Make Chicken Feta Pasta – make it gluten free! It’s an easy and delicious weeknight meal full of all the good things and fit for any eater, gluten-free or not.
Tangy feta baked until soft and creamy alongside marinated chicken breast and five different vegetables – tossed with gluten free pasta and topped with garden fresh basil and freshly grated Romano cheese!
WOW! Notch that TikTok Pasta up a level; it’s (nearly) a one-pot meal, deliciously fine and made gluten free!
This article includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you.
When I saw the Baked Feta Pasta buzz on TikTok early in 2021, I could see why.
Feel Good Foodie’s viral visual recipe was tantalizing. The recipe could certainly serve as a quick vegetarian main. And it could stick to your ribs when bean-based pasta like Banza was the noodle of choice. It could be a delectable accompaniment to any grilled or roasted entree, too.
But I thought…
“Why stop with just tomatoes in a dish with creamy feta and regular pasta?”
Many other Baked Feta Pasta knockoffs of Liemessa’s original recipe (made popular on TikTok) are heavy on the pasta. They are lighter on both fiber-rich vegetables and often lacking satisfying protein.
Including both fiber and protein are the basic foundations in creating a healthy mealtime (and snacktime) balance. These important nutrition components help you achieve lasting satiety to fuel your day.
My recipe is an amped up pasta party enhanced with protein-packed chicken breast. It is modeled after that TikTok Feta Pasta, but it is also more complete with a variety of vegetables and Mediterranean flavors!
It’s both perfectly fresh and creamy, but at the same time, a healthy comfort-food meal made gluten free! So many colors and textures makes it delightfully appealing to multiple senses.
My baked Chicken Feta Pasta, ready in about 45 minutes, is a simple fulfilling recipe you can plan for most family weeknight dinners. And leftovers are definitely a treat!
So Wait – Is Feta Gluten Free?
Yes, let’s clear that up! Like most cheeses, feta cheese is free from gluten and is safe for our gluten-free friends!!
However, like most foods, it is still important to carefully read food labels before consuming it.
On rare occasions, cheese in general may contain modified food starch that could be sourced from wheat.
And in cases where cheese itself is indeed gluten free, cheese could be produced, packaged, or sliced on equipment also used to process gluten-containing foods (during manufacturing or at the grocery store).
Just please check – better safe than sick and sorry!
What Do I Need to Make Chicken Feta Pasta & Make it Gluten Free?
For complete step-by-step instructions to make creamy baked feta pasta with chicken gluten free, see the recipe card below.👇
I’ve compiled a list of the ingredients and kitchen tools you’ll need to make this balanced meal.
Ingredients in Gluten Free Chicken Feta Pasta
Hey! Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you from making this dish. It is incredibly SIMPLE to make and just SO GOOD! Just slice, toss, and bake! And boil some pasta!
- Chicken Breast – Here we use boneless, skinless breast for a great lean protein source. Cut it into thick slices fit for marinating and easy tossing.
- Marinated & Quartered Artichokes Hearts – Use the whole jar and nothing is wasted.
- Drain and collect the savory spiced briny oil blend to marinate the chicken.
- The artichoke hearts add a tender bite of slightly nutty earthy sweetness that marries well with the rest of the mediterranean-inspired ingredients.
- Carrots, Mushrooms, and Bell Peppers – Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, these non-starchy veggies add colorful texture and lightens, balances, and elevates this pasta meal.
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes – You really can’t go without this ingredient that is central to the simple original base recipe made popular on TikTok.
- Once these red globes are baked, they soften and melt into a juicy burst of sweet acidity that thins the creamy feta into a velvety sauce to coat this packed pasta.
- Olive Oil, Fresh Garlic, and Mediterranean Seasonings – Healthy fats, pungent aromatics and a punch of earthy spiced citrus combine to coat and enliven the baked chicken and vegetables.
