Main dish

Southwestern one-pot pasta with chicken and black beans

Southwester one pot pasta with chicken and black beans DSC8002

A year or so ago, everyone was talking about a pasta recipe in which you toss tomatoes, garlic, basil, and linguine into a pot, add some water, bring it to a boil and then after 10 minutes or so, you have dinner.

Now, I’m not much of a pasta person (unless it’s macaroni and cheese or chicken spaghetti, a dish I included in my second book), so whenever I heard people discussing this dish, I just ignored the chatter. That’s not for me, I would say to myself, since I believed I wasn’t a pasta person and all.

Recently, however, something changed my mind. Early September is strange and even though we are trained to think that it’s fall, technically it’s still summer. There are record heat waves happening across the country and in short, it’s hot. While the media may say it’s time for corduroy jackets and hot mugs of pumpkin-flavored something, this is not reality. Wispy clothing and iced beverages are still the order of the day.

Southwester one-pot pasta with chicken and black beans | Homesick Texan

That said, we have to eat. Likewise, tomatoes are still going strong at the farmers market, though by this point in the year I’m tired of making salads and salsa with my bounty. When I was looking at my haul a few days ago and trying to figure out what to do with them, I remembered that pasta recipe and decided perhaps it was time to give it a try.

The original recipe, as I mentioned, calls for tomatoes, onion, and garlic. I did include these, but veered from the traditional script in a few ways. First, I cooked the onion and garlic in a little oil before adding the rest of the ingredients and I added some jalapeños for heat, as well.

I didn’t have basil on hand, but I did have bunches of fresh cilantro so I decided to give my dish a Southwestern flavor profile, including cumin, cayenne, and a squirt of lime juice for good measure. Because I like protein with my pasta, I threw in some cooked black beans and leftover chicken. Though if you prefer not to add protein, the pasta was certainly delicious on its own. Finally, I topped each bowl with queso fresco and more cilantro—a fine finishing touch.

Since I had made so many changes, I was dubious about how the recipe would turn out but I shouldn’t have worried. It was excellent. The pasta took little time to make (not having to wait for water to boil and then for the pasta to cook was a real boon) and even though it wasn’t saucy, the tomatoes and other vegetables cooked down to the point that they almost blended into the pasta, giving it a flavor that was rich and deep. Indeed, there was a reason so many people had used this technique.

Southwester one-pot pasta with chicken and black beans | Homesick Texan

This Southwestern one-pot pasta is terrific for an easy supper and more than likely you have all of the ingredients on hand. It also makes for good leftovers—either warm or cold. While I haven’t done that much experimenting with the basic recipe yet, I suspect it’s very lenient and I look forward to trying it with other ingredients, such as squash, corn, and shrimp. And if you think that you’re not a pasta person, this quick and adaptable recipe may just change your mind. It has certainly changed mine.

Southwester one pot pasta with chicken and black beans DSC8002
5 from 2 votes

Southwestern one-pot pasta with chicken and black beans

Servings 4
Author Adapted by Lisa Fain from a Martha Stewart recipe


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing
  • 8 ounces linguine, broken in half
  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 15-ounce can or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta for serving


  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the oil on medium-low. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook until fragrant and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

  2. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the cilantro, linguine, 5 cups of water, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Turn the heat up to high and while occasionally stirring, cook until the pasta is softened to your liking and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10-12 minutes. Please note that towards the end of cooking, you should stir more often to keep the pasta from sticking to the pot. And depending on how juicy your tomatoes are, if you find that most of the liquid has evaporated but the pasta is undercooked, you may need to add the additional 1/2 cup of water.

  3. Stir in the black beans, chicken, and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if needed. Serve warm topped with queso fresco and cilantro.

  1. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I love pasta but I also hadn't given this a try when it was going around because it looked a little weird to me. If you say it's ok though I'll make it. You haven't steered me wrong yet!

  2. Lisa Fain

    Rocky Mountain Woman–I was surprised myself!

