Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken
Pasta salad with whole-grain rotini pasta and chicken tossed with a homemade cilantro pesto sauce.
total time: 40 minutes
recipe by: Frankie
- 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound whole grain rotini pasta
- CILANTRO PESTO:
- 2 bunches of cilantro leaves and stems (about 5 ounces)
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- In a large mixing bowl stir together the 1 TBSP olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper until well combined.
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces then add to the bowl and toss to coat evenly in the oil.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a large clean serving bowl and set aside to cool.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions then drain and rinse the pasta under cold water and place in the bowl with the chicken.
- MAKE THE CILANTRO PESTO: Add the cilantro leaves and stems, walnuts, onion, garlic, and lemon juice to a food processor or blender and pulse into a paste. Scrape the mixture into a separate bowl then stir in the olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper until well combined.
- Scrape the pesto into the bowl with the chicken and pasta and gently stir until well combined.
- Taste the pasta salad and season with additional salt & pepper if needed.
- Serve right away or cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
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