Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad is the perfect main or side dish! Made with farfalle pasta, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella pearls, and spinach tossed with pesto and Italian dressing. This Pesto Pasta Salad is so flavorful and delicious!
Pesto makes everything better! Not only does it taste AMAZING it is such a beautiful and vibrant green. My recipe for Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad is quick to make and full of flavor. You can either make homemade pesto or buy your favorite pesto. I really like the pesto from Costco.
This Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad is the perfect main dish! It tastes great for days too, I like to have it for lunches. And it also is a fabulous side dish, especially for potlucks or at BBQs. For years you all have loved my super simple recipe for Pesto Pasta Salad but today that recipe gets an upgrade with a few added ingredients.
Ingredients in CHICKEN PESTO PASTA SALAD:
- Chicken– Cooked anyway but grilled is my favorite
- Farfalle Pasta– or another pasta would be fine
- Pesto– Homemade or store-bought
- Italian Dressing– I used Olive Garden Italian dressing but any kind is good
- Baby Spinach– You can decide if you want to add 2 or 3 cups.
- Cherry Tomatoes– Cut in half
- Fresh Mozzarella Pearls– I found some at Smith’s but not all grocery stores have it. You can also use another type of fresh mozzarella or just a block of mozzarella cut into smaller pieces.
- Parmesan Cheese– Two kinds of cheese are always better than one! Freshly grated is always a good idea where possible.
- Salt and Pepper– Add to taste but don’t skimp! I love to add kosher salt to this pasta salad.
- Optional- Pine Nuts and/or Basil– Up to you if you want to add these! Or any other vegetable, etc. you think would go great in this salad.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PESTO PASTA SALAD:
- Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain well.
- In a large bowl mix together the pasta, pesto, and Italian dressing.
- Add in the cooked chicken, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Chill and serve!
I love how simple and quick this recipe is to put together. I shared with a bunch of my neighbors and it was a hit! You can’t go wrong with a pasta salad full of flavor and delicious ingredients!
More Delicious Salad Recipes!
- 2 cups cooked chicken breasts, diced (grilled is my favorite)
- 12 oz. farfalle pasta (bowtie), uncooked
- 1 cup pesto
- ¼ cup Italian dressing
- 2-3 cups baby spinach
- 10 oz. (about 2 cups) cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls (or fresh mozzarella cut into cubes)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste (kosher salt is preferred)
- optional: pine nuts, basil, cut into small strips…
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water, until al dente, according to instructions on the package. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Shake out any excess water.
2. Place pasta in a large bowl and stir in the pesto and Italian dressing. Add the cooked chicken and add to the bowl along with the baby spinach. Fold in the tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add olive oil or more Italian dressing if the mixture seems dry.
3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving give it a stir.
4. Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.