream, use coconut milk.
Storage & Reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave in intervals, stirring in between, until heated completely. The sauce will thicken once it’s refrigerated so you may need to add a splash of heavy cream in order to adjust the consistency.
Can Rasta Pasta with Jerk Chicken Be Made Ahead?
Absolutely! You can make the whole dish ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 4 days. Or you can prepare the jerk chicken in advance and just make the pasta when you’re ready to eat.
What is rasta pasta sauce made of?
Rasta pasta sauce is a mix of jerk seasoning, bell peppers, cream, parmesan cheese and pasta.
Is Rasta Pasta with Jerk Chicken spicy?
This recipe is moderately spicy. If you want less heat, use less jerk seasoning, but if you want to kick it up a notch, add jalapenos or finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers.
More Pasta Recipes:
DID YOU MAKE THIS RASTA PASTA WITH JERK CHICKEN RECIPE?
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Rasta Pasta with Jerk Chicken
- 1 lb Boneless Chicken Breast
- 2 tbsp Jerk Seasoning
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil for cooking
- 1 lb Penne Pasta
- 1 Small Onion roughly chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves grated or minced
- 1 tsp Fresh Ginger grated
- ½ Red Bell Pepper julienned
- ½ Green Bell Pepper julienned
- ½ Yellow Bell Pepper julienned
- 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 stalk Green Onion finely chopped
- 1¼ cup Parmesan Cheese or more if needed
- 1½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 tbsp Jerk Seasoning
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
- Marinate the chicken breast with the jerk marinade, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken on both sides for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. until cooked through and charred on the outside.
- Using the same skillet, sautee the bell peppers and onions until fragrant then add the green onion, garlic, ginger. Sautee for about 1 minute.
- Add the heavy whipping cream, jerk marinade, salt, pepper, and paprika and bring to simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes. Now, add the parmesan cheese and stir well until incorporated.
- Roughly chop the jerk chicken breast into bite sized pieces and add it to the sauce with the pasta. Mix well until all the pasta noodles are coated.
- Serve and enjoy!