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Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

This chicken pesto pasta salad is light, healthy and packed with fresh basil pesto flavor! Make ahead for BBQs, summer potlucks, brunches, easy lunches & more! 

More pasta salad recipes we love during the summer include Caprese pasta salad, chicken Caesar salad recipe and orzo pasta salad!

Chicken pesto pasta salad on a white plate.
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Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken

This chicken pesto pasta salad combines cooked chicken and pasta with a vibrant pesto dressing. Packed full of mouthwatering taste from the basil pesto, tender chicken and al dente pasta, it’s the perfect choice for lunch, dinner or the perfect recipe to bring to a BBQ.

I first had this dish at a lunch place and knew immediately I wanted to recreate it at home. This pasta salad recipe with it’s flavorful combination of ingredients turned out DELICIOUS! It’s light, healthy and even husband-approved!

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!


Can I serve this pesto pasta cold?

While you can serve this warm right after making, I prefer it cold! As this pesto pasta salad chills in the fridge it gives the salad time to develop even more flavor.

Is it okay to use store-bought pesto?

Sure! I love my homemade pesto recipe, but you can save time and just purchase it.

How long does this pasta salad with pesto last?

You can store it covered in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

How do I moisten dry pasta salad?

You can rehydrate pasta salad with a splash of the Italian dressing combined with pesto, just the Italian dressing or even just some olive oil.

Pesto chicken pasta salad in a large bowl.

Other salads we can’t get enough of include this recipe for Caesar salad, pasta salad with spinach and this cobb salad recipe!

More Pasta Salad Recipes

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pesto chicken salad

Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

5 from 15 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This chicken pesto pasta salad is light, healthy and packed with fresh basil pesto flavor! Make ahead for BBQs, summer potlucks, brunches, easy lunches & more! 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 package bow tie pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup basil pesto , jarred or homemade
  • ¼ cup Italian dressing
  • 1 cup chicken , grilled, canned or rotisserie
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • ½ 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.
  • 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. Then serve and enjoy!


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

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

Chicken pesto pasta salad in a white bowl.

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