Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta


Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta tastes like grown up mac and cheese. Elegant, yet super easy!

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

If April showers truly bring May flowers, then central Iowa is in for one helluva pretty Spring!

That is to say, it’s been raining here…like, a lot…and next week’s forecast isn’t looking any better. This is the kind of weather that makes you want to curl up with a good book and eat carbs all day long, like warm muffins, hot buttered popcorn, and Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta. It’s only Thursday but I’ve already made this cozy, comforting dish twice this week!

Speaking of books real quick – I read Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places on the way to Charleston, and wow – disturbing. Like way more disturbing than Gone Girl, but still genius writing and I totally didn’t see the end coming, which was awesome you know? On the lookout for a new title. Any recs? 

Anyways, while Ben and I like leftovers he’s not a huge repeat dish guy. That said, even he wasn’t complaining when I told him I’d be making this elegant, grown up mac & cheese featuring garlicky kale, chopped chicken, sauteed mushrooms, and thick mascarpone cheese for a second time this week so I could share the recipe with you guys. Last time we, uh, ate the whole thing and there was nothing left to photograph. Whoops!

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Mascarpone cheese is what makes this dish so delicious, as it’s thick, creamy and forms a luscious sauce to coat the pasta with when combined with a little chicken broth. Sauteed garlicky kale provides a toothsome bite, and chicken gives it saying power. Whether it’s raining where you are, or perfectly sunny, I deem this a dish you must try!

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Start by preppin’ your veggies including 8oz button mushrooms. You could use any type of fresh mushroom that you like – just buy em’ whole (and in bulk, when you can!) as they tend to be more expensive when pre-sliced. While I loathe mushrooms in all forms (Ben’s obsessed,) for some reason I really like slicing them. It’s like cutting through fluff. Teehee!

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Also chop > rinse > dry 6 cups chopped kale. Kale can look intimidating at the grocery store, but it’s really easy to prep. Just pull the leaves off the tough stem, then chop!

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

6 cups is about 1/2 a big bunch of kale. After chopping, rinse then send through the salad spinner to dry.

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

K, time to get cookin’! Start by boiling 6oz gluten-free or regular farfelle pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside.

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil in a very large skillet then cook 2 chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper over medium-high heat until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Heat 1 more teaspoon oil in the skillet then saute 1 chopped shallot for about a minute, just until it turns golden brown, then melt 1 Tablespoon butter and add the sliced mushrooms. Season generously with salt and pepper then saute until they start to turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Next add the chopped kale. It will look like an impossibly huge pile but will quickly cook down. Also add 2 chopped garlic cloves then cook for a minute or so, just until the kale wilts.

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Almost done! Even though the kale has wilted it’s not cooked all the way, so add 1/3 cup chicken broth to the skillet, pop a lid on top, and steam the kale for 3-4 minutes, or until it’s tender.

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Once the kale is tender, add 4oz mascarpone cheese to the skillet. This stuff is rich, creamy, and sooooo dreamy. It’s what makes this dish taste ultra elegant and decadent!

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Stir the cheese until melted, adding a few Tablespoons chicken broth to make a nice and creamy sauce.

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Add the pasta and cooked chicken back in then season with more salt & pepper and stir, stir, stir.

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Ben recommends devouring with a nice glass of cabernet – I recommend just diving in. This dish is HEAVEN!

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta

Serves 4


Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta tastes like grown up mac and cheese. Elegant, yet super easy!


  • 8oz gluten-free or regular farfelle pasta, or other short-cut pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 8oz sliced button mushrooms
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup chicken broth, divided
  • 4oz mascarpone cheese


  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper then add to skillet and cook until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then set aside.
  3. Heat remaining teaspoon oil in skillet then add shallots and saute until they begin to turn golden brown, 1 minute. Add butter and melt then add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and saute until mushrooms begin to turn golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Add kale and garlic then saute until kale begins to wilt, 1 minute.
  4. Add 1/3 cup chicken broth to skillet then place a lid on top and steam until kale is tender, 3-4 minutes. When tender, add mascarpone cheese and enough chicken broth to make a sauce then stir until smooth. Stir in cooked pasta and chicken then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.


