This chicken pesto pasta is sauteed chicken, farfalle pasta and cherry tomatoes, all tossed in basil pesto and finished off with parmesan cheese. A quick and easy dinner option that always gets rave reviews!
Pasta is easy, inexpensive and kid friendly which means we eat it all the time at my house! Some of our favorites include creamy shrimp linguine, Pasta al Forno, pasta bolognese and this easy pesto pasta with chicken.
My family loves pasta and we typically eat it once a week (or more!). I get tired of the plain old spaghetti in tomato sauce which is why I introduced this chicken pesto pasta to the kids, and it’s been a big hit! This pasta is super quick to make, and it’s really versatile too, there are so many options to change up the protein and veggies to keep things exciting.
How do you make chicken pesto pasta?
Start by cooking diced chicken with olive oil, seasonings and garlic. Add cooked pasta to the pan, then stir in the pesto. Gently stir in halved cherry tomatoes, then add a sprinkle of fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tips for the perfect pasta
- Be sure to cook your chicken in a single layer so that it gets a golden brown crust. If you overcrowd the pan, the chicken may steam instead of saute. It’s best to work in batches if your pan is not large enough to fit everything at once.
- You can use homemade or store bought pesto, whichever you prefer. I often use store bought pesto to save on time. Be sure to choose pesto from the refrigerator case rather than the shelf stable type.
- Any type of short pasta will work including penne, rotini, rigatoni or fusilli.
- This dish is hearty enough to serve on its own. If you’re looking for side dishes, try a simple green salad or a batch of garlic knots.
How to make pesto
To make your own pesto for this recipe, place 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts in a food processor along with 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Pulse the ingredients until finely ground. Add 3 cups of fresh whole basil leaves to the food processor along with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the food processor on and slowly pour in 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend until a smooth sauce forms. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Chicken pesto pasta flavor variations
This dish is fabulous as-is, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Protein: Swap out the chicken breast for chicken thighs, grilled shrimp, white beans or Italian sausage.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other veggies to the mix such as sauteed zucchini, mushrooms or bell peppers.
- Cheese: Instead of parmesan, try a different type of cheese such as fresh mozzarella balls or grated fontina.
Once you try this chicken pesto pasta, you’ll find yourself making it on a regular basis – it’s just that good!
More delicious pasta recipes
- Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta
- Caprese Pasta
- Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
- Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Butternut Squash Pasta
Chicken Pesto Pasta Video
Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 12 ounces short pasta such as farfalle
- 1 cup basil pesto look for it in the refrigerated section
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley can also use basil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt to taste. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Place the chicken in the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 minute.
- Drain the pasta and pour it into the pan with the chicken. Add the pesto and toss to coat evenly.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and gently fold them into the pasta.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and parsley. then serve.
This post was originally published on March 21, 2018 and was updated on December 9, 2020 with new content.
Delicious recipe! Added some Bella mushrooms wiith garlic and seasonings. Easy, quick and delicious!
I’ve now made this several times and wanted to leave a comment.and thank you! It’s the perfect meal for a week night when I want something quick, easy & delicious. We normally use about 350g of chicken which I cut into very small pieces, and I have to omit the Parmesan cheese if I don’t have any on hand. Otherwise I follow the recipe exactly.
Wow! What a great and easy dish! Made it as is and whole family loved it. Adding this to the rotation. Also love your spinach lasagna which we make often.
I like how quickly this came together. I used about 1.5 lbs of chicken breast and added 16 oz of sliced mushrooms while cooking the chicken and then added in the halved tomatoes which both cooked them and helped with the flavor (my son doesn’t like fresh cherry or grape tomatoes). I had to add extra pesto so maybe used between 1.5 and 2 cups to cover everything and then put sliced mozzarella on top of the mixture and put it under the broiler until the cheese had melted and was starting to brown. Very good and my son loved it!
Love this, thank you for posting. I added fried capers on top and used homemade cashew pesto. I’ve used your recipe in the past and my family devours it!!!
This pasta dish was so easy and very good
Excellent recipe! Easy and delicious!
Hi Sara, I made the pasta today and my family loved it so much.. simply delicious 😋. A big thanks for the recipe!
This came out excellent and was very easy!
This was excellent! I made it w/ mushrooms (sautéed w/ the garlic & spices), then added the chicken, tomatoes & pasta ruffles (basil, garlic, spinach). It was SO good! My boys loved it (hubby & 28 yr old)
This is so good and delish! Perfect meal for weeknights!
This was so good!! A delicious meal any night of the week!
Chicken and pesto are so good together! I will definitely love this pasta dish!
This looks so delicious and tasty! My family is going to love this recipe!
Everyone loved this Chicken Pesto Pasta! It was the perfect meal!! I can’t wait to make it again!
This was such an incredibly delicious meal!! My family enjoyed every bite!