This Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad is an old favorite that’s perfect as a side or as your main meal! It’s a satisfying pasta salad that’s packed with chicken and fresh veggies all in a creamy pesto dressing.
Happy almost the weekend folks! Are you ready for a killer pasta salad for your next summer party?
I’m totally dating myself with today’s recipe guys. Listen up. I have been making this Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad for almost 20 years. Ya, I know….20 years! I kid you not.
I pulled this recipe from Family Circle Magazine in August of 1998, and with a few tweaks here and there it’s been somewhat of a staple at our house every summer. I actually can’t believe I haven’t shared it til now, but since y’all loved my Gram’s Macaroni Salad so much, I thought another pasta salad was definitely in order.
To be totally honest, it’s really not only a summer staple at our house. I make it all year long. But during the summer I grill the chicken as the recipe calls for, and if I whip it up during the winter I usually use shredded rotisserie chicken. Sorry, unless it’s at least 40 degrees I’m not taking my tush outside to grill anything. It’s equally delicious with either, so you choose.
For the few tweaks, I upped the amount of pasta to a pound, because this salad is always a crowd fave and I’m not the kind of gal who likes to run out of anything when entertaining. Plus it also makes for awesome leftovers or late night trips to the fridge… you know, if you’re that kind of gal or guy. I also added some roasted red peppers because they’re my favorite, some chopped fresh basil and a sprinkle of pine nuts for added crunch. I also use the steam in the bag green beans, because during the summer it’s all about easy. I cook them according to the package directions, let them cool and then cut each bean in half. Sounds incredibly easy, am I right?
This salad is an awesome combo of flavors and textures that’s sure to be a hit at your next summer party! Enjoy!
- 16 oz. penne pasta
- 12 oz. steam in bag fresh green beans
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 1 cup roasted red peppers roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves julienned
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. prepared pesto
- 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, then rinse under cool water. Drain again, then transfer to large bowl.
Microwave beans according to package directions. Let cool, then cut each bean in half. Add to pasta along with chicken, tomatoes and red peppers.
Make dressing: In small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together until smooth.
Add dressing to pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with pine nuts and fresh basil.