This quick and simple Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe, is light but creamy, fresh and healthy! From fridge to table in under 30 minutes it is a perfect fast midweek dinner, the whole family will love.
Pesto pasta is the dinner time saviour of busy lives everywhere. But, I’m going to be honest with you dear friends, after eating it with toddlers about three times a week for two years, it had rather (happily) fallen off of my meal plans for a while.
I decided to resurrect it this week because:
✅ A really quick, midweek assembly job dinner.
✅ It makes great lunchbox leftovers
✅ My children LOVE it and sometimes, we all need a no moaning dinner option, right?
How to make Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta:
Firstly, preheat your grill to high.
Flatten your chicken breasts (fillets). I flatten mine by laying them between sheets of cling film and bashing with a rolling pin.
Pop the chicken onto a baking tray and cook one side under the grill for 5 minutes, turn over and spread a teaspoon of the pesto onto each one and pop back under the grill for another 5 minutes or until cooked through.
Whilst the chicken is cooking away cook your dried pasta according to the instructions, and your preference. I find around 10 minutes gives the perfect bite. About 4 minutes before the end of the pasta cooking time, add the green beans.
Once the pasta is fully cooked stir in: Creme Fraiche, cherry tomatoes, green beans, salt and pepper and the grilled chicken.
Serve sprinkled with pine nuts and mozzarella pearls.
Ingredients for the Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe:
Chicken – I use (flattened) chicken breasts (or fillets) for this recipe, as they cook really quickly. You could use boneless thighs if you’d prefer but they’d take longer to cook. You could also use pre-cooked or leftover chicken if you prefer.
Pesto – I tend to buy fresh, supermarket ready made pesto for this recipe as it is such a key part of the recipe and really makes it feel a bit special. Pesto from a jar is fine though.
Pasta – You could also use fresh pasta in place of dried to reduce your cooking time. You could also use wholemeal pasta instead to increase the fibre content and make the meal a little more healthy. (You may find this needs a slightly longer cooking time so be sure to test.)
Vegetables – You can vary the vegetables used in this recipe to whatever you prefer. It would be delicious with spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, mange tout and also frozen peas.
Creme Fraiche – For a simple way to make this recipe healthier without compromising on taste, use half fat Creme Fraiche.
Variations on this Chicken Pesto pasta recipe:
- Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake – To make this a pasta BAKE, just save the mozzarella, when everything else is mixed together, pop into a baking dish, top with the mozzarella cheese and put into a hot oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Chicken Red Pesto Pasta – Just replace the green pesto with red pesto if you prefer, or fancy a change.
- Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad – Simply chill everything to use as a cold pasta dish, perfect for lunchtimes. This is also a great recipe for meal prepping – serve warm as a dinner and use these handy containers to store the leftovers for a lunch later in the week.
Tips on making Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta:
- If you prefer, you can oven cook the chicken breasts for between 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.
- This recipe can easily be made gluten free by using a gluten free pasta, or for a low carbohydrate diet try using spelt pasta or making courgetti using courgettes and a spirilizer.
- To appeal to children and add variety vary the shapes of pasta that you use. Spaghetti, conchiglie, cavatapi, fusilli: you name it, it all works well.
- If you are following Slimming world you may wish to try making my homemade syn free pesto – and then you can follow this recipe (removing the Creme Fraiche and the Mozzarella).
- For a quick, Vegetarian budget friendly version, remove the chicken, also be sure to source vegetarian pesto or make your own using a vegetarian hard cheese rather than pesto (as above my Homemade Pesto Recipe would be suitable.)
Need some midweek recipe inspiration…? Look at these:
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I’d love to know how you got on and what you thought of it if you make this Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe. Please rate the recipe and leave me a comment below if you do.
How to make this Easy Chicken Pasta Pesto recipe:
Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 400 g Chicken breast fillets, skinless and boneless 2 x Chicken breasts
- 145 g Fresh pesto
- 350 g Dried pasta
- 200 g Green beans
- 200 g Cherry tomatoes Halved
- 2 tbsp Creme fraiche
- Salt and pepper
To serve (optional)
- 20 g Pine nuts
- 100 g Mozzarella pearls
- Preheat the grill to hot.
- Flatten your chicken breasts (I do this by laying them between sheets of cling film and bashing with a rolling pin). Pop them onto a baking tray and cook one side under the grill for 5 minutes, turn over and spread a teaspoon of the pesto onto each one and pop back under the grill for another 5 minutes or until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes or according to pack instructions.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking halve the cherry tomatoes, and trim the green beans as necessary.
- 4 minutes before the end of the cooking time, throw in the green beans with the boiling pasta.
- Cut the chicken into thin slices.
- Drain the pasta and beans, stir in the rest of the pasta, the cherry tomato halves, the creme fraiche, chicken,salt and pepper and pine nuts.
- This is the perfect store cupboard recipe as you can substitute fresh pesto for jarred if you need to. Fresh Pesto is more flavoursome however, it will still taste great with another longlife version, perfect for rustling up meals quickly!
- You can also use a lighter version of Creme Fraiche to reduce the fat levels in this recipe.
- For even greater time saving you can use fresh pasta.
- Flatter chicken breasts (fillets) will cook more quickly. I flatten mine by laying them between sheets of cling film and bashing with a rolling pin.