Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad


 I have had large gardens for years but as each season goes by my garden gets smaller and smaller.  This summer I’m down to two tomato plants in large pots on the patio, half a dozen potted herbs and one giant pot of basil.  If all goes well I will get a ton of tomatoes off of my 2 plants…1 cherry and 1 beefsteak…and enough basil to satisfy my love of homemade pesto.  If summer has a fragrance I think it is basil that is warm from the sun.  It’s just intoxicating.  This recipe for pesto chicken pasta salad is one of my favorite summer entrees.  The original recipe was in an issue of Bon Appetit in the late 1970’s and I’ve tweaked it over the years until I got it just right…to my taste anyway.


Pesto is so quick and easy to make. Just whiz a short list of ingredients in a food processor for a few seconds and you have a sauce that has so much flavor and can be used in so many ways in summer menus.  I love it spread on a cheese and tomato sandwich before it is grilled.  This dressing recipe is delicious on mixed greens and is a yummy dip for fresh veggies.  


My friend, Marie, at PROUD ITALIAN COOK,  recently wrote an ebook of her family’s favorite Italian Sauces.   We love every recipe we have tried thus far, particularly her recipe for pesto.  She includes an ingredient that I have never added to my pesto…something that brings out the flavors of the basil, garlic and cheese in this incredibly delicious sauce.   

Italian Sauces My Way E-Book

 Marie’s ebook contains 20 fantastic recipes for authentic Italian sauces.  Just click on the above image to find out what they are. If you love Italian food as much as we do I know you will want to add this ebook to your recipe collection.  My freezer is well stocked with containers of Marie’s Basic Marinara Sauce and in a flash it can be turned into sauces like Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Vodka Cream Sauce.  If you don’t already know Marie I urge you to visit PROUD ITALIAN COOK asap.  Nobody cooks Italian like she does. 

Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad

This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm.  

Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad
: 6-8 servings
  • 1 cup homemade basil pesto
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pound pasta
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ½ pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked till tender
  • 1 cup cooked small artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  1. Combine the pesto, mayonnaise and lemon juice and mix well.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. In a large bowl combine green onions, green beans, artichoke hearts, chicken and pasta.
  3. Add half the pesto dressing and combine well. Add more to suit your taste.
  4. Best served at room temperature.
The next time I make this pasta salad I am going to add thin slices of roasted red pepper. The touch of red will be a nice addition.


  1. says

    Your garden sounds about a big as mine this year. Pots on the porch. The hubby tore his rotator cup and could not do a garden this year.

    Looks wonderful.

  2. Aimee says

    Our veggie garden is pretty small too and confined to wine barrels near and on the deck because I hate the snakes that live where our garden used to be :)
    Mmm–this looks great for those hot summer eves–with or without the addition of red pepper!

  3. says

    Cathy – I’m with you on what you say about Marie. She’s the best. You have also given me the perfect thing to make for dinner on Thursday night, as I await a friend arriving late from California. It will be in the fridge and most welcome when she gets here.
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  4. says

    I love this salad – the flavors are beautiful and make the perfect summer salad. I need to make homemade pesto more often. And turning it into a salad rather than just eating it warm over pasta is fabulous…. I must check out Marie’s cookbook. Sauces have always made me nervous and I’ll bet her are amazing!
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  5. says

    Isn’t fresh basil the best thing ever?! It’s one thing I always grow even if not another thing makes it to the garden for the year. I love pesto. I’ve been making a hot pasta with chicken and pesto for years. Love this version with the added ingredients whether served hot or cold – although I suppose I might skip the mayo if serving hot – maybe add it the next day for a cold salad using the leftovers. Slivers of prosciutto or a little crumbled bacon on top would be great too :)
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  6. says

    What a great salad! This is dinner tonight – the basil outside looks great, and there is a rotisserie chicken in my refrigerator. And I’m with you on Marie. She rocks! Grazie!

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