- Greek Feta Cheese – The other showy ingredient of necessity that adds salty tangy creaminess! Find a block of “Greek” feta packed in brine vs. crumbled varieties to make this dish creamy.
- Don’t miss out! Jump to the following heading to learn more: Why All the Fuss About GREEK Sheep’s Milk Feta? 🐑
- Gluten free Pasta – Springy gluten free fusilli or rotini pasta has all the grooves to trap all the tangy flavors in this delightful dish. These shorter noodles are easier to fork with the chicken and vegetables, too!
My favorite gluten free pastas for this dish:
1. From Aldi: liveGfree Gluten Free Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli, found at Aldi Grocery Stores
2. Barilla Gluten Free Rotini, which can be found at most grocery store chains and online
- Pasta Water – (not pictured above) This starchy water scooped out before draining the pasta adds a velvety touch and helps the baked tomato-feta sauce stick to the pasta.
- NOTE: Be sure to chill some of this gold to loosen up creamy leftovers later!
- Fresh Basil – I just adore fresh basil. 😻 Seriously. It layers on a punch of subtle peppery sweetness, smells of slight citrus and spice, and adds beautiful green color (my favorite!) to this dish.
- Thinly slice basil into ribbons, or a chiffonade (read how👇below), making sure to cut extra for garnish!
- Romano or Parmesan Cheese – Just enough to garnish, freshly grated white cheese tacks on a pretty touch with a slightly sharp creamy edge.
How to Quickly Create Basil Chiffonade
As described by my friend, The Dietitian Editor, the French cooking term, chiffonade, is a “technique used to cut herbs or leafy green vegetables (including basil, sage, mint, spinach, and lettuce) into long thin strips.”
All you need is a cutting board and a sharp non-serrated knife…and some fresh clean basil, of course!
Simply just stack, roll, thinly slice, and separate basil for a chiffonade!
- Stack basil leaves into a pile or two (it can be a little messy)
- Starting from one side of the pile, roll the leaves away from you (as if you were rolling up wrapping paper)
- Using a sharp non-serrated knife, thinly slice the rolled pile of basil
- Using your fingers, gently separate the roll into a lovely bright green pile of basil ribbons
It’s a snap! Basil chiffonade all ready for gluten free Chicken Feta Pasta!
Equipment Used for Baked Chicken Feta Pasta
- 9×13-inch Baking Dish – the oven-safe dish where all the magic occurs for this (nearly) one-dish meal, baking all the textures and Mediterranean flavors together
- Long-handled Spoon – to combine and toss ingredients during the cooking process and to serve
- 8-quart Stockpot – to cook the gluten free pasta
- Large Colander – to drain the gluten free pasta
Why All the Fuss About GREEK Sheep’s Milk Feta?
First of all, did you know that there is a variety of feta cheeses we can find in the United States that comes from the milk of different animals?
Feta cheese can be sourced from different countries as well…at least in America that is. As such, not all feta is created equal!
In the United States, feta can be made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or a combination of any of the three. Common brands available in America are often sourced from America itself, but also from Bulgaria, France, Turkey, or Greece, among others.
Feta made from the milk of different animals nourished on different feeds and grazed upon dissimilar pastures in diverse areas of the world will produce diverse tastes and textures for cheese lovers to enjoy.
However: did you know…?
Greek feta cheese is recognized as the only true feta in Europe under European Law.
Because feta is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product under EU law, true feta sold in Europe can only come from Greece 🇬🇷, and it must contain at least 70% sheep’s milk.
“Feta” sourced from other places sold in Europe must be called “feta-style” or just called “white cheese.”
In America, it all can be called feta. But as I already mentioned, not all “feta” is the same.
Sheep Milk Feta from Greece – Use it for Creamy Pasta
As you may know, feta cheese is a staple in the Greek diet. In fact, Greeks consume more feta than any other European country. They eat feta day in and day out; it is almost always present at every meal. It’s a source of protein rooted in their history, and they “know” their feta!
In fact, are you familiar with Homer’s Odyssey?
