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Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken

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Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken

Pasta salad with whole-grain rotini pasta and chicken tossed with a homemade cilantro pesto sauce.

Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken recipe

servings: 4

total time: 40 minutes

recipe by: 


  • 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
  • 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


  1. In a large mixing bowl stir together the 1 TBSP olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper until well combined.

  2. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces then add to the bowl and toss to coat evenly in the oil.

  3. 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.

  4. Transfer the chicken to a large clean serving bowl and set aside to cool.

  5. Cook the pasta according to package directions then drain and rinse the pasta under cold water and place in the bowl with the chicken.

  6. 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.

  7. Scrape the pesto into the bowl with the chicken and pasta and gently stir until well combined.

  8. Taste the pasta salad and season with additional salt & pepper if needed.

  9. Serve right away or cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

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Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken


Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad with Chicken

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