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Zesty Chicken with Lemon, Spinach and Noodles


This dish owes much of its super zestiness to the addition of lemon juice to hot and dry cooked pasta.  Basic ingredients are typically stocked in the freezer and pantry, so we consider this recipe one of our go-to favourites for quick mid-week meals.  And children love it - spinach and all.
Bonus#1  It looks and tastes good enough for company. 
Bonus #2  Awesome in a roll-over menu - straight from the fridge, rolled up in any sort of wrap and dressed with a bit of grainy mustard, julienned green apple and halved grape tomatoes.
Bonus #3  Perfect cold pasta salad a-la-picnic.  Swap pappardalle for bow tie or rotini pasta and maybe toss in a pint of halved grape tomatoes at the very last minute, and voila!

  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves, or 4 whole chicken legs boned and skinned
  • 1  lb fresh baby spinach leaves, or 1 lb chopped frozen spinach
  • 3 organic lemons - zested and juiced (non-organic lemon zest may be unsafe to consume)
  • 1 cup natural or organic chicken broth (preferrably low-sodium)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon ObedienceTM or arrowroot powder
  • 1 lb pappardelle or other fresh or dried broad-noodle pasta of choice

# of Servings


Cook Time (min)


Difficulty Rating


Preparation Time (min)



Set a large pot of salted water to boil (enough salt so the water tastes like the sea).  Time the addition of fresh or dried noodles to be cooked al dente when the balance of the dish is ready.

Slice each chicken breast half in half lengthwise, then slice thinly across and on the bias. If using thighs, mimic the above as closely as possible.  *Note it is much easier and quicker to cut chicken that it partially frozen.

In a deep and wide lidded pot, saute crushed garlic in oil, over medium heat very slightly just until golden.  Add chicken meat to pan and continue to saute for just a few minutes until pieces have separated from each other but have not started to brown.   Add half of the chicken stock and simmer 5 minutes.  Add the fresh spinach, or thawed and 'well-drained and squeezed-out' frozen spinach, plus the lemon zest - stir to incorporate and close the lid of the pot to simmer for 5 minutes more or until the spinach is wilted but still bright green.  Meanwhile, make a paste of the arrowroot powder and a small amount of chicken stock, then add the paste and the remaining stock to the pot, stirring until the broth thickens slightly.  

Drain cooked noodles in a collander and toss to 'steam dry'.  Quickly return to the empty cooking pot, add the lemon juice and toss well to incorporate.  The dry noodles will suck up the juice and become gorgeous citrusy morsels in and of themselves.  Transfer the fortified noodles to a heated serving platter if desired, and pour the chicken and spinach mixture overtop.  Garnish with finely grated Pecorino Romano, if desired.

Roll Over item:  Zesty chicken is a great roll over item (left-over friendly) - noodles and all, straight from the fridge and cold-rolled into a wrap of any sort, dressed up a bit with sliced green apples, halved grape or cherry tomatoes and a bit of grainy mustard.  Plan ahead and make a double batch.

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C@H Kitchen