This chicken pesto pasta utilizes the delicious green flavor of broccoli to create a unique and tasty dish that's full of nutrients! Creamy pesto pasta with chicken provides all of the necessary protein and carbs to go along with the health benefits of broccoli pesto. A perfect, easy to put together meal that's always a winner!
👩🏻🍳 Why You'll Love This Recipe
Is it comfort food, or is it a healthy dinner? This chicken pesto pasta with broccoli is both!! Wide ribbon noodles and creamy, thick pesto make this recipe rich and filling, yet the broccoli, basil, and lean chicken provide lots of nutritional value.
If your kids are anything like mine, they love pasta. Various chicken and pasta recipes are among their favorites, without a doubt.
They especially love ribbon noodles. I love the wide ribbons because all that surface area makes them great vehicles for getting lots of the yummy, healthy broccoli pesto into my boys! If you're interested in how to make Broccoli Pesto for yourself, go ahead and check out the recipe!
The best part was that the kids did not even realize that the pesto contained broccoli. Your family will love this recipe, and you are going to feel so good knowing they are getting all that good nutrition!
For another easy but impressive chicken dish, check out this Easy Chicken Fricassee.
🥘 Ingredients Needed
For a complete list of ingredients, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- noodles - I used wide egg noodles so they could carry lots of delicious pesto, but any kind of pasta works.
- chicken breast - great for lean protein.
- broccoli - gives this dish a boost of nutrition and green flavor.
- basil - provides a refreshing grassiness to pair with the broccoli.
- pine nuts - a common ingredient used in pesto.
- Parmesan cheese - every good pasta dish needs some cheese!
- lemon juice - helps bring out some of the more muted flavors from the vegetables.
- minced garlic
- olive oil
Please note: This is an overview of the instructions. You'll find the complete instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Boil water and cook noodles according to package.
- Drain water and return noodles to the pot.
- Add broccoli pesto and cubed cooked chicken into the pot with the noodles. Check out this post for more information on how to make your broccoli pesto.
- Stir to combine and ensure everything is heated through. Optional garnish with broccoli florets or more basil leaves, and serve!
- Rub both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
- Spray a skillet with some cooking spray and brown on each side for about 3 minutes.
- Add some water to the pan, cover with a lid, and cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Check to ensure the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
Pesto can also be used as a dip for appetizers or a charcuterie board, as a salad dressing, a pizza topping, a spread for sandwiches, or even as an addition to breakfast!
Yes, there's no additional preparation that needs to be done before you eat or use pesto.
Something like rotini or fusilli is good for a pesto dish, since the grooves in the pasta hold lots of delicious sauce. Bow ties would also be a cute option!
Yes, this dish is good when served cold as a sort of pesto pasta salad!
Make sure you stir the pasta frequently while you are cooking it. After you drain it, toss it right away with some pesto, or a little olive oil if you aren't ready with the pesto yet. If you are making a different pasta dish, toss it with a little of whatever sauce you are using.
Chicken pesto pasta should last 4 or 5 days in the fridge if you're sure to store it in an airtight container.
Reheating leftovers can be done easily in the microwave. You can also transfer your pasta to a pot with a little bit of oil and heat it over medium heat until everything is warmed through. This dish is also delicious served cold!
Leftovers can also be frozen for about 4 months. To reheat, just thaw (best to leave it in the fridge overnight to let it defrost) and then follow one of the methods above!
💭 Helpful Tips
- For even more flavorful pasta, add some salt into the water before boiling. 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 quarts of water is a good rule of thumb.
- If your pesto is a bit thin or you just want a thicker sauce, add more of the non-liquid ingredients, a small bit at a time, and pulse the mixture together until you achieve the desired consistency.
Chicken pesto pasta with broccoli is packed full of tasty ingredients that bring a lot of nutrition to the table. Best of all, it's so delicious you won't even realize how healthy it is!
- You can use whatever kind of noodles you like for this recipe! I used wide ribbon noodles here to get lots of surface area for pesto to stick to, but any kind of pasta will be delicious.
- This dish is also a great way to use leftover turkey! Just substitute it for the cooked chicken.
