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Saffron Pasta with Chicken, Eggplant, and Bell Pepper

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

This post contains affiliate links through Amazon and Try the World. I received complementary product from Try the World for this post, but all opinions are my own!



Some of my favorite meals in the whole world are the ones that come together in half an hour using ingredients I just brought home from the farmer’s market.

In a hurry?  Jump to the recipe! 

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

I love knowing everything in the dish is freshly picked, and supporting local businesses is important to me. 

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

On the other hand, I have a weakness for globally sourced artisan ingredients like specialty olive oils. 

This dish accomplishes both – it’s a simple recipe that lets each fresh, local ingredient shine through, all tossed in a fragrant Chilean olive oil and imported seasoning salt. 

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

That’s where Try the World comes in. 

A subscription to Try the World gets you a box of gourmet goodies from a different country each month. They frequently include a small bottle of olive oil, which I personally adore. They are so much more flavorful than storebought olive oils, and they’re all different!

The one they sent from Spain had sort of a spicy undertone, where this Chilean olive oil is fragrant, smooth, and buttery, with an almost floral undertone, and still just the most subtle spiciness. I think it’s my favorite one yet! I’m glad they sent such a nicely-sized bottle. And it was perfect for pairing with the saffron pasta I got at the farmer’s market!

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

If you don’t have fresh saffron pasta readily available near you, never fear! Here are a few options, in order of preference.

  • Make some fresh saffron pasta yourself.
  • Order some dried saffron pasta from Amazon. Isn’t the Internet grand?
  • Use regular fettuccine or linguini, but crumble a pinch of saffron threads into either your pasta water as you cook your noodles, or in with your veggies as you sauté them. 
  • I just discovered the coolest, craziest product: Saffron spray! Instead of using saffron threads in your recipes, you can just spray it on! It’s just made with saffron and water, so it just saves you the potentially time-consuming step of steeping saffron threads in water.  
  • Don’t have saffron but still want that lovely yellow color? Add a bit of turmeric into your pasta water.
  • Use plain ol’ pasta. It’s still a delightful dish!

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

The other ingredient I’ve been obsessed with since I got it in my Chile box is this Pebre sea salt. It’s a sea salt blended with garlic, ground coriander seed, chopped onion, and spicy aji peppers. And it’s such a great flavor it now inhabits my salt grinder for use on EVERYTHING.

I loved it in this pasta but I’ve also made this dish just as well with locally made seasoned sea salt blends. As much as I love Lawry’s seasoning salt, I would not use it in this dish. I’d just augment some regular sea salt or kosher salt with garlic powder, ground coriander seed, onion powder, and red pepper flakes and it will be OH SO TASTY.

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

Besides everything else I’ve mentioned, I also love this recipe because it gives eggplant a time to shine. Growing up I always had eggplant breaded, baked, and smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella. Delicious? Yes! But all the cheese and sauce does tend to overwhelm the subtlety of the eggplant itself.

Not so with this recipe!

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

Every ingredient — from the fresh saffron pasta to the high quality olive oil to the pine nuts to the eggplant — has a chance to be fully present and fully itself, not weighed down by any heavy sauces or flavors that overwhelm the entire dish.

It’s a very flexible recipe though – you could switch out the veggies for your favorites or whatever is available at the farmer’s market, and you can sub the chicken for shrimp or leave it off entirely. We usually like to have a bit of meat with dinner but you really don’t need it in this dish, especially since eggplant has a heartiness that makes it a good substitute for meat.

Whatever you use, I think you’ll really enjoy it!

If you’re interested in Try the World, you can get a free box when you subscribe! It’s always fun to see what comes in the mail!


Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

Saffron Pasta with Chicken, Eggplant, and Bell Pepper

Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Caroline Lindsey

Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!

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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut bell peppers into curved slices about 1-2 inches long. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch slices and then into 1/2-inch by 1 1/2-inch pieces (see photo). 

    Saffron pasta with eggplant, chicken, bell pepper, and pine nuts may look fancy, but it comes together very easily for a simple weeknight dinner!
  2. Preheat sauté pan to medium high. Coat chicken breast with 1 tbsp olive oil and season both sides with seasoned sea salt, about 1/4-1/2 tsp. Cook for 7 minutes per side or until cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes and then slice.

  3. While chicken is resting, add 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan and sauté vegetables over medium high heat 5-7 minutes or until softened. Season with 1/2-1 tsp seasoned sea salt.

  4. Add pine nuts and cook until just toasted, about a minute.

  5. Meanwhile, cook saffron pasta until al dente. Add pasta to the sauté pan with the veggies. Add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and toss until well combined. Add seasoned sea salt to taste.

  6. Serve pasta topped with vegetables and chicken slices. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top, if desired.

Recipe Notes

If you don't have fresh saffron pasta:

  • Make some fresh saffron pasta yourself.
  • Order some dried saffron pasta from Amazon.
  • Use regular fettuccine or linguini, but crumble a pinch of saffron threads into either your pasta water as you cook your noodles, or in with your veggies as you sauté them. 
  • Use saffron spray on regular linguini or fettuccine.  
  • Add a bit of turmeric into your pasta water for regular linguini or fettuccine - you'll have a slightly different flavor but you'll get that nice yellow color.
  • Use plain linguini or fettuccine.

If you don't have seasoned sea salt, make your own with:

  • 1 tbsp sea salt or kosher salt
  •  1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

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