Nutritious broccoli florets and fragrant basil team up to produce a flavorful, healthy pesto which coats the lean chicken and fiber-rich whole wheat noodles in this dish. Serve with a side salad for quick, easy, and healthy meal the whole family will love!
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!