This Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad is about speed, simplicity and flavour! All you have to do is cook the pasta and toss the ingredients in a bowl. Delicious as a main dish or side salad for your favourite meal. It's the perfect salad to go with your next backyard bbq get together!
YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE!
Looking for a delicious salad that won't keep you in the kitchen for more than 20 minutes? This is it!
Rotisserie chicken, bottled salad dressing, and bottled pesto makes this recipe super quick and easy.
You can also make my pesto recipe to go with this salad, but I understand sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table quickly.
This salad is delicious as soon as it's mixed and even good warm. It's also so flavourful after chilling in the fridge for a few hours and the flavours have soaked right into the pasta.
INGREDIENTS & SUBSTITUTIONS
- shredded rotisserie chicken. I used two full chicken breasts in this salad which was about 3 cups.
- cooked pasta - rotini is the perfect choice for this recipe because the dressing sticks to this shape very well. You could use fusilli, bowtie pasta or penne.
- fresh basil - is a key ingredients in this recipe and I do not recommend dried as a substitute. You can find it in the salad section in the grocery store.
- baby spinach - adds flavour and colour to the salad. You could also use fresh arugula.
- grape tomatoes - or cherry tomatoes. In a pinch, you could use regular tomatoes and cube them.
- sun dried tomatoes are optional - add in ½ cup for a tasty alternative.
- bottled Italian salad dressing. I love Paul Newman's brand or you can use your favourite!
- red pepper flakes - a sprinkle gives this salad a nice kick
- salt & pepper to taste
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- balsamic reduction glaze - this is quick and easy to make on the stovetop or you can buy it bottled in the grocery store. (recipe included in Notes section of recipe card below).
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Cook pasta for 8-10 minutes or as directed on package until al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together Italian salad dressing and pesto.
In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, chopped spinach, chopped basil, Parmesan cheese, sliced grape tomatoes and shredded chicken. Add in sun-dried tomatoes (optional).
Pour dressing over top of salad and toss well to mix dressing into all of the ingredients.
Cover salad and store in refrigerator for up to three days.
If you're looking for other ways to enjoy this salad, check these out:
- change up the pasta. Fusilli, bowtie pasta, any pasta that will hold the delicious dressing.
- use bocconcini cheese or shredded mozzarella in place of the Parmesan.
- use regular tomatoes, chopped into 1 and ½" cubes
- add in ½ cup chopped red, yellow or green peppers
- substitute arugula for the chopped spinach. Or use both! Even massaged kale would be delicious! You can find the directions for how to prep the kale in my Kale salad recipe.
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