Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

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A long, long time ago I worked for a local brick manufacturer. Acme Brick. Ever heard of them? ( I started working there when I was 17 years old.)

This is where I met a good friend of mine, Lisa. Still to this day we keep in touch.

At least once a week Lisa and I would go to this yummy deli down the street and order this pesto pasta with pine nuts and chunks of cheese.

It was to die for.

Until we over indulged.

We ate it so often that eventually I could not stand the smell of pesto. I went about 10+ years wanting to gag when I would get a whiff of it.

A few years ago I longed for some pesto pasta salad like we used to eat at that nifty little deli.

I added some chicken to it and made it a yummy dinner meal.

This is a super simple recipe that is easily at the table in 30 minutes or less.

The longest step is waiting for your water to boil.



  • 2 cups cooked chicken (I used 4 grilled chicken breasts)
  • 1 box of bow tie pasta
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 7-8 oz of pesto sauce (more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (more or less based on your liking)


Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, chop your cooked chicken.

You could use chicken that you grilled from a previous dinner, chicken that you cooked in the crockpot during the day, or a rotisserie chicken you grabbed from the deli at the grocery store. I used 4 grilled chicken breasts that I cooked in mass quantity a few nights before.

Take your block of mozerella cheese and cube into small bite sizes pieces.

Once your water comes to a boil, add the pasta and let it cook until al dente. Likely 9-11 minutes.

Once your pasta is done cooking drain and rise in cool water. Transfer it to the bowl you would like to serve the pasta in.

This is where the pesto sauce comes in.

You can certainly make it yourself, but I like to purchase it already made. You will find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.

Dump the pesto sauce over your noodles and stir to coat evenly.

Measure out 1/2 cup of pine nuts. I love pine nuts, but if your family is not fond of them, you can certainly do less- maybe just a handful.

Add the chopped chicken, the cubed cheese and the pine nuts to your pasta and stir to mix.

Plate it up and you’re good to go.

Whatever is leftover you can refrigerate and serve chilled within the next day or so.

Super simple, or what?


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  1. oh my word, i was just thinking of making this!! looks so yummy!

    thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my freezer meals & also for sharing them with your FB readers ~ i really appreciate it!!

    1. Angie- you’re very welcome! Thanks for swinging by my site.

      The pasta dish is awesome. Esp if you love pesto and pasta!

  2. Christine says:

    sounds easy enough……and yummy. I think I’ll give it a try.

    1. thank yoou for the recipe 🙂 🙂 I am from Croatia, I will be glad to check it

  3. YUM! This looks so good…and I love Buitini basil pesto on pretty much anything. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. WOW! That IS simple! I love pesto and I’m always looking for recipes to use cooked chicken in. TFS!

  5. Looks delicious! Glad I found you over at Balancing B&B today. Will be adding your recipe to my menu plan next week. 🙂 Blessings, ~Lisa

    1. That is so great to hear, Lisa! Let me know how much you love it. 🙂

  6. Sounds yummy! I’ve been trying to come up with new pesto recipes 🙂

    1. Diana- you can also just cook chicken breasts in the crockpot that are covered in pesto sauce. Yum.

  7. The best! I make something really similar on weeknights when I don’t really feel like cooking. Plus, it’s good leftover hot or cold!

  8. oh that is definitely yummy. I am going to pin that on pineinterest.

  9. This looks delicious. Thanks for posting!

  10. That looks absolutely delicious … I’ll definitely be making it. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Super easy, super delicious! I love the back story for why you lost the taste for pesto…and then craved it again after ten+ years. I also love pesto and after reading this, I’ve decided to walk out to the garden and pick a bunch of basil to make some tonight! Thanks for linking to Food on Fridays.

  12. Some cherry tomatoes cut in half would give it nice color and flavor.

    1. That is a great suggestion, Anton! I will have to try that.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Hi Crystal,
    It is truly a small world, I have a friend that works for Acme Brick and she too is a great cook. This is a wonderful summertime salad that is full of flavor! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and sure hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen

  14. Pre-packaged pesto is a gift from heaven, I’m convinced. I wish I hadn’t visited before lunch – nothing will live up to this, I’m sure! 😉

  15. Roberta Knapp says:

    Let me know how much you love it. Esp if you love pesto and pasta! oh my word, i was just thinking of making this!!

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