It is believed that the Greek poet, Homer, penned the first account of the making of feta cheese in The Odyssey, thought to be written near the end of the 8th century BC. 😲
In the book, he describes in detail the wonderful accidental fate of milk collected from sheep and goats curdling into a white solid form and stored in brine in a cave.
Though the white hunk was not named “feta” by Homer, the basic method of curdling sheep’s milk until firm enough to slice and then cover in brine to produce this classic salty rich cheese is still in use today.
The Characteristics of Greek Feta Cheese & Why You Should Fuss With It
Because some Greek feta may contain up to 30% goat’s milk, the character of feta cheese will differ in both texture and flavor from manufacturer to manufacturer. It depends on whether goat’s milk was used to make the feta AND how much was used.
The amount of time the feta is aged and in which vessel it is brined can affect the texture, too. Feta can be exceptionally creamy or crumbly.
The character of Greek feta cheese made with 100% sheep’s milk is creamy and rich, while Greek feta made with part goat’s milk is often drier and may crumble more readily.
- And then there is the variety you can buy not packed in brine that is already crumbled. That cheese is NOT Greek feta and is almost always made from cow’s milk. It will NOT melt into a rich creamy sauce like Greek feta will.
- Some people complain that feta can be crumbly, even chalky 😧 or grainy when they try to “melt” it. And that may indeed be the result if you try to bake feta cheese that is not labeled “Greek!”
The more sheep’s milk used in the making of feta, the creamier the cheese becomes.
And that’s why Greek sheep’s milk feta is perfect for this creamy baked Chicken Feta Pasta made gluten free!
What Does Feta Cheese Taste Like?
The taste of feta depends again on the animal source of the milk and where it came from. But for the most part, feta isn’t mild…it has a stronger personality.
Greek Feta packed in brine is typically rich, tangy, buttery and creamy. It can be almost lemony and it just tastes fresh!
Longer aging in brine intensifies those characteristics and can also result in a bit of a peppery bite.
Both sheep and goats thrive in Mediterranean conditions and its terrain where they can dine on hundreds of different herbs and wild plants. What they eat greatly affects the flavor of their milk used in the making of Greek feta cheese, thus giving it a fresh unique flavor all of its own.
The taste of Greek feta cheese is just divine!
Greek Feta Cheese Brands Available in the U.S.
Let it be known that the following list of real Greek feta cheese brands is NOT exhaustive.
Some may be made from just sheep milk and others may be a combination of both sheep milk and goat milk. But all meet the rigorous standards of real PDO Greek feta cheese. 😄
- Dodoni – a favorite among Greeks and Americans alike, this Greek feta made with 100% sheep’s milk, is my choice for Chicken Feta Pasta. It’s available at Costco and is inexpensive
- Mt. Vikos – sold in national grocery stores and on Amazon
- Real Greek Feta – available on Amazon and in national grocery store chains
- Greco – distributed by Karoun Dairies and available in national grocery store chains
- Roussas – sold in national grocery store chains and online on Amazon
- Trader Joe’s – this fun grocery chain has been known to sell PDO Authentic Greek Feta in brine under their own name, but it is not always available as products are rotated in and out of stores
How To Make Chicken Feta Pasta & Make it Gluten Free?
NOTE: The following process text and image does not show the very first step of marinating the chicken breast.
- In a 9×13-inch baking dish, toss sliced carrots and mushrooms with oil and seasoning and bake.
- Remove baked veggies from baking dish and set aside. Place marinated chicken and artichoke hearts in the hot dish.
- Add tomatoes and peppers and sprinkle with garlic and remaining seasonings, tossing well to combine. Spread mixture into an even layer.
- Create a well in the center of the dish and nestle in the brick of feta cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the whole dish and bake.
- (Not pictured) Heat water in a large stock pot on the stove to cook the gluten free pasta to al denté. Drain pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water.
- Remove hot baked feta, chicken, and veggies from the oven.
