Chicken Tetrazzini with Kale and Sundried Tomatoes

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Create a hearty, warm, filling dish with fresh flavors in a thick cream sauce when you make this Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini with Kale and Sundried Tomatoes! It’s a rich and comforting casserole that combines shredded or cubed chicken (or any leftover meat) and spaghetti noodles with a mushroom cream sauce. Topped off with a layer of mozzarella and parmesan, it’s the perfect make-ahead dish that will wow your family at the dinner table. The best part? The pockets of bright acidic flavors from the sundried tomatoes and lemon zest!

A plate of creamy chicken pasta garnished with herbs, served with a dinner roll. A fork is lifting a bite of pasta and chicken.

The amount of food served around holidays always puts my household in a happy mood. But it also means figuring out what to do with all the leftovers! You can absolutely make a chicken or turkey pot pie, but one of my favorite ways to use up leftover meat is in this easy tetrazzini. Today, we’re using chicken, but you can use leftover turkey or even ham!

Close-up of a serving of baked cheesy pasta being lifted from a pot with a pasta fork, showing melted cheese and a garnish of fresh herbs.

🍲 What is tetrazzini?

Tetrazzini is usually prepared with turkey or chicken, a mushroom-cream sauce, and al dente pasta baked together. Sprinkle some cheese on top for the perfect bubbly and golden layer that melts into the pasta. Some versions have a bread crumb on top and some ingredients that bring brightness, such as green peas, spinach, or kale. We’re taking it up a notch.

Since there are many rich ingredients involved here, I like to brighten the dish up with lemon zest and sun-dried tomatoes. This is serious comfort food at its finest.

This recipe makes enough to feed 16 people, is done completely in one pot, and can be made completely gluten-free and dairy-free with just a few adjustments!

Looking for another one-pot meal that feeds a crowd? Check out my Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese!

🛒 Ingredients you’ll need for chicken tetrazzini

Make this chicken or turkey tetrazzini recipe when you’re feeling lazy, or when you need to use up leftovers! Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients in bowls on a light wood chevron table.
  • Spaghetti—For this casserole, we want al dente spaghetti, so start checking it 1-2 minutes before the recommended cooking time on the package. Also, do not rinse pasta after draining it. The leftover starches help the sauce stick to the pasta. Make sure to save some cooking water just in case you need to thin out the sauce. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free spaghetti.
  • Meat – This is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover turkey! Just shred it, then add it right in. If you don’t have turkey, use cooked chicken breasts, shredded or cubed. Leftover ham can also be used and would pair wonderfully with green peas as your vegetable of choice.
  • Roux – Since we’ll be making a blond roux, you can use butter (or vegan butter). If you’d prefer a lighter option, use a neutral-flavored vegetable oil. You will also need all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour) for the roux.
  • Mushrooms – Mushrooms are key for adding flavor to hearty dishes like this. Button, cremini, and portobello mushrooms are all perfect choices (fun fact: all three are the same mushroom, just different ages).
A ladle scoops a portion of cheesy baked spaghetti with tomatoes and herbs from a pot.
  • Onion—I use onion as a hearty, savory, and flavor-packed base for my tetrazzini, along with mushrooms. Nothing else goes together like mushroom and onion—except perhaps PB&J.
  • Garlic – Because everything needs garlic.
  • Chicken broth—You can choose to use chicken broth/stock, turkey broth/stock, or vegetable broth. Homemade or store-bought both work. Some recipes call for sherry or dry white wine to deglaze the pan first, but it’s completely up to you. We skipped it here.
  • Cream – You can use heavy cream, whole milk, or full-fat coconut milk to add a creamy thickness to the sauce. One cup will do, but you can add more to your liking.
  • Lemon zest – Since this dish is on the heavier side, I recommend adding lemon zest to brighten the flavors.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – Similar to the lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes add brightness and a hint of acidity.
  • Something Green – Add spinach or roughly chopped kale for a healthy dose of greens. Traditional Tetrazzini uses blanched peas. Keep in mind that the greens will cook down, so don’t skimp on the amount!
  • Salt, Pepper, and Oregano – To enhance the Italian flavors and add a little kick. Don’t forget to salt your pasta water! 
  • Cheeses – Mozzarella adds creaminess and a perfectly melted top layer while parmesan provides bursts of umami flavor. Use both for balance, or just one if that’s all you have on hand.

👩🏻‍🍳 How to make chicken tetrazzini

Now that you’ve gotten your ingredients out, it’s time to actually make your turkey tetrazzini! Check out this detailed collage and printable instructions if it’s your first time making it.

