Slowcooker Tuscan chicken is cooked in a CrockPot and then tossed with your favorite pasta for a delicious dinner with sundried tomatoes and baby spinach in a rich garlic cream sauce.
I just love how tender chicken thighs are when cooked in a CrockPot.
This delicious slowcooker Tuscan chicken recipe has a garlic cream sauce, wilted baby spinach, and tender sundried tomatoes.
Toss in a pound of your favorite pasta noodle for a comforting dinner with almost no effort! Want to have even more tomato flavor? Make a 15-minute batch of my oven roasted cherry tomatoes to spoon over the top.
Leftovers reheat wonderfully so you can assemble the entire dish up to 24 hours in advance and simply microwave it on a busy evening.
The ingredients list for this Crockpot recipe are really so simple:
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs: We love how tender they are but you could substitute chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins if you prefer.
- Baby Spinach
- Sundried Tomatoes: You can use the dried kind that come in the dried produce section or the sundried tomatoes packed in oil. If you use the ones in a jar, be sure to drain them before chopping.
- Heavy cream
- Chicken stock
- Minced garlic
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Italian herb blend
- Salt and pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Season the Chicken Thighs
First, spray the bowl of your CrockPot with cooking spray.
Use a fork to open the chicken thighs from their folded position and nestle them inside in layers. Sprinkle each layer of chicken with Italian herb seasoning and salt and pepper.
Chop the sundried tomatoes and sprinkle them over the chicken.
Make the Cream Sauce
Second, you'll want to build the cream sauce in a saucepan on the stove. This helps concentrate the flavors, thicken the sauce, and cook the garlic to add a more mellow flavor to the final dish.
Heat some olive oil in the pan and toast the garlic for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant.
Optional: You can add the crushed red pepper flakes with the garlic if you prefer your pasta with a kick.
Add the heavy cream and chicken stock and cook until the sauce thickens and coats a wooden spoon.
Add the grated cheese and quickly whisk it in until smooth.
Pour the sauce over the chicken in the slowcooker. Use a fork to wiggle the chicken around and allow the sauce to drip down between all the layers and the bottom of the pot.
Cook the Chicken and Spinach
Cover the slowcooker and cook the chicken in the cream sauce for 3 - 4 hours on HIGH or 5 - 6 hours on LOW.
About 30 minutes before the chicken is finished cooking, set a large pot of water to boil on your stove top so you can cook the pasta according to the package directions.
Then, chop the fresh baby spinach and set aside.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the sauce to a clean plate. Add the spinach to the sauce and stir to combine.
While the spinach cooks, carefully cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, try not to completely shred the chicken as you go as this will give it a nicer texture.
Return the chicken to the slowcooker.
Toss the Pasta
Drain your cooked pasta and add it to the the CrockPot to toss in the sauce and combine with the chicken and spinach.
How to Avoid Mushy Noodles
Slowcooker pasta dishes can be tricky, if you attempt to cook the noodles directly in the CrockPot, the texture can be hard to get just right.
For this reason, I always boil my pasta on the stovetop so I can control the texture according to my meal planning timeframe.
If I plan to serve the pasta dish immediately, I cook the pasta for the lowest time listed on the package. This keeps the noodle firm and allows room for leftovers to soften as they absorb the sauce.
If I want to toss the pasta and let it keep warm in the slowcooker for more than 20 minutes, I cook the pasta for 1 - 2 minutes LESS than the package directions state. The noodles will be slightly underdone but will continue to cook inside the slowcooker.
Even though there are a full 3 cups of baby spinach in this recipe, it doesn't feel like a ton of vegetables when you serve it since the spinach wilts down as it cooks.
If you want to increase the amount of vegetables in the dish, there is a lot of room for variations.
This recipe would be delicious with:
- Roasted asparagus
- Roasted cherry tomatoes
- Roasted broccoli
- Sautéed pea pods
- Roasted peppers and onions (maybe skip the pineapple in that recipe)
Slowcooker Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend
- Salt & Pepper
- ¼ cup (6 pieces) sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups baby spinach chopped
- 1 pound pasta farfalle or penne
- Place the chicken thighs in the bowl of a 3qt slowcooker. Sprinkle the herb blend and salt & pepper over the top. Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes over the top.
- In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until just fragrant.
- Add the heavy cream and chicken stock to the saucepan and whisk to combine. Continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened so that the cream coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Whisk in ½ cup parmesan cheese until smooth. Pour the cream mixture over the chicken thighs. Use a fork to wiggle the thighs in the cream so that they are completely coated on all sides by the sauce.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 5 - 6 hours or on HIGH for 3 - 4 hours.
- 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the sauce and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the chicken into chunks, trying not to completely shred the meat. Meanwhile, add the chopped spinach to the slowcooker and stir it into the sauce so that it wilts.
- Return the chopped chicken to the slowcooker. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce and chicken.
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