- Distribute carrots and mushrooms across the dish and bake just a bit longer. Remove from oven; stir to combine the hot softened feta into the baked chicken and vegetables.
- Gently stir the hot pasta and basil ribbons into the dish with ½ cup or more of the reserved pasta water.
- Garnish hot creamy baked chicken feta pasta with additional basil ribbons and freshly grated romano cheese to serve.
NOTE: The numbered steps above correspond to the numbered Chicken Feta Pasta process pictures shown below.
Gluten Free Feta Pasta – My Essential Tips for Success
- Use Greek Feta Cheese Packed in Brine. I prefer to use 100% sheep’s milk feta.
- Jump to the following section above to learn more: Sheep Milk Feta from Greece – Use it for Creamy Pasta
- Use FRESH Basil. It’s aromatic summer-fresh taste is so pleasant in Chicken Feta Pasta.
- It’s more mellow than dried basil and is just so beautiful.
- Dried basil has much more concentrated flavor, tastes more grassy and is less sweet than fresh. Some of basil’s natural minty undertones become more prominent when dried (and do not pair well with some pasta dishes) while the rich anise flavors become less noticeable.
- See Recipe FAQ below for fresh basil substitution recommendations.
- Take Care to Not Overcook the Chicken.
- Slice chicken into big enough strips that it won’t overcook.
- Use a quick-read thermometer and cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Do Not Overcook Pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions until “al denté,” which means tender, but firm to the bite.
- Place pasta in boiling water, stir, and let it come back to a boil.
- THEN, set a timer for lowest cooking time per package directions, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
- CHECK for al denté pasta by TASTING it for that “firm to the bite” texture and remove from heat.
- Reserve Pasta Water. This is much more than just plain water. It has starch in it from the pasta!
- Scoop a cup out of the pot of pasta before draining it.
- The starch content helps the baked tomato-feta sauce stick to the pasta. It also helps to relax the feta and adds flavor and a velvety touch to the whole dish.
- Be sure to chill some of this gold to loosen up creamy leftovers, too!
The Nutrition Benefits of Chicken Feta Pasta
Lean white meat chicken, a host of fresh colorful vegetables, calcium-rich cheese, and whole grain gluten free pasta – what more can you ask for?
When you have four of the five food groups and whole foods all present in one dish (let alone one meal), you are providing a BALANCED MEAL that promotes health! 🙌🏼 And you can feel GOOD about that!
The current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans asks the public to “make every bite count!”
What does that mean?
When we think about just what to eat, we should put the focus on “choosing healthy foods and beverages rich in nutrients” while staying within a calorie limit that promotes a healthy weight.
Following this thought process more consistently as you plan meals and snacks can help you and your family develop a healthy pattern of eating that is crucial from birth into late life.
In addition, eating my recipe for Chicken Feta Pasta helps you meet the USDA recommended daily intake of vegetables, which differs by both age and gender.
- Adults need: 2 ½ cups – 3 ½ cups of veggies per day
- Children need: as little as ⅔ cup veggies per day (for toddlers) to as much as 3 – 4 cups of veggies per day (for 18-year-old girls and boys respectively)
Plus, as mentioned in my Gluten Free Tomato Soup recipe, the antioxidant lycopene is unleashed when fresh tomatoes are cooked.
Lycopene is a powerful phytochemical carotenoid that becomes more bioavailable when the tomatoes are cooked down in Chicken Feta Pasta so your body can work with it.
Diets rich in antioxidants puts your body in prime position to better fight unstable molecules called free radicals, which can build up through normal body processes. Those free radicals can cause oxidative stress, increasing your risk for chronic disease.
It’s easy to see why it’s important to choose these antioxidant-rich foods:
- These foods help to reduce your risk for developing chronic disease, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. ♡
Each Serving of Baked Chicken Feta Pasta Made Gluten Free Provides:
- 413 calories and 6 grams of fiber
- 29 grams of protein and 39 g of carbohydrate
- 15 grams total fat 7 grams as saturated fat
- 590 mg of sodium*
- 6593 IU of vitamin A, which is nearly 220% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for men and 283% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for women. WOWSERS!
