This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide recipes to you. Read my disclosure policy.
This incredibly flavorful Rasta Pasta recipe features penne pasta cooked al dente and tossed with sautéed peppers and shredded chicken in a rich, creamy, spiced sauce. It’s the perfect weeknight meal that can be made in just 30 minutes, start to finish!
There’s not much better than an easy-to-make, hearty pasta dish that is going to fill you up! Here are some sides to complete the meal. Serve alongside some yummy garlic bread, this easy kale caesar salad and some parmesan air fryer Brussels sprouts to bring it all together.
What is Rasta Pasta?
Say hello to your new favorite pasta meal! This Rasta Pasta was an amazing treat to our taste buds and became an instant favorite with the first bite. It’s a popular Caribbean recipe that originated in Jamaica in 1985 by Chef Lorraine Washington. She made the dish for a crew of construction workers with fettuccine, red sauce and ackee, Jamaica’s national fruit. The red, green, and yellow colors looked like the colors of the Jamaican flag and prompted one of the workers to call it a “Rasta pasta” and the name stuck!
Why is this dish so amazing? The pasta, the incredible textures from the veggies and chicken, the seasoning, the sauce, it’s all just SO good. My family absolutely loves pasta for dinner, and this is elevated enough to serve to guests. Just like in our pink sauce pasta and creamy buffalo chicken pasta, penne pasta is perfect for holding and absorbing the sauce. The chicken and peppers make it extra hearty, and the jerk seasoning adds a wonderful bold flavor with just enough heat. You are going to love it!
This pasta recipe is super easy to make, yet it’s filled with a lot of different textures and flavors, and turns out so delicious. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all of the exact ingredient measurements.
- Pasta: I used penne for this recipe but you can also use elbows, bowties, or rigatoni.
- Olive Oil: For sautéing the veggies.
- Green Onions: Also known as scallions have a mild, slightly sweet flavor with a slightly pungent and peppery taste.
- Bell Peppers: Sautéed red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and green bell pepper are classic in this recipe and offer flavor and texture.
- Garlic: If you don’t have garlic cloves, you can use minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon equals about one clove of garlic.
- Chicken: Use any cooked shredded chicken you have available. Leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken works great!
- Seasoning: Use homemade Jerk Seasoning or store-bought to add wonderful sweet and savory spices to this dish! Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Chicken Stock: Gives the sauce the perfect consistency and adds extra flavor.
- Heavy Cream: Adds a creamy and velvety texture to the sauce.
How to Make Rasta Pasta
This pasta rasta recipe is the best dinner for busy weeknights because it takes less than 30 minutes to make! Cook the pasta, sauté the peppers, add everything in together, let it simmer, and finish with a garnish of sliced green onions before serving!
- Cook the Pasta: Boil pasta according to package instructions, just until it’s al dente. Then drain and set aside.
- Sauté Peppers: In a large heavy bottom pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the green onions and all the bell peppers to the pot. Sauté until the peppers are tender and beginning to brown.
- Add Chicken and Seasonings: Add the shredded chicken to the pot along with the jerk seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss to coat everything in the seasoning completely and sauté the chicken with the vegetables and seasonings, about 3 minutes.
- Combine All Ingredients: To the pot, add the chicken stock, heavy cream, and cooked pasta. Bring everything to a boil, stirring continually. Once it has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce thickens slightly and the pasta has cooked a bit more, about 5-8 minutes.
- Serve: Remove the pot from heat and serve pasta with additional sliced green onions for garnish!
Tips and Variations
This rasta pasta recipe is quick and straightforward! There are even ways that you can adjust the ingredients and customize the recipe, so it is perfect for your family. Here are some quick tips and ways to switch things up and make this recipe your own.
- Try Different Pasta: Besides penne pasta, other great choices are rotini and fusilli! You could even consider a vegetable noodle like zucchini noodles for a healthier version.
- Cooking Pasta: Be sure to season the boiling water with plenty of salt before adding in the pasta. As a general rule of thumb, add 1 teaspoon salt per 4 cups of water.
- Chicken: Instead of taking the time to cook and shred your chicken beforehand, use rotisserie chicken. For more convenience, they have bags of pre-shredded rotisserie chicken that’s ready to go! It’s a huge time saver, and already has lots of flavor!
- Additional Ingredients: Try mixing in new ingredients like mushrooms, asparagus, shrimp, or sausage. The options are endless!
- Cream: While you can substitute the heavy cream with half-and-half, I don’t recommend it. The rasta pasta sauce will not be as rich and creamy.
To store leftovers, let the dish cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge. It will last up to 4 days. When you are ready to eat the leftovers, you can reheat them on the stove or in the microwave.
When reheating, I recommend adding a splash of water, broth or chicken stock to loosen everything up and prevent the pasta from becoming too dry.
Pin this now to find it later
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, just until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large heavy bottom pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the green onions and all the bell peppers to the pot. Sauté until the peppers are tender and beginning to brown.
Add the shredded chicken to the pot along with the jerk seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss to coat everything in the seasoning completely and saute the chicken with the vegetables and seasonings, about 3 minutes.
To the pot, add the chicken stock, heavy cream, and cooked pasta. Bring everything to a boil, stirring continually. Once it has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce thickens slightly and the pasta has cooked a bit more, about 5-8 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat and serve pasta with additional sliced green onions for garnish!
Serving: 1servingCalories: 366kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 17gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 131mgPotassium: 395mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1924IUVitamin C: 59mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.