We’ve given the classic chicken pesto pasta a healthy twist. It’s packed with flavour and veggies and is guaranteed to go down a treat with everyone.
Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.
Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.
Serve pasta topped with onion and parmesan. Drizzle with vinegar. Season with pepper to serve.
A good pesto chicken pasta recipe is great to have up your sleeve for a quick, healthy and flavourful dinner. This recipe combines a delicious homemade pesto with fusilli pasta and chicken breast for a fresh, vibrant and balanced dinner on the table in just 35 mins.
Hailing from Genoa, the capital city of Liguria in northern Italy, pesto is believed to have been a staple in Italian cuisine since the Middle Ages. Traditionally, pesto is made from grinding fresh and vibrant basil leaves with parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and a healthy pour of extra virgin olive oil. Like a lot of traditional Italian food, pesto is a celebration of simple ingredients that pack a huge punch of flavour. The zesty basil leaves combine with the salty cheese for an umami flavour bomb.
These days you’ll still find pesto made fresh and served in restaurants across Italy, but also around the world, with pesto not only used as a pasta sauce, but also to coat chicken or other meats, or as a condiment on salads and sandwiches, and even as a dip. While pre-made pesto has become a popular household staple, making your own from scratch will really take your pasta up a notch, and is so quick and easy to do. You can also make a double batch of the sauce and use it over a number of days to save time.
A good basil pesto with chicken is hard to beat. The strong flavours of basil pesto pair perfectly with chicken, and the two are often seen together in pasta, risottos and chicken pesto salads. Grilling succulent chicken breast and tossing through some freshly cooked pasta with a generous spoonful of pesto is an easy and homely meal.
To make this chicken pesto pasta recipe, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente. Drain well, reserving 1/3 cup (80ml) cooking liquid. Meanwhile, place the basil, spinach, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice and 1 tbs of water in the bowl of a small food processor and process until well combined. Next, heat olive oil in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken, in 2 batches, until chicken is browned and cooked through, then transfer to a plate. Add zucchini to the same frying pan and cook until lightly browned. Return the chicken to the pan with the asparagus, tomato, pasta, reserved cooking liquid and half the spinach mixture. Stir until heated through and add the rocket. Serve the chicken pesto pasta topped with onion and shaved parmesan, a drizzle of vinegar and pepper.
A flavourful pesto lends itself to many dishes, and once you’ve mastered this sauce, a world of culinary possibilities is open to you. With its punchy flavour, pesto becomes the hero of any meal and needs strong ingredients to stand up to it.
While a basil pesto is a classic flavour combination, the cause itself can be experimented with. Contemporary pesto often substitutes the basil for parsley or coriander, or with greens like kale, spinach or peppery rocket. The pine nuts can also be swapped out for different nuts for an alternative taste, with walnuts or almonds providing a delicious flavour profile.
Keen to mix it up? The addition of grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, salty olives or fresh spinach to your pesto pasta can add a new flavour dimension to the dish.
For a different take on a pesto pasta, make the most of creamy Australian avocados with an avocado pesto pasta, or hero beautiful summer greens with this broccoli and pea pesto agnolotti. For a fresh take on the classic pesto flavours, this spaghetti with kale and parsley pesto replaces the traditional basil and pine nuts with parsley and hazelnuts, adding kale and feta for more flavour and incredible colour.
A creamy chicken pasta is always a crowd-pleaser, and this creamy chicken and bacon pasta will be a hit with the whole family, while this chicken mac ‘n’ cheese with broccoli and cauliflower is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into a comfort meal. A cheesy roasted pasta bake, like this chicken and bacon pasta bake with a crispy breadcrumb and parmesan crust, or this protein packed chicken and mushroom pasta bake with added spinach, is also an instantly comforting meal.
Energy: 957kJ/468 cals (22%)
Protein: 42g (84%)
Fat: 10g (14%)
Sat fat: 3g (13%)
Carb: 44 (14%)
Sugar: 6g (7%)
Fibre: 40g (8%)
Sodium: Sodium 160mg (8%)