Chicken & Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad
This chicken and broccoli pesto pasta with sundried tomatoes is a family favourite dish – you can enjoy it hot, but it’s just as good the next day as a pasta salad! It’s particularly perfect for lunch boxes.
I am a big fan of simple dishes – especially when they taste as vibrant as this! It’s my go-to pasta salad, so it’s definitely about time that I shared the recipe with you!
This chicken pesto pasta salad is a very popular quick meal in our house – mainly during summer, although we do make it all year-round for lunch boxes as it’s absolutely brilliant cold even if it’s often leftovers from eating it hot the previous night!
If you’re going on a picnic or need a salad for a BBQ or other Summer gathering then this chicken and broccoli pasta works perfectly!
A big part of why I love this pesto pasta is that it’s light and healthy. The other reason is how easy it is to make. After all, you really just need to mix it all together and serve it! It’s also very child-friendly too – perfect as an easy packed lunch for school during the warmer months!
What do I need to make this chicken pesto pasta salad?
You don’t need anything rare, complicated or expensive – it’s a cheap, cheerful and delicious dish without needing to be made fancy!
- 1 red onion – because no pasta is complete without them!
- 2 cloves of garlic – after all, who doesn’t love it?
- A glug of olive oil – probably not a technical term, but it does work as a measurement since it’s mostly to-taste anyway!
- 3 chicken breasts – after all, a chicken pasta salad has to have them!
- 150 grams pesto – store-bought is just fine, but if you want to make your own then go for it!
- Plenty of pasta – I like to use a fairly small shape like mini shells as they hold the pesto sauce and chicken very well.
- 150 grams sundried tomatoes – they have a gorgeous rich flavour that really adds to the final dish.
- A handful of parsley – you could swap it for another herb like basil if you like, but I personally just adore parsley!
- 200 grams of tenderstem broccoli – again, it wouldn’t be a broccoli pasta salad without it!
I particularly love the fresh parsley in the broccoli pesto pasta – to the point that it’s now one of my favourite herbs! The smell and taste are so green and earthy – somehow it just feels so healthy! I have been trying to grow my own, but sadly it hasn’t been much of a success!
How do I make this broccoli pesto pasta?
This simple, easy recipe is really almost too easy to make!
- Place a pan over medium heat with the olive oil, and once hot, add the chopped red onion
- When the onion is soft, add the garlic and let it soften
- Slice the chicken and add it to the pan
- When the chicken is nearly cooked, add the pesto and mix it in
- Cook the pasta in a separate pan following the package instructions. 10 minutes before the end, add the broccoli to a colander and place it over the pasts to steam for 8-10 minutes
- When the pasta is nearly cooked, add the sundried tomatoes and a little bit of the oil that they’re in, as well as the parsley to the chicken mixture. If the mix is a little dry, add a little bit of stock or water
- Drain the pasta and mix both the pasta and broccoli into the chicken mix
- Enjoy either straight away or leave to cool before placing in the fridge to chill and serve later
This recipe isn’t just simple – it’s actually very healthy too! I chose to steam the broccoli until it’s still a bit al dente. That way, it works perfectly with the soft tomatoes and pasta to provide a variety of textures! Personally, I really hate overcooked broccoli – it still needs some bite left to be delicious to me.
I like to serve this chicken pesto pasta salad alongside some nice crusty bread (particularly focaccia) to mop up any leftover pesto sauce. I usually serve it alone as a main dish, but you can just as easily serve it as a side salad at a BBQ or picnic.
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Chicken & Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad
- 450 g pasta of your choice
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 glug olive oil
- 3 chicken breasts
- 150 grams pesto shop bought or make your own
- 150 grams sundried tomatoes
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 200 grams tenderstem broccoli
- Chop the red onion and add it to a pan with the olive oil on medium heat.
- When the onion is soft add the garlic and leave to soften.
- Slice the chicken and to the pan.
- When the chicken is nearly cooked add the pesto and mix in.
- Put the pasta as per the cooking instructions. 10 minutes before the end add the broccoli to a colander and place over the pasta to steam for about 8-10 minutes.
- When the pasta is nearly cooked add the sundried tomatoes and a little of oil they’re in plus the parsley to the chicken. If the mix is a little dry add a little stock or water.
- Drain the pasta and mix it into the chicken along with the broccoli.
- Serve straight away. Any leftovers are perfect to enjoy the next day for lunch boxes.
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