Pesto & Chicken Salad recipe

Tuesday, 30 April 2019
Pesto & Chicken Salad recipe
This Pesto & Chicken Salad recipe was created for our staff recipe book by student dietitian Laura and Inspiro health promotion officer Toby. It has two possible ways to make the pesto component, one from Laura and one from Toby. If you are running short for time or can't access the needed ingredients then you can substitute making the pesto yourself for buying it at the supermarket.

This recipe is a simple and easy meal, great if you don't have a lot of time (if that's you then you might want to choose pesto option number 3). If you have do have a bit of time on your hands then you'll probably find that making the hand made  pesto is a delicious and enjoyable way to spend it.

Often when we don't have a lot of time we snack on unhealthy foods. If you ever find yourself doing this then this list of 14 Dietitian approved healthy plant based snacks could be perfect for you.



Healthy Mexican Bowls recipe:
 Mexican Bowls (or Burrito Bowls as some people call them

Healthy pasta salad: Risoni and broccoli pasta salad recipe

Making healthy eating easy:
 Making simple, gradual substitutions in your meals and snacks


Pesto and chicken salad recipe from Laura and Toby

Prep: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6


Per 225g (approx 1 cup) Serve:
Energy: 2203 kJ
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 32. g
Saturated fat: 6 g
Carbohydrate: 35 g
Sodium: 588 mg


● 250g penne pasta (or fusilli, shells etc)
● 2 skinless chicken thighs,thinly sliced into 3 cm pieces
● ½ cup sun dried tomatoes
● 1 cup spinach
● 2 slices pancetta, cut into ~1 cm pieces
● 1 avocado,cubed
● ½ cup pitted black olives, chopped
● ¼ cup shredded parmesan

Pesto and chicken salad recipe pesto options

Pesto option 1 (Laura)

● ¼ cup pine nuts
● 1½ cups fresh basil
● 2 garlic cloves
● ¾ cup shredded parmesan
● 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pesto option 2 (Toby)

● ¼ cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds (roasted)
● 1½ cups fresh basil
● 2 garlic cloves
● 2 Avocado - mashed
● 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pesto option 3

To save time, or if the ingredients you need are unavailable, you can substitute making the pesto yourself for a medium sized jar of store bought pesto.

How to prepare your chicken and pesto salad

STEP 1. Bring water to the boil. Cook pasta as per packet instructions. Drain.
STEP 2. Heat non-stick pan.and lightly fry chicken pieces for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
STEP 3. Add pancetta, tomatoes, spinach and drained pasta to the pan, and leave on heat for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
STEP 4. Meanwhile, add all pesto ingredients into a food processor, and blend until smooth.
STEP 5. Transfer pasta mixture into a large bowl and add avocado and olives. Mix thoroughly. Add pesto and stir through mixture. Top with extra parmesan and basil.

Get 25 healthy recipes from our dietitians here:

25 healthy recipes from our dietitians 

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