Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad is a simple and easy recipe, PACKED with FLAVOR, and perfect for a potluck or cookout!
If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
CHICKEN PESTO PASTA SALAD
Need a SIMPLE and EASY to make salad recipe for the warm weather months, when you’re hosting a potluck or a picnic? This salad is just what you need!
This salad is the right balance of chicken for protein and healthy veggies, all dressed in an herb packed pesto that you can use for many more recipes.
I love that you can make it ahead of time, giving you more time with your friends and family. Plus, the longer it sits the better the flavors!
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WHAT IS CHICKEN PEST PASTA?
Packed with fresh ingredients and loaded with flavors – that’s what a chicken pesto pasta is all about.
I consider it a salad because of the all the veggies, but you can call it the best side dish ever if you want. Whatever you call it, it’s a crowd pleaser for sure!
With just 20 minutes to make start to finish, it’s perfect for a busy weeknight meal or pack it for a refreshing and healthy lunch during the week.
PESSTO PASTA SALAD INGREDIENTS
- cooked chicken
- pesto – make fresh or store bought
- fresh spinach
- cherry tomatoes
- Italian dressing
- cheese – I prefer shredded Parmesan
The longest part of making this recipe is cooking the pasta because everything else is already done.
This pesto pasta salad is a great way to use your leftover chicken if you have some from another recipe!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PESTO PASTA SALAD
ONE: Cook the pasta in a large pot according to the package directions. Cook the chicken breast how you like it or use a rotisserie chicken from the store to save even more time!
TWO: Prep your veggies but cutting them into bite-sized pieces.
THREE: Combine the pasta and pesto sauce to coat. Toss in your chicken and veggies. Toss with Italian dressing if you like. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
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WHAT KIND OF PASTA GOES BEST WITH PESTO?
There’s actually no rule when it comes to choosing the right pasta for your pesto pasta salad.
You can pretty much stick to the regular penne (if you have dietary restrictions, try a gluten free or whole wheat pasta).
OTHER PASTA SHAPES TO TRY
- small shells
- spaghetti or linguine
- try letter shapes for the kids to enjoy
Switch up the veggies to add your favorites. Fresh squash, beans, and bell peppers will be very tasty in it!
Try these other mix-ins to add some variety to it
- sun-dried tomatoes
- chick peas
- feta cheese
- fresh mozzarella
- roasted squash
- toasted pecans
- pumpkin seeds
- pine nuts
- red pepper flakes for heat
It is the perfect cold salad that you can carry along with you on picnics and outings in the hot summer heat.
This pesto pasta salad with chicken packs in the protein and a generous helping of fresh veggies topped off with a fresh basil pesto and indulgent Parmesan cheese.
MORE EASY DINNERS
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Chicken Macaroni Salad
- Italian Meat Sauce
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
- Cheesy Taco Pasta
- Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
- Tomato Cracker Salad
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