Pesto Chicken Salad

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    This chicken pesto pasta salad is light, healthy and packed with the perfect pesto flavor! Great for BBQs, brunches, baby showers & more! 

    Whenever I need an easy side dish to bring to a BBQ, this pesto salad is always one of my first picks. It has the best flavor and is seriously so delicious. Everyone always asks for the recipe! I also love to make a big cucumber tomato salad or caprese salad. So fresh and tasty!

    pesto salad on a white plate

    Have you ever tried a recipe at a get-together and knew you had to make it as SOON as you got home? This was me after I tried a delicious pesto pasta salad that one of my friends brought to a lunch play date awhile ago. All of my girlfriends at the play date were raving over how tasty it was and I couldn’t wait to recreate this yummy recipe! After taking my first stab at the pesto salad, it turned out DELICIOUS! It’s so light and healthy and even husband-approved! It is the absolute perfect dish to bring to any get-together!

    The combination of flavors in this pesto chicken salad is seriously to-die-for! It’s so easy to throw together and can be eaten as both a main or side dish. It also is equally as great eaten as leftovers…believe me, you won’t leave a bite behind! This has become one of my favorite go-to summer salad recipes and I have no doubt it will become of yours as well!

    pesto salad ingredients in bowls on the counter

    How to make pesto pasta salad

    1. Cook pasta. Cook the pasta according to directions, then drain and run under water. Add a drizzle of olive oil and stir.
    2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add pasta in a large bowl and stir in pesto and Italian dressing until well coated. Mix in the spinach, chicken, tomatoes and feta and then toss to combine.
    3. Chill in fridge. Cover the bowl and store in fridge until serving.

    Tips + modifications

    • Can sub the feta with cubes of mozzarella if preferred.
    • Feel free to use gluten-free pasta if needed.
    • I typically use bow tie pasta, but penne or rotini would work great too.
    • Store bought pesto works great, but I love to use my easy homemade basil pesto.
    • Instead of Italian dressing, you can use 1/2 Tablespoon ranch seasoning mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt.
    • If the pasta dries out a little while chilling, simply add another Tablespoon of olive oil prior to serving.

    pesto chicken pasta salad in a large bowl

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    pesto chicken salad

    Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: pesto pasta salad
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 20 minutes
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 429
    Author: Jamielyn Nye
    This chicken pesto pasta salad is light, healthy and packed with the perfect pesto flavor! Great for BBQs, brunches, baby showers & more!  

    Ingredients

    • 1 package bow tie pasta (whole wheat or plus)
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 cup basil pesto (jarred or homemade)
    • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
    • 1 cup chicken (grilled, canned or rotisserie)
    • 2 cups spinach
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup feta cheese

    Instructions

    • Cook the bow-tie pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta and run it under water. Drizzle with olive oil and stir around.
    • Put the pasta in a large serving bowl and stir in the pesto and Italian dressing. Add the spinach, chicken, tomatoes and feta cheese. Toss to combine. Salt and Pepper to taste.
    • Cover and refrigerate. If the pasta seems dry before serving, you can stir in another tablespoon of olive oil.

    Notes

    Instead of Italian dressing, you could also try a ranch packet mixed with sour cream or Greek yogurt.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 493mg | Potassium: 335mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1677IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 2mg
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    pesto chicken salad in a white bowl

    pesto pasta salad recipe

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