Kristen Ziesmer, Sports Dietitian - Zucchini Kale and Chicken Pasta Bowl Recipe

Zucchini Kale and Chicken Pasta Bowl Recipe

One hearty dish ready in 30 minutes or less!

It’s getting colder outside and that means it’s time for warm and cozy meals! I absolutely love the fall weather and the foods that go along with it. The fall in the south is one of those seasons where it can hot one day and cold the next. We’re also in transition from summer veggies to fall/winter veggies. That’s what makes this recipe a perfect combo for this transition season. It combines summer zucchini with fall kale!

Kale Yeah!

Kristen Ziesmer, Sports Dietitian - Zucchini Kale and Chicken Pasta Bowl Recipe

Kale is actually one of my favorite veggies because of it’s crunch and versatility. I’m sure you’re aware of it’s superfood powers too 😉 In all seriousness, it’s a great source of vitamin K, fiber and water. In this recipe, it gets thrown in at the very end of the cooking process to avoid over cooking. My kale either comes from my very own garden (thanks to my talented hubby!) or from the SC State Farmers Market. Of course you can always buy it from the grocery store in a pre-chopped bag which saves even more time.

Feel free to experiment with different types of kale too. Yes, there are tons of kale varieties and all have different textures, colors and flavors. Some varieties include curly kale (what I used), Red Russian, Chinese and baby kale.

One Pot Wonder

The beauty of this recipe is that it can all be prepared in one pot! This means less time and less clean up. Plus all the flavors blend together better because you’re able to deglaze the pot and pick up the flavors from the stuck on brown bits…yum! This one pot wonder will take you 30 minutes or less from start to finish and is perfect for a busy weeknight or post-workout meal. You can also try this recipe in a slow cooker or speed it up in an Instant Pot.

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced (I use a mandolin to save time)
  • 1 bunch of fresh kale
  • 4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T. dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb rigatoni pasta (I like DeCecco brand)


  1. Sprinkle chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
  2. In a large stockpot, heat chicken broth over high heat. When boiling, add garlic, 1 lb pasta and chunked chicken. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until both are halfway done- about 6 minutes.
  3. Add sliced zucchini to the pot and cook until the pasta and chicken are done and zucchini is soft.
  4. Add the bunch of kale that’s either pre-cut or torn into bite-sized pieces. Cook for about 1-2 minutes more or until kale is bright green.
  5. Divide evenly among 4 bowls and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve with some crusty Italian bread.

The result is a soupy pasta bowl full of vitamin and fiber-rich veggies, protein and carbs. A perfectly balanced meal that even the least experienced cook can master! I’d love to know what you thought of this recipe. Want more easy recipe ideas? Check these out:

Need help with nutritional counseling or meal planning? Click HERE to schedule your FREE no obligation consultation – Virtual Consultations are available from the comfort of your home! I’d love to talk to you and find out more about your goals and show you how I can help you get better at your sport and /or get healthier.

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