  3. Kim Grey

    I love one pot recipes. This one looks fabulous! I've been making the one you mentioned, with tomatoes and basil, for a few years. Your recipe takes it to another level. Can't wait to try it!

  4. Lisa Fain

    Kim–And now I need to try the basil one!

  5. TexasDeb

    I just finished using all my jalapeños making a new batch of your bread and butter pickles (from that post years ago about potato salad). I'm too stubborn to pay for what I can grow, so I'll wait for more, but I have a feeling this will taste good no matter what the season.

    Do you use Rancho Gordo beans? We're total converts here. Your recipes deserve no less!

  6. anotherfoodieblogger

    I haven't done the Italian "One-Pot-Wonder" meal yet, but last year (at about this same time-frame) I cooked my own variation with a spicy kick while I was living temporarily in a one-bedroom second-floor condo with my hubby and daughter and a dog.

  7. Lisa Fain

    anotherfoodieblogger–Thank you for sharing! I like your take on food!

  8. Lisa Fain

    TexasDeb–Yes, I think if you use cherry tomatoes it will still be good when it's colder outside. And I love Rancho Gordo beans! Do you get the newsletter? It always has so many great bean recipes.

  9. I always was afraid cooking everything in one pot would end up with watery pasta, but will definitely try this one….I like the idea of cherry tomatoes….and the extra spice! Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Lisa Fain

    Laura–That was a concern of mine, too! Fortunately, this one has just the right amount.

  11. I tried the original recipe shortly after it was published. A few minutes before it was supposed to be done cooking I was sure it would be a failure because it seemed that there was still too much liquid in the pan. But amazingly by the time the cooking time had expired, it was perfect.

  12. Lisa Fain

    Sally–It's great how it all works out in the end!

  13. thejameskitchen

    Lisa, you tempt me to change tonights (Sunday) dinner plans, alas, impossible. I can hardly wait to make those tomorrow!
    Nicole, a fellow former doubter of the pasta recipe.

  14. Lisa Fain

    Nicole–Hope you enjoy it!

  15. Anonymous

    We certainly enjoyed this dish (without the chicken). It used several veggies from the garden and was perfect for our Sunday evening meal. The leftovers are also good as the bit of water left when we did the first serving was absorbed as the food cooled down. Definitely will put this on our comfort food list.
    Thanks for all the great recipes.

  16. Lisa Fain

    Carol–So glad y'all enjoyed it!

  17. sounds like the fideo my mom makes, not the soupy kind but like this recipe using vermicelli, total comfort food and my all time favorite
    becky in texas

  18. observer

    The recipe does not list the amount or kind of oil. That won't stop me from making it tonight, but you might want to fix it.

  19. Lisa Fain

    Becky–It's very similar to fideo, now that you mention it!


  20. Walter Underwood

    Tasty, but when it says "high", that means biggest burner scary high. It took me 20 minutes because I was uncharacteristically timid with the heat.


  21. Anonymous

    Lisa, Thank you for the recipe and the how to’s. Was just eating a bowl of Ratatouille I made in much the same way (but put in pasta too late!). I love watching Pepin make Ratatouille. He would talk about his Mom making it with whatever was in the summer garden. And can get almost one’s 5 a day veggies in one bowl. Next time I’m trying your ideas for a TexMex version!! All the best. Lulu

  22. Lisa… Did your pasta turn out soupy as in lots of liquid or did most of it absorb into the pasta? I ask bc ours was like soup so we certainly used a strainer to serve it. If it's not intended to be soupy, what method can we use to thicken it up. Thanks.

    Keith F.

  23. Lisa Fain

    Keith–It shouldn't be soupy. Perhaps your tomatoes were extra juicy, though I don't have enough information to tell you what happened to your particular pot. In the future, I'd either continue to cook until the liquid was almost gone or add less liquid in the beginning.

  24. Keith Freitag

    Lisa – I certainly enjoyed it so we will make it again and I'll notate to use maybe 4 cups of water and see if it's less soupy. Thanks again..

    Keith F.

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