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Chicken Pesto Pasta

Chicken Pesto Pasta is the perfect crowd-pleasing dinner or side. Serve it hot for a hearty pasta dinner dish, or bring it cold to your next family BBQ. Thrown together in just 30-minutes, this is a recipe you’ll come back to over and over again.

A simple white plate in the foreground with a large serving of chicken pesto pasta. A large white ceramic bowl in the background just out of focus holds the remaining chicken pesto pasta. A cream cloth napkin and antique forks are styled with the dish.
Served hot or cold, this is the perfect dish to feed a crowd and bring to your next family BBQ as the main or a side dish.

The secret to the Best Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

The secret to taking bland ingredients and making them a showstopper of a dish lays in the use of pesto and sundried tomatoes. Sundried tomatoes add a tangy flavor to an otherwise heavier dish. Cut with lemon juice for acidic appeal, paired with basil pesto, and suddenly you’re in the making for a cold chicken salad or a hearty dinner that still leaves you feeling fresh.

What basil pesto is best?

This basil chicken pesto pasta is easy to manipulate. You can absolutely use store-bought pesto, one of the larger tubs, or you can make your own. If you’re adjusting this dish to be dairy-free or low-carb, you’ll want to check out this homemade pesto recipe.

A white plate and white serving bowl full of chicken pesto pasta sit on a table with a cream cloth napkin and three rustic forks.
Cubed chicken breasts or shredded rotisserie chicken makes this recipe come together in a snap! Easily customizable to your family’s tastes.

What pasta can be used?

Because this recipe requires cooking the pasta separately, you can use any shape or style pasta as a substitute for the pasta shown. Whatever you have in your pantry or fridge will work great!

Want to go low-carb or gluten-free? You can easily switch out the pasta shells for zucchini noodles or shirataki noodles. Zucchini noodles can be served raw or cooked on the stove-top in a light drizzle of olive oil for just five to ten minutes. Continue with the recipe as normal.

What chicken can be used?

Basic chicken breasts are called for in this recipe. However, if you have leftover rotisserie chicken in the freezer or from the night before, you can use that. To use rotisserie chicken, cook the pasta and peas, then combine all ingredients into a large bowl to heat through and serve.

Ingredients for Chicken Pesto Pasta sit in glass bowls, white ceramic bowls, and silver spoons on a white marble surface. Ingredients are: chicken breasts, uncooked pasta, frozen peas. pesto, sundried tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
It takes just 8 ingredients coming together to create a crave-worthy dinner the whole family can enjoy!

How Do YOU MAKE Chicken Pesto Pasta

Now that you’ve gone over the options, it’s time to put it all together.

  1. Start by preparing your pasta. Salt a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Add your one pound raw pasta of choice and cook as directed on the packaging.
  2. While your pasta water is coming to a boil, preheat the oven to 350F. Split your chicken breasts to approximately 1/4-1/2 pound each. Or you can pre-dice your chicken breasts and cook them as such. Either way, add a drizzle of olive oil (2 Tablespoons) to an oven-safe skillet, followed by the chicken seasoned with salt and pepper. Place in the center of your preheated oven until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165F. This should take between 15-30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces.
  3. While your pasta and chicken cook, gather the remainder of your ingredients and chop the sun-dried tomatoes to bite-sized pieces. As your chicken nears the end of it’s cooking time, about the last 5 minutes or so, add the sundried tomatoes to the pan. This helps the chicken to soak up any oil and acidic flavor.
  4. Remove your chicken from the pan and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Once your pasta and chicken have cooked, start by adding the frozen peas to the freshly cooked and strained pasta. The heat from the pasta will thaw and cook the peas just enough to become firm and bright without becoming soggy.
  6. Add the chicken, sundried tomatoes, and lemon juice to the pasta and peas. Give a good stir.
  7. Lastly, add the pesto to the bowl and mix. Top your pasta with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, or serve as is.

What to serve with Chicken Pesto Pasta?

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Sliders pair deliciously with this chicken pesto pasta dish at your next family BBQ as an exciting side dish. Hearty and fresh, this dish makes for an excellent weeknight dinner followed by light and fluffy Angel Food Cupcakes!

Other recipes you might enjoy:

A white plate and white serving bowl full of chicken pesto pasta sit on a table with a cream cloth napkin and three rustic forks.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Hearty, yet fresh and vibrant! A perfect dish to stand on its own for the busy weeknight dinner, as well as a crowd-pleasing side dish to any family BBQ.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 661 kcal

Equipment

  • pasta pot
  • large serving bowl
  • 12 inch skillet
  • measuring spoons

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 pound pasta any shape or type works
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-1/2 pound chicken raw breast or leftover pre-cooked chicken
  • 4 ounces sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 ounces frozen peas
  • 12 ounces pesto

Instructions
 

  • Start by preparing your pasta. Salt a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Add your one pound raw pasta of choice and cook as directed on the packaging.
  • While your pasta water is coming to a boil, preheat the oven to 350F. Split your chicken breasts to approximately 1/4-1/2 pound each. Or you can pre-dice your chicken breasts and cook them as such. Either way, add a drizzle of olive oil (2 Tablespoons) to an oven-safe skillet, followed by the chicken seasoned with salt and pepper. Place in the center of your preheated oven until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165F. This should take between 15-30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces.
    Cooking chicken in skillet
  • While your pasta and chicken cook, gather the remainder of your ingredients and chop the sun-dried tomatoes to bite-sized pieces. As your chicken nears the end of it’s cooking time, about the last 5 minutes or so, add the sundried tomatoes to the pan. This helps the chicken to soak up any oil and acidic flavor.
    Halved chicken breasts topped with chopped sundried tomatoes and oil, in a stainless steel skillet.
  • Remove your chicken from the pan and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Shred or chop the chicken in to bite-sized pieces.
  • Once your pasta and chicken have cooked, start by adding the frozen peas to the freshly cooked and strained pasta. The heat from the pasta will thaw and cook the peas just enough to become firm and bright without becoming soggy.
    A large white bowl containing pasta shells and frozen peas.
  • Add the chicken, sundried tomatoes, and lemon juice to the pasta and peas. Give a good stir.
    Chicken Pesto Pasta in Bowl
  • Lastly, add the pesto to the bowl and mix. Top your pasta with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, or serve as is.
    Mixing all ingredients togoether

Notes

For a low carb option, use zoodles and low carb pesto sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 661kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 21gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 984mgPotassium: 943mgFiber: 8gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1623IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 139mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe? Mention @itsyummi or tag #itsyummirecipe!

 

 

 

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