This chicken pesto pasta salad is light, healthy and packed with the perfect basil pesto flavor! Great for BBQs, brunches, baby showers & more!
Table of Contents
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! Like my chicken Caesar salad recipe it is 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!
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!
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.
Sure! I love my homemade pesto recipe, but you can save time and just purchase it.
You can store it covered in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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.
Other salads with classic ingredients we can’t get enough of include this recipe for Caesar salad and this cobb salad recipe!
More Pasta Salad Recipes
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Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad
- 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!
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
Delicious! Love those flavors…..it tasted super light and refreshing.
Yummy! This salad didn’t disappoint at our potluck this weekend. Everyone loved how tasty and very delicious this was. Such a flavorful salad and a big hit! Will be making this again!
We are a pesto loving family! I wish we had leftovers but next time I will make more!
You can never have too much pesto! ;)
Easy and tasty.
Thanks for your comment and review, Pam :)
I love how easy it is to take pesto and and flavor it over pasta! It’s one of our go to meals! This salad is so good!
I made this for lunch today and was so impressed! Very delicious!
Love pesto…not so much Feta, what cheese would you recomend instead? Mozzarella ?
Subbing the feta with chunks of mozzarella would be delicious!
This looks delicious! I love how quick and easy this is to make!
I need to try this right now! Such a gorgeous salad!
I need to try this immediately, it looks so good!