My goodness this harissa chicken and caramelised red onion pasta dish is delicious. Proper comfort food, packed with flavour, a creamy harissa and tomato sauce melding through caramelised red onion and soft pieces of chicken.

The key to this deliciousness is taking your time when softening and caramelising the onions. It only takes 10-15 minutes, which you can do while the pasta cooks, but it transforms the flavours. Making a mouthwateringly good bowlful of pasta.

Then after that it only takes 5 minutes to bring the whole dish together.

harissa chicken and caramelised red onion pasta

What Pasta Should I Use?

I use gluten free spaghetti (specifically the Tesco Free From Spaghetti) when making this dish, and linguine would be wonderful too. The Rummo gluten free linguine is fantastic.

However, you can really use any shape pasta you have. And if you are not gluten free then of course you can use gluten pasta (and you can skip the pasta rinsing step, which is used to get rid of the excess starch that gluten free pasta produces during cooking).

harissa chicken and caramelised red onion pasta recipe

Why Do I Need to Rinse the Pasta?

Gluten free pasta is made of starchier ingredients that standard pasta. During cooking, the starches can become quite sticky on the outside of the pasta. Then once drained and cooled it has a tendency to clump together.

The simple way to avoid clumping is to rinse your gluten free pasta under water after cooking, to wash away that excess starch.

In this recipe using cold tap water is fine, as you then reheat the pasta in the frying pan. However you can also use fresh boiled water if you want to keep it really hot.

Do I Have to Use Leftover Roast Chicken?

No, you can use cooked chicken breast (1 per person) if you prefer. Simply panfry the chicken breasts for 5-10 minutes, until cooked through. Then chop into chunks for use in this recipe.

I often use leftover roast chicken as buying a whole chicken is much better value for money. I can generally make 2-3 family meals from the meat and then can make wonderful stock from the carcass. It really keeps costs down – I’ve got a round up post here with ideas for Leftover Chicken Recipes.

gluten free harissa chicken and caramelised red onion pasta

Which Harissa Do You Use?

I use Belazu Rose Harissa, which is beautifully tasty with a subtle hit of spice. Some harissa can be much more fiery, so adjust accordingly unless you like it super hot. Equally, if you want to up the spice factor, feel free to use more rose harissa (2 tbsp).

Where Do I Buy Sundried Tomato Paste?

You’ll find it in most supermarkets, alongside tinned tomatoes and concentrated tomato paste. You can also make your own by blitzing and entire jar of sundried tomatoes (oil included) until smooth. Then store in the fridge in a lidded jar (I reuse the original jar) and use as needed.

easy gluten free pasta harissa chicken and caramelised red onion pasta

Harissa Chicken & Caramelised Red Onion Pasta Recipe

This recipe serves 2 people, simply double the ingredient quantities if cooking for 4 (triple for 6, etc), or halve it if cooking for 1 person. The method remains the same (unless you are cooking a huge volume, in which case you may need a little longer to soften the onions in a crowded pan).

You’ll find the recipe below, along with some method photos to help guide you. Any questions while you are making it, please do message me on social media (@myglutenfreeguide) or email me at

If you enjoy this gluten free harissa chicken and caramelised red onion pasta recipe, please do leave a review on the recipe card below. It makes a world of difference to me :). And you can also share photos of your home creations in my Cooking Club on Facebook.

Enjoy! Laura xxx

Harissa Chicken & Caramelised Red Onion Pasta (GF)
Yield: Serves 2

Harissa Chicken & Caramelised Red Onion Pasta (GF)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

An incredibly tasty pasta dish with flavours of harissa, tomato and caramelised red onion, a creamy sauce and soft chunks of chicken.


  • 2 medium-sized red onions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Knob of butter (about 10g)
  • 50ml white wine (optional)
  • 1 tbsp rose harissa
  • 2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
  • 200g roast chicken (or you can use chicken breast if you prefer, see intro for how to cook)
  • 100ml double cream
  • 150g gluten free spaghetti


  1. Peel the red onions, cut each in half and finely slice them. Add the sliced onions to a large high-sided frying pan with the tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, stirring regularly, until begginning to soften.
  2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook your gluten free spaghetti per the packet instructions.
  3. Back to the frying pan - add the caster sugar and red wine vinegar to the pan with the onions, stir through and then cook on a medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and caramelised. Add a little olive oil during cooking if the onions are sticking to the pan. Then add the white wine to the pan (if using) and cook until the liquid has largely evaporated, then add the knob of butter and stir through through.
  4. Next, add the finely diced garlic, harissa, sundried tomato paste and some freshly ground black pepper to the frying pan. Cook over a medium-low heat for a couple of minutes.
  5. The pasta should be cooked by now (if not sooner), so drain and rinse well with cold water to remove any excess starch. This will stop if from sticking together or clumping.
  6. Chop the cooked roast chicken into bite-sized chunks and add to the pan Turn the heat up to medium and sizzle the chicken for a few minutes. Then add the pasta and stir through to coat it in the sauce and rewarm it.
  7. Finally pour the cream over the pasta and stir through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then heat for a couple of minutes.
  8. Serve in bowls topped with a generous grating of parmesan cheese.

For more delicious gluten free meal ideas and tasty treats, why not try some of my other recipes:

Happy cooking! Laura xxx