Hen Pesto Pasta Salad with Entire Meals Substances


Nothing says recent fairly like the colourful flavors on this simple pasta salad.It’s my go-to meal prep possibility when the climate will get heat. I like that it’s filled with hen, pasta, recent veggies, cheese, and pesto, so I’m getting each taste and diet. And I particularly like to carry it to summer season BBQs and potlucks and for my selfmade packed lunches.

Overhead view stone bowl filled with chicken pesto pasta salad topped with fresh Parmesan cheese shreds

I Prefer to serve it as a important dish more often than not

Not solely is that this protein and veggie-packed salad flavorful, however it’s additionally simple to make. True, it may very well be served as a facet salad, however it’s actually a important dish, with sufficient protein, carbs, wholesome fat, and fiber to gas you thru the day. It additionally works nicely as a facet dish.

Because of this, I like to make an enormous batch to maintain available for fast, simple meals that my complete household will eat. It’s actually a game-changer when life will get busy and I like that my youngsters clear their plates after I make it although they don’t love greens.

Close up view plate full of chicken pesto pasta salad

Recipe Highlights

This hen pesto pasta salad is a recipe I make on repeat when the climate will get heat. Listed here are a couple of the reason why:

  • With minimal prep time and simply 12 minutes of cooking time, your complete dish comes collectively in nearly half-hour, that means I can get out and in of the kitchen quick. 
  • It calls for easy substances, together with store-bought pesto sauce
  • It tastes nice served heat or chilly, so it is useful on my busiest of days. 
  • I can simply combine and match the substances to fulfill completely different preferences and expend any additional protein or veggies I’ve available. 
  • Leftovers retailer nicely so I can put together an enormous batch as soon as and revel in it for days. 
  • It options seasonal substances, making it budget-friendly and nutritious.
All ingredients for chicken pesto pasta salad in separate bowls arranged together in a cluster

What You’ll Want

  • Diced cooked hen – use leftover grilled hen, shredded hen, hen breasts, precooked hen breasts strips, or  rotisserie hen. 
  • Cavatappi pasta – any small to medium-sized pasta shapes resembling penne, rotini, or bow-tie pasta will work. Use gluten-free pasta, if wanted. 
  • Contemporary mozzarella – I take advantage of ciliengine or mozzarella pearls. Nevertheless, you can too use a big ball of recent mozzarella and reduce it into bite-sized items
  • Persian or mini cucumbers – could sub English cucumbers
  • Grape or heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • Pink onion
  • Pesto – I take advantage of this selfmade basil pesto, however any store-bought pesto will style nice
  • Parmesan cheese – for the perfect style and texture, purchase a block of parmesan and grate it your self.
All ingredients for pesto pasta salad in a stone mixing bowl, two spoons tossing ingredients together

Ingredient Spotlight: Selfmade Pesto

Whereas you should utilize store-bought pesto sauce for this recipe, I a lot choose utilizing our selfmade pesto. In contrast to many pre-made choices, our pesto recipe is:

  • Gentle, flavorful, and simple to customise
  • Stuffed with wholesome fat
  • Makes use of walnuts as a substitute of pine nuts
  • Dairy-free, Paleo, and Whole30-friendly
  • Nice to arrange forward of time and simple to make use of with a wide range of recipes like basil pesto hen.

Selfmade Pesto Recipe

How To Make It

  1. Mix the cooked hen and pasta in a big bowl. 
  2. Add the remaining substances, and blend gently to mix. 
  3. Garnish with recent basil leaves and extra parmesan, if desired. 
  4. Serve instantly, or switch the hen pesto pasta salad to the fridge to chill. 


For the Greatest Texture

Watch out to prepare dinner the pasta simply to al dente in response to the bundle directions. Then, instantly rinse it with chilly water to cease the cooking course of. In any other case, the pasta is prone to turn into mushy.

Close up view pesto pasta salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh basil and Parmesan cheese

Change It Up

Listed here are some methods I wish to customise this recipe:

  • Swap the hen with tuna or shrimp 
  • Add in spinach or child arugula for additional greens 
  • Mix the pesto sauce with heavy cream or cream cheese to create a creamy hen pesto pasta salad recipe  
  • Embody sun-dried tomatoes
  • Change the mozzarella and Parmesan with crumbled feta

Make It Dairy-Free

Omit the cheese and use dairy-free pesto to maintain this pasta salad dairy-free.

Make It Gluten-Free

Use your favourite gluten-free pasta, cooking it simply till al dente. A few of our favorites that we’ve examined on this salad are garbanzo-based cavatappi, gluten-free rotini, and the brown rice and quinoa fusilli from Dealer Joe’s. 

Overhead view glass meal prep container filled with a serving of pesto pasta salad

How To Retailer

Retailer any leftover pasta salad in an hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 4 days. Give the combination stir to redistribute the substances earlier than serving. The pesto could darken a bit however it’s nonetheless suitable for eating and many scrumptious.

The Good Facet Or Fundamental Dish

This pasta salad pairs nicely with a wide range of important dishes resembling grilled flank steak, grilled salmon kabobs, and grilled bacon burgers if you wish to add a bit extra protein to the meal.
Nevertheless, it’s additionally nice to function a whole meal by itself. For those who’re on the lookout for methods to bulk up the meal, attempt pairing it with sides like cornbread muffins and fruit salad.

Overhead view stone bowl filled with chicken pesto pasta salad


Hen Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

A light-weight, shiny and flavorful twist on pasta salad. Studded with tender bites of hen and a bunch of recent veggies, this salad is nice for make-ahead lunches or a light-weight dinner.

Prep: 20 minutesPrepare dinner: 12 minutesWhole: 32 minutes

Servings: 11 cups – 8 (1 ¾ cup) servings 1x


  1. Mix cooked and cooled pasta and hen in a big mixing bowl. 
  2. Add mozzarella cheese pearls, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, pesto, and Parmesan cheese. Combine gently to mix. 
  3. Garnish with recent basil leaves and extra Parmesan, if desired.
  4. Retailer any leftovers in an hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 4 days.

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For gluten-free, we’ve examined and like these manufacturers of pasta when served chilly: Banza, Barilla Gluten-Free, and Dealer Joe’s Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli.

Diet Data

  • Serving Measurement: 1 3/4 cup
  • Energy: 340
  • Fats: 17 g
  • (Sat Fats: 6 g)
  • Sodium: 350 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 22 g
  • (Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 2 g)
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Ldl cholesterol: 65 mg


© The Actual Meals Dietitians

The photographs on this weblog publish had been taken by Rachel Prepare dinner of Half Acre Home.

For final success, we extremely suggest studying the ideas within the full weblog publish above. All photographs and content material are copyright-protected. Please don’t use our photographs with out prior written permission. For those who want to republish a recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your individual distinctive phrases. Hyperlink again to the supply recipe right here on The Actual Meals Dietitians. Thanks!


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