A six-step process of cooking a creamy pasta dish in a red pot: sautéing onions, adding broth and spices, adding cream, mixing in greens and chicken, stirring pasta, and the finished creamy pasta.
  1. First, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then salt it generously. Cook the spaghetti until al dente (there should still be a tiny white dot in the center of the pasta). Drain the noodles, then set them aside without rinsing. Be sure to reserve about 1 cup of pasta water in case you want to thin the sauce later.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat the butter or oil over medium. Cook the mushrooms for a few minutes, then add in the onions. Continue cooking until the onions are translucent.
  3. To keep things simple, just leave the mushrooms and onions in the pan and incorporate them into the roux (although you can remove them if you’d prefer). Add the salt, pepper, oregano, and minced garlic and cook for one minute, followed by the chopped sundried tomatoes.
  4. Sprinkle the flour in an even layer over the vegetables. Mix it with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula for about 2 minutes to remove the raw flour flavor.
  5. Slowly whisk in the chicken or turkey broth until no lumps remain, over medium heat until thickened. Add the cup of milk and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. You can add in some leftover pasta water if the sauce is too thick for your liking.
  6. Add the meat of choice, cooked pasta, greens, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Mix well.
  7. Top the spaghetti with the rest of the mozzarella, parmesan, and the zest from the lemon.
  8. Bake at 350F uncovered for about 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and begins to brown. Top with fresh parsley and serve with rolls.

You and your family are going to love this dinner! See the recipe card below for a quick printout of these instructions.

Equipment

Protein. Swap out the chicken for leftover turkey or ham. You can also try a seafood tetrazzini by making it with shrimp or prawns.

Vegetables. Use different vegetables like green peas, broccoli, corn, cauliflower, or carrots.

Crispy. Top the casserole with buttered breadcrumbs or panko for a contrast between crunchy and creamy.

A plate of pasta mixed with vegetables and sauce, garnished with herbs. A fork rests on the plate, and a roll of bread is beside the dish. In the background, there are potatoes and a red pot.

Pasta. There are so many other kinds of pasta you can add other than spaghetti. Try linguine, bucatini, or fettuccine. If there are any gluten allergies in the house, use your favorite gluten-free pasta brand.

Cooking water. It’s best to reserve some pasta cooking water just in case you need to thin out the sauce. Strain some into a bowl before fully draining the cooked pasta. 

🌡 How to store

Whether you’re making it from scratch or using leftovers, this Dutch oven tetrazzini makes great dinners during bust weeks. 

After baking, let the tetrazzini cool completely. Cover with your Dutch oven lid and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. Or, of course, in an airtight food storage dish. It’s just as easy to dish out from the Dutch oven to plates and reheat in the microwave.

A round casserole dish filled with baked cheese-covered pasta, garnished with parsley, sits on a wooden surface with a striped cloth in the background.

To freeze tetrazzini before baking it, make the recipe as you normally would, and store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before baking.

To reheat the entire Dutch oven of tetrazzini, cover the room temperature dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, or until warmed through. Keeping it covered will bring a little more moisture back into the dish, reviving its creaminess, without locking in a ton of steam as the Dutch oven cover would do.

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Close-up of a plate of chicken tetrazzini with kale and sundried tomatoes. Text highlights ingredients and promotes it as a one-pot meal with a link for the full recipe.

🍽 What to serve with

Make tetrazzini for a standalone meal, or serve it with dinner rolls or side salad. These are some of my other go-to options:

More recipes to enjoy

A ladle scoops a portion of cheesy baked spaghetti with tomatoes and herbs from a pot.

Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini with Kale and Sundried Tomatoes!

Create a hearty, warm, filling dish with a balance of fresh acidic flavors in a thick cream sauce when you make this Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini with Kale and Sundried Tomatoes!
Author: Paula
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Save To Your Recipe Box
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 16 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion small diced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms rough chop
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic clove minced
  • 4 ounces sundried tomatoes in oil oil drained and tomatoes chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 cups cooked chicken 2 chicken breasts shredded or chopped or turkey or ham
  • 2 cups kale roughly chopped
  • ¾ pound dried spaghetti pasta
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium lemon zested

Instructions

  • Bring a 6-quart Dutch oven to a boil with water salted generously. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the noodles, then set them aside without rinsing. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water for later if desired to thin the sauce.
    ¾ pound dried spaghetti pasta
  • Heat the butter or oil over medium. Cook the mushrooms for a few minutes, then add in the onions. Continue cooking until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
    3 Tablespoons butter, 1 medium yellow onion, 4 ounces mushrooms
  • Add the salt, pepper, oregano, and minced garlic and cook for one minute, followed by the chopped sundried tomatoes.
    2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 3 cloves garlic clove, 4 ounces sundried tomatoes in oil
  • Sprinkle the flour in an even layer over the vegetables. Mix it with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula for about 2 minutes to remove the raw flour flavor.
    3 Tablespoons flour
  • Slowly whisk in the broth until no lumps remain, over medium heat until thickened. Add the cup of heavy cream and allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Add in the leftover pasta water if the sauce is too thick for your liking.
    2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Add the meat of choice, cooked pasta, greens, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Mix well.
    3 cups cooked chicken, 2 cups kale, 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • Top the spaghetti with the rest of the mozzarella, parmesan, and the zest from the lemon. Bake at 350F uncovered for about 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and begins to brown. Top with fresh parsley and serve with rolls.
    1 cup parmesan cheese, 1 medium lemon

Nutrition

Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 505mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 799IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 1mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    My family loved this variation of classic chicken spaghetti. They were a little unsure of the sun-dried tomatoes, but liked them in the end. Very easy recipe for our busy school nights

5 from 1 vote

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Your email address will not be published. Have you tried this recipe? Consider giving it 5 stars!