- 290 mg of calcium, which is not only important for strong bones and teeth, but also for blood vessel health, muscle movement, nerve function, and the release of hormones
- 905 mg potassium, so important for heart health!
*NOTE: If higher amounts of dietary sodium is of concern for you, rinse feta under cold running water for 30 seconds and place it into a bowl big enough to submerge it completely. Cover with cold water and chill for about an hour. Remove from water, rinse, and use as directed in the recipe.
- Rinsing and soaking feta will help to reduce the sodium content of feta and the entire dish, but to what extent is not known without laboratory testing.
Recipe FAQ for Baked Feta Pasta with Chicken
Yes! Turkey tenderloins, firm fish like tilapia, or XL shrimp and/or sea scallops all could serve as great alternative protein sources in this dish.
Bake times will vary, so use caution to prevent overcooking of fish or seafood substitutions!
-In a pinch you could use pre-cooked chicken of any sort. Skip the marinating and toss it in after the initial 25-minute bake when the pre-roasted carrots and mushrooms are added near the end.
You Sure Can.
-I would consider substituting even amounts of fresh green beans, broccoli, and/or cauliflower for the mushrooms and carrots. Pre-roast them and add them back in near the end as directed in the recipe.
-Large-cut zucchini or yellow squash could join the feta pasta party, too. Due to squash’s higher water content, more water will leach out into the dish, so you may not need to add as much pasta water as mentioned in the recipe.
-Stirring in fresh spinach near the end of the initial bake would be a tasty swap, too!
-KEEP THE TOMATOES please: they add a touch of sweetness and tons of flavor as they cook down to become part of the sauce.
-Don’t have fresh cherry or grape tomatoes? You could substitute 1-2 (14.5 oz) cans of whole roma tomatoes or diced tomatoes, but drain them maybe a little first.
If you don’t think you can give it go, you can leave out 😿 the artichokes.
The simple recipe below could serve as the chicken marinade for this recipe:
2-3 tablespoons each olive oil and apple cider vinegar
½ tsp of Mediterranean Seasonings Blend
¼ tsp salt
Pinch ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk the five ingredients above to combine. Pour over sliced chicken, chill, and marinate as directed in the recipe below.
No, Not in This Recipe! Feta cheese is a saltier cheese.
Feta coupled with the complex flavors from marinated artichoke hearts and the Mediterranean Seasonings Blend along with all the other ingredients provides MORE than enough flavor.
Plus – we garnish with parmesan or Romano cheese just before serving, so that adds a salty-creamy edge. No need to add salt here!
How sad! I know it can be hard to find fresh basil during colder months.
In general, it is recommended to use just one-third of the amount of dried herbs when substituting it for fresh. BUT that would mean ¼ cup of dried basil for this dish, which would be WAY TO MUCH.
-If you must, you can replace the fresh basil in this recipe with 2-3 teaspoons of dried basil. More dried basil than 3 teaspoons could be overpowering and could make the dish taste too grassy and minty.
-Alternatively, I would be more inclined to stir in 1-2 Tbsp of basil pesto if I could not conjure up fresh basil. Basil pesto is made to retain the natural bright basil flavors we love in fresh basil!
1. Be sure to use Greek feta cheese in brine for creamy results.
-Non-greek feta in brine and purchased pre-crumbled feta is not the same and will not soften into a creamy sauce; it will likely result in a more “grainy” texture.
2. Reserve pasta water to thin the baked tomato-feta mixture into a velvety sauce.
3. Check bake times: it will take about 30 minutes to soften the Greek feta so it can be stirred into a sauce.
For more complete information for your recipe success, refer to the above headings: “The Characteristics of Greek Feta Cheese & Why You Should Fuss With It” and “Gluten Free Feta Pasta – My Essential Tips for Success.”
