Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken

  • chickenMainpastaRecipe
  • Wow, the last three weeks have been crazy! That’s right, we have officially been in Kansas City for three weeks. In case you missed the lats post, we are currently living with my sister-in-law, Jordan. I have done a little cooking in her apartment, but not much. It started bothering me so I came up with an “excuse” to cook. Here goes.

    Jordan is in Occupational Therapy school at KU Med, and she and I were talking last week about cold things that she could take with her to campus for lunch. She said she didn’t really like to take things that needed to be heated up because the lines for the microwaves are so long. I was telling her about the pasta salad kits with the noodles and the spice packets that you throw together, add some dressing and refrigerate. Then I thought, “Duh, let’s make our own!”

    Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken
    I decided to do pesto instead of an Italian dressing or Greek dressing, but both of those would be excellent in a homemade pasta salad.
    Now, normally, I would use a food processor to whirl the pesto all together, but since I am in apartment living mode, I used Jordan’s Magic Bullet. A blender would also work. Also, I used my new panini maker to cook the chicken, but grilled chicken or skillet cooked chicken would also be great.
    For the pasta, I used whole wheat rotini noodles.
    Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken
         serves 6
    1 C fresh basil leaves
    1 1/4 C fresh baby spinach leaves
    1/2 C toasted pine nuts
    3 coves of garlic
    1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    3/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    Juice from 1/2 lemon
    Zest from 1 lemon
    1/2 C light olive oil
    12 oz whole wheat rotini noodles
    1 large chicken breast (or 2 small)
    Pulse the basil, spinach, pine nuts and garlic in the food processor, magic bullet or blender. Add the remaining ingredients, drizzle in the oil and blend until smooth.
    Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot, add the noodles and cook until al dente. When the noodles are done, strain them and rinse in cold water.
    While the noodles are cooking, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and place on the grill/maker. 
    Cook until done or the juices run clear. 
    Move the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for about 5 minutes. 
    Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and pour the pesto over the top.
    Mix the pesto and pasta together. Once the chicken has cooled, cut into chunks and pour over the pasta.
    Mix the chicken into the pasta and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until chilled all the way through. 
    Boo-ya! I cooked! :)
    • Jenni

      Makes me think of spring! Lovely:) I send lunches for my husband almost every day. A wide mouth 16oz Thermos works great, because I can heat up pasta or soup on the stove, put it in the Thermos and have it still be hot for his lunch–no lines! Tell your sister! :)

    • Marina

      Good meal, I’ve had it many times. It is better next day when all flavor blends… mmmmm Love your blog… :)