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Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

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

chicken pesto pasta salad on a white plate

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Bow tie pasta salad with pesto

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 it, the pasta salad turned out DELICIOUS! It’s so light and healthy and even husband-approved! It is the absolute perfect recipe to bring to a BBQ or any get-together for that matter.

The combination of flavors 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 pasta salad recipes and I have no doubt it will become of yours as well!

pesto pasta salad ingredients in bowls on the counter

Modifications for pesto pasta salad

  • Cheese. Can sub the feta with cubes of mozzarella if preferred.
  • Pasta. I typically use bow tie pasta, but penne or rotini would work great too. Feel free to use gluten-free pasta if needed.
  • Chicken. Shredded chicken, rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken all work great in this recipe.
  • Pesto. Store bought pesto works great, but I love to use my easy homemade basil pesto or vegan pesto.
  • Dressing. Instead of Italian dressing, you can use 1/2 Tablespoon ranch seasoning mixed with 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt.
  • Extras. Feel free to add in extras, like sundried tomatoes, diced avocado or pine nuts for a little crunch.

Make ahead and storing

Making in advance: You can absolutely prepare this dish ahead of time if preferred. Storing it in the fridge for a few hours beforehand actually gives the flavors time to marinate together a little more. If you’re worried about the spinach and tomatoes getting soggy, feel free to just toss them in right before serving. If the pasta dries out a little while chilling, simply add another Tablespoon of olive oil (or Italian dressing) prior to serving.

Storing: Store this salad covered in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Always make sure to give it a stir before serving so that you get the perfect amount of flavor in every bite!

pesto chicken pasta salad in a large bowl

More pasta salad recipes:

pesto chicken salad

Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

5 from 10 votes
This chicken pesto pasta salad is light, healthy and packed with the perfect basil pesto flavor! Great for BBQs, brunches, baby showers & more! 
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 8


  • 1 package bow tie pasta
  • 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


  • 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.
    pasta cooking in pot
  • 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.
    pesto chicken salad
  • Cover and refrigerate. If the pasta seems dry before serving, you can stir in another tablespoon of olive oil. Then serve and enjoy!
    pesto salad


Substitutions: You may substitute feta with cubes of mozzarella if preferred. Other types of pasta will also work, such as penne or rotini. Also instead of Italian dressing, you could try a ranch packet mixed with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Homemade pesto: Here is my favorite homemade basil pesto recipe:
Storing: This salad will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

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

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye

Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!

chicken pesto pasta salad in a white bowl

pesto pasta salad recipe

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