Inspired by Giada de Laurentiis

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

I promise you will devour this creamy, chewy, hearty dish. Don’t count on any leftovers!

Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta |

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  1. Kim W. 04.11.2013

    I love this recipe! Plan on whipping this up tomorrow night for my boys. I’ve read Gone Girl and really liked it. I will have to check out her other titles. Here’s the book I am reading now and it’s fascinating: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. It’s great:

  2. Hayley 04.11.2013

    This sounds wonderful. My boyfriend and I are mushroom lovers and our eyes have recently been opened to the deliciousness that is kale! :)

    I just finished reading a really good book–Why Can’t I Be you by Allie Larkin.

  3. OMG! This sounds incredible.

    P.S. Your pictures get more amazing with each post!

  4. Helen 04.11.2013

    This looks delicious. I love finding new ways to incorporate kale into dishes. As for books, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was fantastic and Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight is already being hailed as 2013’s Gone Girl. I highly recommend both!

  5. Kalyn 04.11.2013

    What a great-looking dish. I would love this for dinner.

  6. Margo 04.11.2013

    OMG, reading this just before serving my dinner which is an epic fail (trying to reproduce a jar of butternut squash marinara bought @ BedBathBeyond)Now all I want is your dinner, I’m loving everything Kale, can’t get enough!!! Try one of Kat Martin’s books, she’s a great author & friend of mine!

  7. Kelli 04.11.2013

    I’m curious…when you make something delicious like this with an ingredient you don’t like in it (i.e. mushrooms) do you pick them out? Mix them in for Ben at the end? I LOVE mushrooms but my husband gags at the sight of them!

    Gorgeous photos…I’m drooling at the sight! :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.11.2013

      I just pick them out at the end and put them onto his plate. Kind of tedious, but I don’t mind!

  8. Yum! I love the idea of making mascarpone into a pasta sauce – plus it sounds easy peasy!

  9. You should read the Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. It’s the first in a trilogy. If you love a strong female character, mystery, suspense and romance you’ll love it. It’ll have you drinking hot tea and craving British inspired meat pies the whole time you read it. I’m not kidding you HAVE to read it!

    • Meg 04.17.2013

      I absolutely agree! It is my all time favorite book. It made me laugh, cry and get so angry sometimes! Everyone I’ve recommended it to has thanked me.

  10. This sounds amazing! I love adding mushrooms and spinach to rice or pasta and i’m sure kale would be great too, great idea to add the mascarpone and make it into the sauce. You don’t eat the mushrooms but does the flavor they add to the dish bother you? I know some of my friends will not eat mushrooms but will eat something made with mushroom soup.

  11. Danyel 04.11.2013

    I’ll have to make this for myself as my family won’t eat the mushrooms or greens. Ugh. I love the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. Murder mysteries but so different than anything I’ve ever read. Give them a shot.

  12. Kara Clark 04.11.2013

    I highly recommend Because We Are by Ted Oswald.

    It is a “nonprofit novel of murder, mystery and redemption in the slums of Haiti, with two remarkable children in the lead.” Its an exciting story that you won’t want to put down until you know how it ends!

    ALL proceeds go straight to organizations that the author worked with while over in Haiti. He wrote the story as a means to give back to the community he experienced. So its a great cause for a great read! Please check it out!

    • Kara Clark 04.11.2013

      p.s. this dish looks amazing! finally bought some kale tonight at trader joes to give it a try!

  13. Awesome! This is going in my ro make list!

  14. Keith B 04.11.2013

    Dish looks nice, but not the biggest fan of Kale. What would you suggest we could substitue the Kale with instead?

