Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale

Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon

I’m working with Target and few of their partner brands: Barilla®, NatureRaised Farms, and Select by Calphalon™, to bring you this recipe today. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Fork Knife Swoon!

While it may not officially be Autumn for a few more weeks, there’s been a definite nip in the air these last few mornings, our Summer garden is winding down, and the maples are becoming noticeably more colorful, painted with pretty shades of ochre and vermilion.

It’s certainly feeling autumnal around here, and I’ve got a big bowl of cozy Fall flavors for you, to welcome in the season.

Maple-kissed, caramelized butternut squash, and succulent chicken combine with baby kale and fresh, aromatic sage, atop perfectly al dente angel hair pasta, for a healthy and satisfying weeknight dinner that’s an easy, family favorite. Sweater weather can’t come soon enough!

Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon

The hubby and I looove pasta – and while the sauces and ingredients change regularly, we make some sort of pasta dish at least once a week.

As the weather cools, sweet butternut squash and dark, leafy kale become easy choices, and chicken breasts make for an easy source of lean protein, no matter the season.

This maple butternut squash and chicken pasta starts with Barilla® pasta – in that classic blue box – that cooks to al dente perfection in only a few minutes. I opted for skinny angel hair (also known as ‘capellini’ in Italian), which is wonderfully delicate, and ideal for light, structured sauces like this one.

Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon

Next, all-natural, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which I chop into bite-sized pieces so they brown quickly, because on busy weeknights, I’m not usually interested in spending much more than thirty minutes cooking dinner.

While we do enjoy many plant-based meals, when I do eat meat, I’m discerning about where that meat comes from. So it’s important to me that all products from NatureRaised Farms meet strict standards, including a commitment to 100% all-natural ingredients, no antibiotics ever, a 100% vegetarian diet, no added hormones, and third-party animal welfare certification.

And, their products prove that eating healthy and sustainably can still be convenient. NatureRaised Farm’s chicken breasts come pre-portioned and fully-trimmed, which makes them super handy to keep in the freezer for easy weeknight, or last-minute dinners.

Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon
Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon
Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon

Once the chicken begins to brown, we add sweet butternut squash (fresh, precut, or frozen), a good drizzle of maple syrup, and herby, fresh sage. Already getting all those Fall feels…

All of this pasta magic is created in two Select by Calphalon™ pans, which are great for everyday cooking. They’ve got the same quality and construction Calphalon is known for, at a Target price point. I used two sturdy, anodized nonstick pans for this recipe: one pot for cooking the pasta, and a big skillet for cooking the chicken and butternut squash, before tossing everything together with the steamy pasta and baby kale leaves.

The result: healthy and delicious butternut squash and chicken pasta, a family-friendly dinner that I’m sure you’re going to love as much as we do!

Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon
Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon

A Few Pasta Tips

Always salt your pasta water, to impart flavor while the pasta cooks.

To prevent cooked and drained pasta from sticking while you prepare the other ingredients, toss the pasta with just enough olive oil to coat.

Add delicate ingredients – like baby kale or other greens – at the last minute. The heat from the pasta will gently wilt the kale, without overcooking.

Kitchen tongs work great to toss hot pasta together with the other ingredients.
Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper along the way.


This post is sponsored by Target and a few of their partner brands: Barilla®, NatureRaised Farms, and Select by Calphalon™. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Fork Knife Swoon!

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Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x


  • 1 (1 lb) package Barilla® angel hair pasta
  • 2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 4 (4 oz) NatureRaised Farms® Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Portions, thawed and large-diced
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, minced
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 12oz), large-diced
  • 3 cups (packed) baby kale
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions, about 4 minutes. Darin the pasta then toss with just enough olive oil to coat. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet, and turn as needed to brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash to the skillet, drizzle with the maple syrup and sprinkle with sage, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the squash is tender and caramelized, and the chicken is golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Add the cooked pasta and kale to the skillet, and toss with the chicken and squash until combined. Continue heating until the kale is just wilted, and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. Divide between bowls and serve warm!
Easy Maple Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta with Kale | via @forkknifeswoon

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  1. 6.30.21
    Harold Burton said:

    Simple recipe. Very tasty. The whole family loves it. Added pesto to one. Delish!

  2. 9.6.20
    Carol Floyd said:

    This recipe needs some significant corrections. For starters, 16 oz. of pasta is WAY too much in proportion to the rest of the ingredients. It absolutely overwhelmed my skillet. Also 4 oz of chicken is too little–suggest doubling that amount. Overall it is kind of flavorless and dry–suggest adding a bit of chicken broth during the cooking. Topping it with come crumbled feta helped immensely. Sorry to be so harsh, especially since I love all the individual ingredients. It’s just that they are drastically out of proportion.

  3. 11.27.16
    Beth said:

    I’m a little late in the game but I found this recipe on pinterest today, just made it, and it is SO FANTASTIC. easy and delicious. I used honey goat cheese on top at the end and I am so, so pleased. THanks for sharing with us!

  4. 10.30.16
    Meg said:

    I tried this recipe with honey instead of maple syrup and it was great! I also didn’t have sage so I used a bit of rosemary and olive oil. It was great, I will definitely make it again!

  5. 10.11.16
    Kristen said:

    This sounds awesome and I plan on trying it out but butternut squash takes forever to get soft, especially large cut and just in a skillet. This seems to me like it would actually take over an hour. How long does it really take?

    • 10.11.16
      Laura said:

      Hi, Kristen! If you chop the butternut into a large-dice (about 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes), it really does only take about ten minutes to soften to fork-tender in the skillet. I stir/turn the squash often to caramelize all the sides, which also helps. If you’d like much larger pieces of the butternut, I would recommend starting them before the chicken (so the chicken doesn’t overcook), or even better, roasting them with a drizzle of olive oil in the oven. Hope that helps! Enjoy!

  6. 10.10.16
    Paige said:

    Made this last night and loved it!
    I added minced garlic, used only a little syrup and instead of sage (didn’t have any) I used Italian seasoning.
    Great easy recipe:)

    • 10.10.16
      Laura said:

      Thanks, Paige! So glad to hear you loved the pasta!

  7. 9.18.16
    Natasha said:

    I made this recipe tonight and my husband loved it. However, I did drizzle a little bit of balsamic and olive oil onto it with Himalayan pink salt,and fresh Ground pepper and also fresh shaved parmigiano . I think next time I’ll try adding mushrooms and sautéed onions. Thanks for the amazing recipe!

    • 9.27.16
      Laura said:

      Thanks, Natasha! So glad you enjoyed the pasta!

  8. 9.18.16
    Lola said:

    This recipe was absolutely awful. It tasted like I was eating sage, there was no maple flavor at all. It was completely dry as well. Would not recommend it.

  9. 9.8.16
    Helen said:

    I’d never thought of using coconut oil (instead of vegetable or olive oil) to saute chicken. Does coconut oil have a different heating/smoking temperature? Or is it just that it enhances the overall flavors in this particular dish?

  10. 9.6.16

    I am so ready for fall and all of the fall flavors! This looks delicious and a perfect weeknight dinner!

    • 9.6.16
      Laura said:

      I am so ready too 🙂 Thanks, Ellie!!

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

All photography and content copyright Laura Bolton ©2021.