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.
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  1. Ramona 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. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says

    There’s never enough basil, is there? :) I thought I planted plenty this spring, but I’m already wishing I had doubled the amount. I love your pesto and the salad it became. It looks so fresh and delicious.
    The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time recently posted..Garlic-Lime Grilled Corn from Cooking Light Magazine, July 2013My Profile

  3. Monique says

    We are gowing the same things:)
    The salad looks yummy.. I am trying a new one for tonight..hope it’s good too!
    Monique recently posted..♥’s Pain A l’Ancienne~My Profile

  4. Kate says

    You are right, Marie’s book rocks! I haven’t tried the pesto as yet…this looks so yummy I think I better harvest some basil leaves!!
    Kate recently posted..Watermelon with Sweet Balsamic SyrupMy Profile

  5. Marie says

    Thank you sweet Cathy! I love the way your pasta salad sounds using green beans and artichoke hearts, right up my alley!

    Marie recently posted..Rainbow Carrot Ribbon SaladMy Profile

  6. 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!

  7. Larry says

    Your pesto and your pasta dish both look delicious. I’m downsizing my garden as well – I have traveling to do.
    Larry recently posted..Independence Day At Almost Heaven SouthMy Profile

  8. The Café Sucre Farine says

    Love that vibrant green color of your pesto Cathy. This salad sounds just wonderful, perfect for a summer cookout! I can imagine a big bowl would be gone in no time flat!
    The Café Sucre Farine recently posted..Blackberry Glazed Homemade Yeast DoughnutsMy Profile

  9. Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon says

    I just made parsley pesto, but since I propagated my basil, I now have enough for this recipe. So this is next on my list. The chicken sounds wonderful.
    Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon recently posted..Grilled Vegetable MélangeMy Profile

  10. Happier Than A Pig in Mud says

    Looks like a nice summer meal Cathy! Wishing you all the best with your 2 tomato plants, especially the beefsteak… don’t think I’ve had one of those tomatoes since my G-Mom-B grew them in her garden-enjoy:@)
    Happier Than A Pig in Mud recently posted..Lemon Sesame Chicken Shish KabobsMy Profile

  11. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says

    Love the addition of artichokes to the pasta salad. Sounds like a great ebook.
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes recently posted..Lemon Shortbread CookiesMy Profile

  12. ciaochowlinda 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.
    ciaochowlinda recently posted..AgrettiMy Profile

  13. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti says

    I love Marie and her blog! Her sauce e-cookbook has added wonderful additions to my recipe repertoire!

    Your pesto chicken pasta salad looks fantastic– perfect for a summer meal!
    Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti recently posted..A Day in the MountainsMy Profile

  14. Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) says

    I just made pesto for the first time ever a couple days ago. I’ve been wanting to find a pasta recipe that was a little bit more than just mixing pesto with pasta and voila! You’ve posted it. Sounds delicious Cathy. Pinned.
    Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) recently posted..Crockpot Rotisserie ChickenMy Profile

  15. bellini says

    I agree that Maria cooks Italian very well. She has such creative ideas.
    bellini recently posted..Celebrate the Return of the Okanagan Sockeye Salmon with Dorie Greenspan’s Salmon in a Jar for the Canadian Food Experience ProjectMy Profile

  16. Jamie 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!
    Jamie recently posted..Visual Feast V – When No One is LookingMy Profile

  17. Pam says

    I’ve been craving pesto lately. This pasta salad looks amazing.
    Pam recently posted..Dry-Rub Chicken with Honey Barbecue SauceMy Profile

  18. Red Nomad OZ says

    Of course a touch of RED will improve pretty much anything!! I’m SO with you on basil being the smell and taste of summer … but I’ll have to wait another few months to experience it!!
    Red Nomad OZ recently posted..Beauty and the Bridge!My Profile

  19. Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen says

    What a lovely green and white pasta salad. Love all of the vegetables in it and homemade pesto is always superior to bought.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Red, White, and Blue Watermelon SaladMy Profile

  20. JG says

    What a great salad with the green beans added! It looks yummy.
    JG recently posted..Blueberry/ Raspberry MuffinsMy Profile

  21. Martha 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 :)
    Martha recently posted..Deals of the DayMy Profile

  22. Karen says

    I made a spinach-basil pesto a few weeks ago… delicious!
    Karen recently posted..Tuscan Spinach-Basil Pesto SaladMy Profile

  23. Susan says

    I have an abundance of basil right now and this looks like the perfect way to use it! I have to check out that ebook!
    Susan recently posted..Almond Cake with Fresh BerriesMy Profile

  24. Adri 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!

  25. Roz says

    What a great way to improve chicken salad! Love the addition of artichokes too Cathy, I need to start adding those for another level of flavor!
    Roz recently posted..Italian Tuna Pasta SaladMy Profile

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