- Stir in some spinach, green beans, tomatoes, peas, mushrooms, or zucchini for more color, flavor, and nutrition!
🥗 Suggested Side Dishes
These delicious sides will pair perfectly with your chicken pesto pasta!
🍝 More Great Pasta Recipes
If this chicken pesto pasta has you in the mood for more noodles, here are some of my family's favorite pasta dishes!
For a quick, easy pasta dish with a little zing to it, try this Spicy Tortellini Skillet Dinner with Tomatoes.
Check out this story on how to make Chicken Pesto Broccoli Pasta!
Chicken Pesto Pasta with Broccoli
Love this recipe? Awesome! Please give it a 5 star ⭐ rating below! And if you make this, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram. You can find me at DizzyBusyandHungry or #dizzybusyandhungry!
(Pssst...if you are in the mood for chicken and pesto without all the carbs of pasta, try my Baked Pesto Chicken recipe!)
📋 Recipe Card
Chicken Pesto Pasta with Broccoli
- 12 ounces noodles (regular or whole grain) (1 package)
- 1 ½ cups chicken (approximately 1 large chicken breast) (cooked and cubed)
For the pesto:
- 1 cup broccoli florets (can be fresh, or thawed from frozen)
- 20 large basil leaves (set aside some additional basil leaves for garnish, if desired)
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare the noodles:
- Boil water and cook the noodles according to package instructions.12 ounces noodles (regular or whole grain)
Make the pesto:
- Combine broccoli florets and basil leaves in a food processor or blender, and pulse until the broccoli and basil are chopped very finely. Add the pine nuts to the food processor and continue to pulse until they are also chopped very finely.1 cup broccoli florets, 20 large basil leaves, ¼ cup pine nuts
- Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, lemon juice, and garlic, olive oil and process until well combined and smooth.¼ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Bring it all together:
- When the noodles are done, drain and return to the pot.
- Add the pesto and cooked chicken cubes and stir until noodles and chicken are coated. If needed, turn heat on low for a few minutes to keep the mixture warm. If the mixture seems dry, add a little more olive oil and toss.1 ½ cups chicken (approximately 1 large chicken breast)
- Garnish with extra broccoli florets and/or basil leaves (optional) and serve.
- You don't have to use wide noodles for this recipe, you can actually use whatever pasta you like.
- See my full recipe for the broccoli pesto for more helpful hints and variations.
- Many people like to add salt to their pasta water, and it does make for tastier pasta. However, I often skip that step, so it is definitely optional. If you would like to add salt, use about 1 tablespoon of salt per 4 quarts of water.
- This is delicious with leftover turkey! Simply cube your leftover turkey and use in place of the chicken.
- For a quick and easy method to cook a chicken breast for this recipe, follow these steps:
- Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken breast.
- Using a skillet with a lid, spray the surface with a bit of cooking spray, heat over medium high heat, then place the chicken breast in the skillet and brown, about 3 minutes, then flip and brown another 3 minutes.
- Add about ½ inch water to the pan, cover, turn down the heat to medium and cook for 6-8 minutes.
- When it's done, the internal temperature should read about 165 F on a meat thermometer.
- This recipe can also be served cold as a pasta salad!
Nutritional information is an estimate. The nutritional values for your final dish may vary based on measuring differences and products used.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in January 2014, but was republished with tips, step by step photos, and a recipe change in April 2021.
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Perfect for weeknights and such great flavours. My family will love this!
Love this pesto chicken noodles, very helpful recipe. Thanks a lot for sharing this. Loved it!
You're not kidding, this is definitely going to become a quick staple for easy dinner nights. Delicious, simple and a total family pleaser!
Oh my goodness, yum! What a super way to get broccoli into the kids! So easy to make too!
The perfect recipe for using up leftover chicken and for fooling my fussy 10-year-old to eat broccoli! Great idea to serve cold, will be a good side for a BBQ in the summer!
Sounds delicious Kristin!!
Thank you for sharing this recipe at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I'm delighted to be featuring it at tonight's party.
Hugs ~ Kerryanne
Real good combination, pasta, pesto and broccolli. Learning from you.