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Close up image of Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad.

Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad


  • Author: Sandra Flegg
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings.

Description

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.


Ingredients

1 pkg rotini pasta 450g, 16 oz.

1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (our favourite is Paul Newman's)

1 cup Pesto (bottled or fresh)

3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I use both chicken breasts)

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced into strips

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional another 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup balsamic glaze reduction, for drizzling on top of salad (see notes for how to make it)

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/4 cup balsamic glaze reduction, for drizzling on top of salad (see notes for how to make it)


Instructions

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling, water, cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. In a small glass dish, mix together Italian salad dressing and pesto.
  3. 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).
  4. Whisk the dressing quickly again, then pour over top of salad and toss well to mix the dressing into all of the ingredients.
  5. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. If eating salad immediately, drizzle with balsamic glaze reduction. If you are eating the salad later, I suggest adding the balsamic glaze at that time. 
  7. Cover and chill in refrigerator for up to 24 hours before serving.

Notes

  1. How to make balsamic glaze reduction: In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup brown sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Mixture should be reduced by half and coat the back of a metal spoon.
  2. Storage Instructions: Cover salad and store in refrigerator for up to three days.
  3. Variations
  4. change up the pasta. Fusilli, bowtie pasta, any pasta that will hold the delicious dressing.
  5. use bocconcini cheese or shredded mozzarella in place of the Parmesan.
  6. use regular tomatoes, chopped into 1 and 1/2" cubes
  7. add in 1/2 cup chopped red, yellow or green peppers
  8. 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.
  9.  
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 helping
  • Calories: 329
  • Sugar: 5.4 g
  • Sodium: 980.2 mg
  • Fat: 19.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.1 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 20.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 46.9 mg

Keywords: Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad