Chicken Pesto Pasta

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Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal or a dish to share at a potluck, this Chicken Pesto Pasta is your delicious answer! Packed with flavor from the homemade walnut pesto, you’ll love how tasty this easy dish is to eat!

Love easy dinners? Readers love our chicken caprese, turkey noodle soup, Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff, and Pork Ragu.

Oval white baking dish filled with pesto pasta, grilled chicken, sliced tomatoes, walnuts, and parmesan cheese.

Why Chicken Pesto Pasta is Best

I’m so torn this time of year. Do I want comfort food or do I want to keep using the grill? Either way, I need dinners that can be made fairly quickly, as our weeknights are hectic!

Today’s Chicken Pesto Pasta is super easy and versatile. It starts with a homemade pesto.

Not just any pesto though, today’s recipe uses WALNUTS.

Oh my gosh, I always thought pesto had to be made with pine nuts. I was wrong. The walnuts add a delicious nutty flavor to the basil and garlic!

Once you have your pesto made, you’ll add it to some cooked pasta.

Pesto Pasta is a match made in heaven! Toss in some grilled chicken, tomatoes, parmesan cheese and extra walnuts and you’ve got a delicious dish.

  • Ready in just 30 minutes
  • Make ahead friendly
  • Serve hot OR cold!

Ingredient Notes

  • Basil – You’ll need 2 full cups of basil for making the pesto. That’s a lot so be sure to buy enough!
  • Walnuts – These add a nutty, delicious twist to the homemade pesto AND we’re adding them into the pasta dish, too. You could use pine nuts if you prefer. Toast the nuts for best flavor.
  • Pasta – I used angel hair, which is light and doesn’t overwhelm the dish. However, you could also use a thin or regular spaghetti or another noodle.
  • Tomatoes – Roma are available year round and work great here. You could also use cherry tomatoes or, if they are in season, use an heirloom tomato.
  • Chicken – The grilled chicken helps round out this dish and make it into a more hearty main meal. You could also use baked chicken or substitute a rotisserie chicken. Our Instant Pot shredded chicken would work well too.

Easy Instructions

Step 1. Make the pesto. Combine the basil, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and process for several minutes, until blended. Add in the parmesan and olive oil and blend again until smooth.

Step 2. Grill the chicken. Flatten the chicken breasts to about 1/4-inch thick and grill over medium-high heat for several minutes on each side, until fully cooked.

Step 3. Cook the pasta. Cook the noodles according to package directions, then drain.

Step 4. Assemble. Toss the hot, cooked pasta with the pesto. Top with the chicken, tomatoes, walnuts and parmesan. Enjoy!

Pesto Pasta in a baking dish with chicken, tomatoes, and walnuts.

Tips and Tricks

  • Time it wisely. You want the pasta to be hot when you’re ready to mix it with the pesto. And if you’re serving it warm, make sure the chicken is still hot from the grill.
  • OR you can make this in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve. It’s also delicious cold! (This makes it great for picnics!)
  • Slice or dice. Slice the chicken and tomatoes for a pretty presentation or dice them up into smaller pieces to toss fully into the pasta. Both ways work, choose your favorite!
  • No grill? No problem. You can cook the chicken in a pan on the stovetop.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve with a copycat Olive Garden salad and some homemade garlic bread.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of pasta can I use for Chicken Pesto Pasta?

Many pastas will work! I used angel hair but spaghetti or another noodle would be great, too. You could also use bow tie pasta or penne pasta if you’d like.

Can I use store-bought pesto?

Sure, that would make this recipe even easier. The homemade pesto takes just minutes to make – and is so flavorful, especially with the nutty walnuts – but it’s fine to substitute a jar of store-bought pesto.

How do I store leftover chicken pesto pasta?

Once cooled, the chicken pasta dish can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Serve cold or reheat in the microwave until warmed through.

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Chicken Pesto Pasta

5 from 3 votes
By: Aimee
Whether you're looking for an easy weeknight meal or a dish to share at a potluck, this Chicken Pesto Pasta is your delicious answer! Packed with flavor from the homemade walnut pesto, you'll love how tasty this easy dish is to eat!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


For the pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • ½ cup Walnuts
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil

For the pasta:

  • ½ pound angel hair pasta cooked
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 roma tomatoes diced or sliced
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup Walnuts chopped
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  • In a food processor, combine basil, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Process for several minutes until blended. Add in parmesan and olive oil and blend until desired consistency.
  • Flatten chicken breasts to about 1/4-inch thick and grill for several minutes on each side, until fully cooked (or cook them in a skillet on the stove top).
  • To serve, toss hot, cooked pasta with pesto, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, chopped walnuts and cooked chicken! ENJOY!


  • Swap out the angel hair pasta for bowtie noodles
  • Dice up the tomatoes and cooked chicken
  • Mix everything together and refrigerate until ready to serve
  • DELICIOUS cold or hot


Calories: 494kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 25g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Sodium: 391mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on August 26, 2016

Comments & Reviews

  1. Perfect for us. we are a working couple and sometimes too much tired at end of the day. Thanks Aimee!!

  2. This sounds unbelieveable! I love making pesto with different kind of nuts — it adds such a nice flavor. Toasted walnuts would be awesome!

  3. I’m so glad that out here in CA, we get a little while longer before summer fades and it turns into fall… I’m SO indecisive that I can’t decide between grilling and cozy comfort food either! But with how amazing that walnut-based pesto looks, it makes the decision so much easier. 😉

  4. I love making homemade pesto and using walnuts instead of pine nuts is such a great idea.  I will definitely add this to my weeknight rotation!

  5. I am pretty sure that pesto should be my middle name, I love it SO much! I love Fisher nuts, and using walnuts is genius!

  6. What a great looking plate of pasta this is! I love that you used walnuts for the pesto, I can’t wait to give it a try!

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