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Have you heard of this viral baked feta pasta yet? It’s an incredibly delicious and astoundingly easy recipe—bake cherry tomatoes and feta in the oven, stir it up to make a sauce, and toss it over pasta. I believe this recipe was created by Jenni Hayrinen, a Finnish food blogger, but then it blew up on TikTok. I had to see if it was worth the hype and the answer is: BIG YES. It is so freaking good. I know some people are getting tired of this trend but honestly I do not know how you can get tired of creamy salty tomatoey pasta!? Since it’s so viral right now, I wanted to make my own version and started brainstorming how I could change it up.
Enter this Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs recipe, one of my all-time favorite recipes by Bon Appétit. It already features feta and cherry tomatoes, but adds in the perfectly spicy harissa with soft & tender chicken meatballs and protein-packed chickpeas. HIGHLY recommend! I thought—why not combine these two recipes and make a baby? A very delicious pasta baby. This is how my version of the baked feta pasta was born. We’re using chicken breast chunks instead of making meatballs and adding chickpeas, harissa, and parsley to mimic the flavors of the Bon Appétit recipe. This recipe is almost as easy as the original baked feta pasta, you just have the extra step of taking out the chicken halfway through and chopping it. Not too bad!
Are you familiar with harissa? I think the first time I cooked with it was to make that Bon Appétit recipe. It’s still a little bit hard to find so I have only ever tried two different brands, and they varied greatly in texture and flavor. This is why it’s important to taste your harissa so you know how spicy it is! Harissa is a Tunisian paste or sauce made from different kinds of dried or roasted chile peppers, garlic, oil, and spices. Some harissas are chunky and some are more saucey. Some are VERY spicy and some are mild. I like the brand Mina, which I’ve found at several grocery stores. Even the “spicy” version of it is not very spicy. If the kind you pick up ends up being too spicy for you, use less and add a little olive oil.
I try not to eat too much pasta but I like this recipe because I feel like the fresh roasted tomatoes, lean chicken breast, and protein-packed chickpeas balance out the carby pasta and salty cheese. I hope you like my variation of this viral pasta! Let me know what you think in the comments!Print
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 15 oz chickpeas
- ¾ cup harissa
- 16 ounces block feta cheese
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 lb pasta of your choice
- Preheat oven to 400° and set rack in the middle.
- On a large rimmed baking sheet, add cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, chicken breast, chickpeas, and harissa and toss. Place the 2 blocks of feta in the middle of the baking sheet.
- Bake for 30–35 minutes, then remove chicken and check for doneness (165°) with a cooking thermometer. Remove chicken and return baking sheet to oven for 30 more minutes. Let chicken cool slightly and chop into chunks.
- Meanwhile, boil heavily salted water for pasta. Make pasta according to box directions, reserving at least 1 cup pasta liquid. Drain pasta and return to pot.
- When most tomatoes are burst and feta is browned on top, carefully mush the feta and stir everything up so tomatoes and chickpeas are covered in melted feta. Sprinkle fresh parsley over.
- Pour tomato/chickpea/feta mixture over pasta, adding chicken, and stir until all is combined. Add reserved pasta water bit by bit if you want it to be more saucy. (I usually add a whole cup of pasta water.) Enjoy!
- The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products that could help you make this recipe!
- I have found harissa in various places in the grocery store. Sometimes it’s in the international food section, sometimes it’s in the hot sauce section. Make sure to taste your harissa—if it’s super spicy, you might want to use less and add a little olive oil if needed. (I like the Mina brand—even the “spicy” one isn’t very spicy.)
- If you’re super worried about spice or can’t find harissa, a roasted red pepper sauce would be a good substitute.
- You could easily make this vegetarian by omitting the chicken.
- Not a fan of feta? Try subbing with goat cheese!
Keywords: feta, tiktok, pasta, tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken
You like a little kick? Try my Chicken & Farro Kale Salad with Garlicky Chile Vinaigrette next!