This chicken pesto pasta salad is going to become a staple in your home. Enjoy this dish cold on hot summer nights or heat it up for a classic comfort dish in the winter. No matter how you eat it, it will be a family favorite.
Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
My family is a huge fan of pesto, so you could say we have a nice collection of pesto recipes that can be whipped up in no time. But we aren’t fans of just any pesto. My homemade pesto without pine nuts is our absolute favorite. And if we aren’t having grilled chicken pesto pasta salad, we are having chicken pesto pizza or pesto cavatappi.
This chicken pesto pasta salad is one of those meals you can make in the morning and let sit in the fridge all day. Trust me when I say this is an easy dinner, it really is!
Check out how easy it is to make this for dinner!
Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients for Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad
2 chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound farfalle pasta
½ cup prepared pesto
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup fresh basil sliced
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
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You’ll also want to have the following tools to make it easier:
- Cast Iron Grill Pan
- Meat Thermometer
- Large Stockpot
- Chef Knife
- Cutting Board
- Large Bowl
- Cheese Grater
- Basting Brush
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
How to Make Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
- First, turn on your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. While it is heating up, brush your chicken with olive oil and season each side with salt and pepper.
- Grill your chicken for about 5 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and the juices run clear.
- Once fully cooked, remove the chicken and set aside to cool.
- While your chicken cools start boiling a large pot of water. Once it boils, add your pasta and prepare it according to the package directions.
- Drain pasta and add to a large bowl. Toss with the pesto, tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese.
- Slice the cooled chicken and place it on top of the salad. Feel free to add some extra parmesan to the top for a garnish.
- Serve as is, or chill the salad and serve cold for a yummy chilled grilled chicken pesto pasta salad!
Tips and tricks for Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad
- Be adventurous and ditch the jarred pesto! Pesto is so simple to make and far more delicious when it is homemade. We have a great pesto recipe that you can find here!
- Make sure your pasta is completely drained before adding the other ingredients! The pesto will stick better to your dry pasta and everything will mold better into one cohesive dish.
- This pesto pasta salad is great served cold! If you are planning on serving this cold you will want to leave some extra time so that you can chill it for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
- We’ve suggested farfalle pasta, but if you have another favorite shape then you can absolutely use it. A fusilli or penne would be great with this recipe. Switch it up and see what you like best.
- Resist the urge to cut your chicken while it’s hot! Let those chicken breasts cool. This will ensure that the juices and flavor stay inside the chicken and make for a much more delicious chicken once sliced.
- If you like your pasta salad with a little extra sauce, you can increase the sauce to 1 cup. It will add that extra juicy flavor into your pasta dish!
Can you eat cold pesto pasta salad?
You can and you definitely should eat cold pesto pasta salad!
Most people associate pesto with warm dishes like a hot pasta, pesto pizza, or a warm sandwich. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to serve that pesto cold!
Take a leap and trust me on this, you are going to want to try this salad chilled. It’s delicious!
What should you serve with pesto pasta salad?
Sometimes it can be hard to decide what to serve with a pasta dish!
This is a bit of a lighter pasta dish so you could serve with a variety of roasted vegetables. Roasted sweet potato with a bit of salt and pepper would be so yummy with this!
Some other pairings you could try are a fruit salad, focaccia bread, soup, or a potato dish.
What is the best pasta for pesto sauce?
Although it’s recommended to use farfalle in this recipe, you can get creative with your pasta choices!
Some other great pasta options for pesto are fusilli, penne, linguine, or even orzo.
What is your favorite pasta to use with pesto recipes? Let us know when you share your recipe results with us!
Can I store my leftover Pesto Pasta Salad?
This pesto pasta salad keeps very well in the fridge! If you have it in an airtight container it should last for about a week.
However, the chicken will tend to dry out the longer it is in the fridge. You might consider saving the salad and grilling up some fresh chicken when you are ready to serve the salad again!
Can you freeze this dish?
If you are looking for a delicious freezer meal, this may be one to add to your list! Pesto, pasta, and everything in this recipe should freeze great.
If you want to freeze this recipe, make it as the recipe states and put it in a freezer-safe container until you are ready to serve.
When serving you will need to transfer to an oven-safe container and bake until fully heated. You can even grab some freezer lasagna style tins to freeze your pasta in so it’s ready to bake when you need it.
Share with us in the comments how your dish turns out! And tag us on Instagram with a picture of your recipe! We would love to see it!
Check out these other great healthy recipes:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ pepper
- 1 pound farfalle pasta
- ½ cup prepared pesto
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup fresh basil sliced
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Prepare grill or grill pan to cook chicken over direct medium-high heat.
- While the grill is getting set, brush the chicken with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the chicken for about 5 minutes per side, or until juices run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Remove from grill, and allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water and prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
- Toss the pasta together with pesto, tomatoes, basil and Parmesan cheese.
- Slice the chicken into thin strips and place on top of the pasta with additional parmesan cheese and basil, if desired.
- This pasta can be served warm or cooled and is delicious either way.
Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!