Chicken and pesto pasta salad

Angela Nilsens chicken salad with pappardelle pasta, tenderstem broccoli, asparagus and a pesto dressing is perfect for a summery lunch, supper or picnic
By Angela Nilsen
Chicken and pesto pasta salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the chicken:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 plump garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp good quality pesto
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest

For the pasta:

  • 115 g pappardelle
  • 100 g tenderstem broccoli, halved lengthways
  • 100 g asparagus, halved lengthways
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
  • 2 handfuls rocket
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • parmesan shavings, to serve

Tips and Suggestions

Wide strips of pappardelle make an interesting base for this salad, but fettuccine also works well.

Use a vegetable peeler if you want to create thin shavings of parmesan for serving with the salad.


1. For the chicken: In a shallow dish, mix together the oil, lemon juice and garlic with some salt and pepper. Sit the chicken breasts in the dish, turn them in the marinade to coat all over, then set aside for 10 minutes, turning half way through and coating with the oil again.

2. For the dressing: Meanwhile, mix the dressing by stirring the pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and some pepper together in a small bowl.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan, lay the chicken breasts in the hot pan, skinned side down, and fry over a medium heat, without moving them, for 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary so they dont burn. Turn over and fry for a further 5 minutes, until well browned and cooked. Remove and set aside to cool slightly and then cut into slices then strips.

4. For the pasta: Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling, salted water for 7 minutes. Add the broccoli to the water and cook for 1 minute, then add the asparagus and cook a further 2-3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the vegetables tender-crisp. Tip into a colander, put very briefly under running cold water, drain well then tip the pasta and vegetables into a large bowl and immediately toss with the lemony pesto dressing while everything is still slightly warm. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to cool a bit more.

5. Toss the parsley and rocket into the pasta salad with the pine nuts, chicken strips and salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature with parmesan for scattering over.

Love eating chicken? Take a look at lots more of our chicken salad recipes.

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