    • Samantha 04.16.2013

      I think spinach would be good!

  15. April 04.11.2013

    I have her next book, Sharp Objects on hold to read next, I love her writing style. I suggest giving The Host a try. Totally did not think I would enjoy this book but it was the best I have read this year. Love your blog and I make make at least one of your recipes weekly :). Warm wishes from Peoria , IL!

    • renea 04.11.2013

      Loved the Host, too.

    • Kristin from MN 04.12.2013

      I love The Host!!! I can’t wait for the next book! I also recommend Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (I predict this to be the next Hunger Games) and Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (the most thrilling and intense romance I’ve ever read)!

  16. Amy 04.11.2013

    This looks great! I have all the ingredients on hand except the marscapone. Maybe ricotta? Maybe one of your other creamy pasta dish bases. We will see…

    Books. I recently read “Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead” by Sara Gran. Another younger female writer like Flynn. Loved it. It was a fast paced, kind of moody whodunit with a
    “strong female lead” as Netflix might say.

  17. Tricia H 04.11.2013

    Looks like another one of your great recipes! Can’t wait to give it a try!
    Right now I am rereading The Red Tent for my book club…I highly recommend it.

  18. Tieghan 04.11.2013

    Love the kale! This looks so good!

  19. Jess 04.12.2013

    Kristin – this looks fantastic! Just the right amount of creaminess, and I love the use of marscapone. What a tasty, healthy dinner!

  20. Tamara 04.12.2013

    I have been a long-time fan aka stalker of your blog. : ). Your recipes are wonderful, but it’s the tone and humor in your writing that I love! Thanks for the recipes and smiles!
    Belated Congratulations on your upcoming arrival too – so exciting!
    I have a book recommendation that you, being a foodie and cook , must read:
    “The School of Essential Ingredients” by Eriica Bauermeister. It is a great, beautifully written read! It has stayed with me long after I finished it.

  21. Taylor 04.12.2013

    I have read Gone Girl recently too which was good…but I enjoyed her other book Sharp Objects even more!

  22. Molly 04.12.2013

    If you thought Dark Places was disturbing wait until you read her other book Sharp Objects..very twisted!
    I just finished The Violets of March by Sarah Jio and couldn’t put it down. Also Six Years by Harlan Coben was a fast/great read!
    Love your page :)

  23. Danielle 04.12.2013

    Can’t wait to make this for dinner tonight!!!! Looks delish!!!

  24. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks delicious and it’s nutritious. I have bookmarked it so I can try it. If you get a chance stop by my blog Recipe for Life and check out some of my family favorites at:
    Deborah H. Bateman – Author

  25. Lauren T 04.12.2013

    I ran out and bought the rest of the ingredients I needed last night to make this dish and it was so delicious! I’ve never had marscapone before, and I loved it! I love your recipes, and I’ve really started to enjoy cooking since I started reading your blog about a year ago :) Thanks!

  26. Julia 04.12.2013

    Easy and comforting! I am always looking for pasta recipes. I am not a fan of mushroom–do you think there is another veggie that I could sub?

  27. Melanie 04.12.2013

    Here’s a couple book recommendations:
    Night Road by Kristen Hannah
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
    Bloom by Kelle Hampton (although as a PG mama, might be tough to read)

  28. Hollis Zimmer 04.12.2013

    Ok, this is the perfect post for me right now as I am trying to figure out what to make for dinner and just finished my book last night! Love all the book recommendations and it looks like I have a bunch to catch up on. And the recipe is right up my alley. Love creamy anything and I’m trying to bring kale into my life a bit more! Thanks so much for all of your wonderful recipes (and stories)!

  29. Soon we’ll have a big harvest of kale so I’m always looking for additional recipes besides my usual kale chips or kale turkey meatballs – this is definitely going in the “to make” list. Thanks!

  30. Julie 04.12.2013

    Loved “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult!