NO! It may have a place in a future meal!
-This tangy, salty brine could be used to marinate chicken or turkey or it could serve as the salty component in a flavorful dressing or sauce.
-In your next stovetop dish, adding just a couple splashes near the end of cooking time could be the secret ingredient to make your meal pop!
Cover and Refrigerate or Freeze. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days. OR, cover and freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3-4 months.
Reheat in the Microwave.
-Remove cover and add a bit of leftover pasta water, chicken stock, or milk to help loosen the pasta as it heats.
-Loosely cover and heat on 70% power for 1-2 minutes.
-Stir, adding more liquid as desired, loosely cover again, and heat on high 1-2 additional minutes until steaming and heated through.
-Since this pasta dish is complete with four food groups, why not finish the meal by serving fresh seasonal fruit for dessert! 😁 Serve with berries or grapes (or a combination of the two), your favorite apple variety sliced up, or perhaps good ol’ bananas!
-For drinks, we enjoy Baked Feta Pasta with a glass of dry or off-dry rosé wine. Chardonnay would pair nicely as well.
Drinking water with lemon, sparkling water, or low-fat milk with this dish would be satisfying, too!
Chicken Feta Pasta (Make it Gluten Free!)
- 2 large carrots sliced into 1/4"-thick coins (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 4 oz whole small white mushrooms or large thick-sliced mushrooms
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 tsp Low-Sodium Mediterranean Seasonings Blend divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast sliced into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 12 oz jar marinated artichokes, quartered hearts marinade reserved
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 medium cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes check for gluten free*
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika check for gluten free*
- 7-8 oz brick Greek feta cheese block packed in brine, not crumbled*
- 8 oz gluten free fusilli or rotini pasta
- 1 cup reserved gluten free pasta water
- 3/4 cup, packed fresh basil chiffonade * plus more to garnish
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano or parmesan cheese to garnish
- Marinate Chicken: place sliced chicken into a dish large enough for pieces to lay snug in a single layer to marinate. Drain marinade from the jar of marinated artichoke hearts over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and place chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- When the chicken is nearly done marinating, preheat oven to 400. Place sliced carrots and mushrooms in 9×13-inch baking dish and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon Mediterranean Seasonings Blend. Toss to combine, spread to an even layer and bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
- Remove hot dish from the oven and transfer cooked carrots and mushrooms to a plate; set aside.
- To the hot dish, add marinated chicken (discard marinade), artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and chopped peppers. Sprinkle with minced garlic, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Mediterranean Seasonings blend, crushed red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika. Toss well to combine and spread out to an even layer.
- Create a well in the center and nestle in the block of feta cheese. Drizzle the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over the whole dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove dish from oven and distribute carrots and mushrooms across the dish. Bake an additional 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large 8-quart pot of water to a boil. Cook gluten free pasta to al denté according to manufacturer’s directions, testing pasta a minute or two to prevent overcooking. Remove pot from heat and carefully transfer 1 cup of pasta water to a liquid measuring cup to use in step 7 below (you may not need all of it). Drain pasta.
- Remove baking dish from the oven and stir the soft baked feta into the chicken and vegetables with large clean serving spoon. Toss the hot pasta into the dish and pour about ½ cup of reserved pasta water over the pasta. Top with basil ribbons and gently toss the pasta into the feta-covered chicken and vegetables to coat. Add more pasta water as needed to desired consistency and/or chill for use in leftovers. Garnish with more basil ribbons and grated romano cheese to serve. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
Your Own Notes
Savor this complete gluten free hot meal! When you make this easy Feta Pasta Chicken recipe, please consider leaving a recipe rating and comment below! 😊
Try My Other Gluten Free Main Dish Recipes!
Easy Furikake Salmon – Gluten Free
Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
Don’t forget to pin this post to save for later AND to share with others!
Tell me: What other pasta recipes are you looking for?