Cooking ahead is a great way to make sure dinner gets on the table on busy nights. This Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad can be made in the morning or even the night before!
Making pasta salad with pesto and chicken is a match made in heaven and it’s easier than you might think. The best news is that this cold pesto chicken pasta salad can be eaten all week long for a quick meal or snack anytime you need one!
If you like meals for the summer that don’t require any reheating you have to try out this pesto pasta salad. You’ll be amazed at how these simple ingredients can come together to create a delicious final result.
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One of the ways I’m balancing this busy summer with my goal of feeding my family healthy foods is by making the time to cook ahead for busy nights. Pasta salads are perfect for this because they typically can be served either warm or cold, and the flavors meld together when given time to sit and chill before serving.
While my go-to dish is the Spinach Feta Pasta Salad (made so often I can make it in my sleep!), it’s nice to try a new recipe once in a while.
Is this cold pesto chicken pasta salad family friendly?
My family loves the flavors in this cold pesto chicken pasta salad, since they’ll eat anything with olives and artichoke hearts. They were a little disappointed because they thought “pesto” in the name would make the whole thing very green.
This is a healthier serving of pesto, but feel free to add more pesto if your family really likes it!
Do I serve this pasta salad with pesto and chicken hot or cold?
We enjoy this Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad warm. It’s also good cold for lunch the next day.
You can also make this in advance and serve it cold later that day or the next day. The longer it hangs out in the refrigerator the longer the flavors have to really soak into the pasta and meld together. It’s delicious as a meal prep / make ahead meal.
What do I need to make pesto pasta salad with chicken?
This recipe uses bow tie pasta noodles, basil pesto, chunk chicken breast in cans, grape tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and salt/pepper to taste!
We like to add olives and some artichoke hearts to ours but not everyone likes those so feel free to make the recipe as written…mix it up sometime and add in some olives and artichoke hearts for my family’s favorite version of this pesto pasta salad with chicken.
Can I make any changes to this recipe?
Feel free to add a little bit of olive oil or even Italian dressing to the pesto if you’d like a creamier salad.
You could also mix in other veggies if you wish, such as olives, broccoli florets, or zucchini.
Overall this is a pretty flexible recipe which means you can make some modifications without worrying that the recipe will flop! Feel free to mix it up a bit and let us know in the comments how you adjusted it for your family so others can try your version as well.
How to make a pasta salad recipe with chicken and pesto:
If you are looking for an easy recipe to make you won’t want to miss out on this pasta salad recipe. It’s really a simple dinner recipe but it’s also great for appetizers, picnics, and more.
You can serve this up at family BBQ’s and gatherings or make it for dinner / lunches all week long as a meal prep. You can’t go wrong!
Fill a large pot halfway with water and boil over high heat.
Add the noodles and boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente.
While the noodles are cooking, rinse and slice the tomatoes in half.
Remove from heat and strain, then run cold water over the noodles, gently mixing the noodles, for one minute.
Add the basil pesto and noodles to a large bowl and stir to coat the noodles.
Open and drain the juice from the can of chicken.
Add chicken, tomatoes, and mozzarella to the bowl and toss to combine.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Looking for more delicious pasta salad recipes?
If you really enjoyed this tasty chicken pesto pasta salad you will definitely want to check out some of these other pasta salad recipes. There’s something for everyone to enjoy and honestly, when the summer months roll around, you’ll love having some easy meals on hand that are light while still being filling and satisfying!
- Bacon and Ranch Pasta Salad
- Creamy Bacon Parmesan Pasta Salad
- Spinach Feta Pasta Salad
- Tortellini Chickpea Pasta Salad
- Israeli Pasta Salad
Printable Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe:
- 16 oz box of bow tie pasta noodles
- 1 cup basil pesto
- 12.5 oz can chunk chicken breast
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella pearls
- Salt and pepper
- Fill a large pot halfway with water and boil over high heat.
- Add the noodles and boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente.
- While the noodles are cooking, rinse and slice the tomatoes in half.
- Remove from heat and strain, then run cold water over the noodles, gently mixing the noodles, for one minute.
- Add the basil pesto and noodles to a large bowl and stir to coat the noodles.
- Open and drain the juice from the can of chicken.
- Add chicken, tomatoes, and mozzarella to the bowl and toss to combine.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 187mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g