Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken

Pesto Pasta Salad is a satisfying fresh summer side, bursting with flavor!!!  With grilled chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, and a homemade fresh basil pesto this recipe is perfect for a summer potluck!


To make this pesto pasta salad recipe you'll need a fresh basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, cooked rotini noodles, mozzarella pearls, pine nuts, shredded parmesan cheese, and chopped basil. Toss it all together for your favorite new pasta salad!

Hi guys! It’s Aimee from Like Mother, Like Daughter here again to share this yummy pesto pasta salad with you! This pasta salad is a new favorite of mine and I'm going to be enjoying it all summer long. Its inspired by a favorite pizza I like to get at a local pizza place which is topped with pesto, mozzarella, shredded chicken and cherry tomatoes!

This pesto pasta salad makes a lot, so it’s perfect for a summer bbq or potluck! You can easily cut the recipe in half though if you don't want to make as much!

Now that we are ready for warmer weather, I think we're ready for a summer bbq with this pesto pasta salad, some hawaiian ham kabobs, or some bbq pulled pork! Cool off with these lemon cheesecake bars for dessert!

This cold pesto pasta salad is such a refreshing and flavorful dish! Everyone will love it!

Deconstructed Pesto Pasta Salad in a Bowl

Helpful Tips to make Pesto Pasta Salad:

  • Use your favorite store bought pesto instead of homemade pesto to make it quicker to throw everything together.
  • Instead of cooking up your own chicken, you can also use a rotisserie chicken! It’s a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken meat. Have it for dinner one night, and use the leftovers the next day for this chicken pesto pasta salad!
  • This is a great dish to make ahead since it tastes best after everything has set together in the fridge for a couple hours. Make it the night before a bbq so you don't have to stress about it the day of! 
  • This pesto pasta salad should stay good in your fridge for about 5 days if it even lasts that long before you eat it all ;)

What you will need to make Pesto Pasta Salad:

  • Colanderthis kitchen essential makes life so much easier!  You can use it to drain pasta or wash veggies and fruit.
  • Cutting Board- A big good solid cutting board so you can prep all your veggies on one surface.  I use my cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment. 
  • Quality Knives- Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well.  If you make one kitchen investment, I believe it should be in quality knives.

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Close up of Pesto Pasta Salad

Yield: SERVES 8

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad is a satisfying fresh summer side, bursting with flavor!!! With chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, and a fresh basil pesto this recipe is perfect for a summer potluck!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 30 mins


  • 1 cup pesto (recipe to follow, or store bought)
  • 16 ounces rotini pasta
  • 2 large chicken breasts (or about 2 cups cooked grilled chicken)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces mozzarella pearls
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Fresh Basil Pesto

  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water when done.
  2. Grill chicken breasts over medium-high heat, seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper, flipping after about 5 minutes. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before dicing up.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto:  Add the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper to a food processor. Blend until the mixture is mostly smooth, and reaches desired consistency. Set aside.
  4. In a small pan add pine nuts and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes until they are nice and toasted.
  5. In a large bowl, add cooked pasta, chicken, pine nuts, tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh basil. Top with pesto and stir it all together to combine.
  6. Cover and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.

Cook's Notes

Pasta salad will stay good covered in the fridge for about 5 days.

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