  31. Molly 04.12.2013

    Ooooo, I really enjoyed Gone Girl, I’l have to check out more from her. My favorite book so far this year has been The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I zipped right through because I hated putting it down! Now I am wading my way through the Game of Thrones, but its a much slower read (but so far, its good!).

  32. This looks awesome!

  33. Laura 04.14.2013

    I just made this and YUM. Thanks for the recipe!!

  34. Kristin G 04.14.2013

    Entwine Cabernet is my favorite right now! What a perfect pairing. Can’t wait to make this meal :)

  35. Jacqui 04.14.2013

    Gillian Flynn has a third book as well – cant remember the title off the top of my head but definitely a great read like the other two. Buuuutttt I definitely got the same creepy crawlies that I got from reading Dark Places so maybe read some chick lit before jumping into that one. Or for crime/suspense/thriller-y try Lisa Gardner’s books.

  36. Jessie 04.15.2013

    I made this yesterday…didn’t have Kale in small batch at my grocery store so I substituted spinach. It was wonderful!

  37. Valerie 04.15.2013

    May I just say YUM! I’ve never been the greatest of cooks but after making this dish, one would never know it. This is something I will be making again and sooner than I think. So glad I came across your website. Thank you it really was delicious.

  38. Yvette 04.16.2013

    Do you know any substitute for mascarpone cheese?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.17.2013

      You could use 1/2 softened cream cheese and heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2, maybe thinned out with a bit of chicken broth!

  39. elizabeth 04.17.2013

    HI there!

    I made this recipe last night and LOVED it! But the sauce didn’t turn out as creamy as what it did in your photos. Maybe use more marscapone? Any other ideas?


    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.17.2013

      So glad to hear! I just kept adding chicken broth until it got creamy enough to coat the pasta, chicken and veggies.

  40. […] Source:  Iowa Girl Eats […]

  41. Raven 04.19.2013

    I just made this recipe (omitted the chicken) and it was so good that I that I think it erased my less than wonderful week.

  42. Aliyah 04.23.2013

    What would you recommend as a replacement for 4oz mascarpone cheese if you want to keep it dairy-free?

  43. kelly 06.27.2013

    Thank you SO much for this recipe! I actually made it GFCF and still wanted to steal from my husbands plate (he had 3/4 of the pan per usual) will keep!

  44. Teresa 09.26.2013

    I made this tonight. This was just amazing!!!!!! My family loved it. Thanks so much! And so easy!

    Yesterday I made the chicken with herb garlic cheese and zucchini. My husband loved it and kept talking about how good it was. Can’t wait to make more of your recipes!

    God Bless you and your family and your precious baby.


  45. samantha 10.09.2014

    does it matter what brand of mascarpone cheese and if you cant find it or its to expensive, is there a sub?

    • Kristin 10.09.2014

      Hi Samantha! I just bought whatever the store had so any brand is fine. If you can’t find mascarpone cheese, here’s a good substitute I found: 8 ounces of full-fat cream cheese at room temperature blended with 1/4 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons full-fat sour cream.

      • samantha 10.09.2014

        Just came from market just to see if i can find and i couldn’t find it, even the staff couldn’t so thank you for getting back to me so fast. Going to see how it turns out Friday.

  46. Sarah 11.23.2014

    Stumbled on to your site when searching for a dish that incorporated chicken, kale and mushrooms. Made this last night and it was delicious – thanks so much for sharing!

  47. Abby 01.30.2015

    I made this last night for few of my friends and it was a hit. I added shredded carrots to give a little color and some vodka sauce. It tasted amazing. Thank you!!

  48. Stephanie 06.17.2015

    I stumbled upon your this recipe and just printed it. I will try it soon. Sounds delicious. May I make one suggestion. If you haven’t already done so, please throw away your scratched non-stick pan and replace it with stainless steel or cast iron. It’s releasing toxins into your food, and it detracts from your photos. Otherwise I plan to check out more of your recipes.

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