Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal for busy days. Packed with flavors and ready under 20 minutes! CLICK to read the recipe or PIN for later. [natalieshealth.com] #recipe #healthy #easy #family #chicken #low-fat #pasta #pesto

Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta

Simple yet delicious Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is easy to make and packed with flavor. Soft chicken with penne whole wheat pasta wrapped in a creamy basil pesto sauce made with avocado will delight your palate. Is tasty, filling, and quick to throw together. The perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal that your family will love. 

Don’t get me wrong…. I don’t mind chocolate  or the double chocolate desserts at all, BUT it’s time for me to pull a break and take the pause from sweets. My husband told me the other day I have to share some “non-dessert”, a savory recipe next, or people will think we eat only muffins and cakes .  Hehe he’s right. And so here it is… one simple yet so delicious pasta – my family’s favorite Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta. This Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is so flavorful and tasty that it would be so wrong not to share this recipe with you. 

Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal for busy days. Packed with flavors and ready under 20 minutes! CLICK to read the recipe or PIN for later. [natalieshealth.com] #recipe #healthy #easy #family #chicken #low-fat #pasta #pesto

I don’t know about you, but I LOVEEEE pasta! Pasta is the one food, in addition to chocolate, which I just can’t and won’t give up no matter what diet I follow. When I switched to healthy eating, many people wondered how it is possible to eat pasta and call my diet healthy. People literally stared at me when I intercede that pasta IS an healthy food. People consider pasta like ultimative evil food, bad for your waist. Well… that’s sooo wrong! Pasta made from whole grains is by no means bad food and should not be excluded from the diet. 

And this recipe is a GOOD example how pasta CAN be healthy, wholesome meal without excess calories. 

Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal for busy days. Packed with flavors and ready under 20 minutes! CLICK to read the recipe or PIN for later. [natalieshealth.com] #recipe #healthy #easy #family #chicken #low-fat #pasta #pesto

Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal for busy days. Packed with flavors and ready under 20 minutes! CLICK to read the recipe or PIN for later. [natalieshealth.com] #recipe #healthy #easy #family #chicken #low-fat #pasta #pesto

To make this Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta I used chicken white meat – chicken breasts without skin, healthy fats – avocados and olive oil, and whole wheat penne pasta. I also added some veggies – green beans to add up some more healthy fibers and nutrients. You can easily switch green beans for any seasonal veggie. Broccoli in this pasta is a blast – a must try!  

As I said, this Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is one of my family’s favorite meals. We all LOVE it! Actually, you can never go wrong with pesto pasta if you have kids. I prepare this pasta whenever I catch fresh basil in the store. Well I’ve tried to grow basil on my kitchen window but without luck. I failed miserably few times and given up completely. Basil is so delicate plant, it seems too delicate for me.   Too bad, though because I love basil!  

Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal for busy days. Packed with flavors and ready under 20 minutes! CLICK to read the recipe or PIN for later. [natalieshealth.com] #recipe #healthy #easy #family #chicken #low-fat #pasta #pesto

Homemade Basil Pesto

I always make my own, homemade pesto from fresh healthy ingredients. I don’t like store bought things… I don’t trust E-stuff and colorings, palm oils etc… And why buy things you can prepare in no time at your home. Right?! 

To make beautiful, fragrant homemade basil pesto you’ll only need few simple ingredients – fresh basil, a handful of walnuts, olive oil or avocado, salt, fresh lemon juice, and a food processor. Pesto made from olive oil is very flavorful and more intense, with dense texture. It is an excellent addition to pasta and salads and can be easily stored in refrigerator for weeks. Pesto made from avocado has creamier texture and it’s ideal for pasta and as a spread. The one problem with avocado basil pesto is that the avocado quickly turns black and pesto made from avocado will quickly change the color no matter how good lid you had. My husband has solution for that problem. Just eat it quickly, says he … as if that is some kinda problem for me. 

Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal for busy days. Packed with flavors and ready under 20 minutes! CLICK to read the recipe or PIN for later. [natalieshealth.com] #recipe #healthy #easy #family #chicken #low-fat #pasta #pesto

Basil pesto can be made in advance and kept refrigerated up to two weeks (well the one made with olive oil). I it holds on for so long.  I always make about one jar and use throughout the week with my pasta, as addition to salads and as spread for sandwiches. It is so SOO good, I could literally eat it with the spoon. Some put garlic in basil pesto. I don’t because I want to emphasize basil aroma in this beautiful creamy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta. But you can totally add garlic if you like it. 

Oh yes, another great thing about this pasta… it can be made in less than 20 minutes!!!! Whoaaa right?!  It’s PERFECT for busy families! 

Now I’ll leave you with cooking… Hope you’ll enjoy this pasta! 

Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal for busy days. Packed with flavors and ready under 20 minutes! CLICK to read the recipe or PIN for later. [natalieshealth.com] #recipe #healthy #easy #family #chicken #low-fat #pasta #pesto
5 from 16 votes
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Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta

Soft chicken with penne whole wheat pasta wrapped in a creamy basil pesto sauce made with avocado will delight your palate. Is tasty, filling, and quick to throw together. The perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal that your family will love. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 518 kcal
Author Natalie

Ingredients

  • 8 oz chicken breast skinless, boneless (230g)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat penne pasta
  • Parmesan cheese Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, freshly grated

For Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoons walnuts
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, freshly grated
  • ½ avocado OR ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Himalayan salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In the larger deeper pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken cut into smaller pieces. Fry the chicken for 8-10 minutes until golden on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from heat.
  2. In the meantime, boil the green beans for 10 minutes and drain. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the package in salted water. Drain the pasta but save the pasta water.
  3. Add boiled beans and cooked pasta in the pan with chicken. Add 3 tablespoons of basil pesto and mix well. Add 1-2 tablespoons water in which the pasta was cooked if pasta is too dry.
  4. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

For Basil Pesto

  1. In food processor add fresh basil and walnuts and mince.
  2. Add grated cheese (and garlic if you use it), and continue to mix. Using rubber spatula scrape the mixture from the walls of the bowl. 

  3. Add avocado and mix until you get a nice smooth mixture. Add a little olive oil if the mixture is too thick. OR instead of avocado, add olive oil and mix until you get a nice smooth pesto mixture.

  4. Put the pesto in a jar and close with the lid. Keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

I used US cup (240ml) as a measure.

Nutrition Facts
Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 518 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 45%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 448mg 19%
Potassium 335mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 40g 13%
Dietary Fiber 8g 32%
Sugars 4g
Protein 33g 66%
Vitamin A 32%
Vitamin C 37%
Calcium 19%
Iron 17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
 
Xoxo, 

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Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect HEALTHY weeknight meal for busy days. Packed with flavors and ready under 20 minutes! CLICK to read the recipe or PIN for later. [natalieshealth.com] #recipe #healthy #easy #family #chicken #low-fat #pasta #pesto

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59 Comments

  1. Pesto pasta is my kids’ most-requested dinner. They have always loved it!

    Your healthy version (especially love the avocado) sounds delicious!

  2. Bright, fresh and flavorful…what a perfect dish for spring! Especially since it has some of my absolute FAVORITE ingredients!

  3. This is definitely my kind of healthy! I just love the brightness of basil, and the addition of chicken breast and green beans really makes this a satisfying meal.

  4. I’m with you, Natalie — love pasta! Pesto and chicken rank up there too! This looks like a simple, healthy dinner for any night of the week!

  5. This looks absolutely perfect for a weeknight meal! Anytime really, and love the addition of avocado. This sounds and looks delicious!

  6. I love the use of avocado instead of olive oil!!!
    I can just imagine how creamy it makes this dish.
    Will be trying this soon!! YUM!

    • Yes, avocado really gives special creaminess to pesto. It’s just too bad it can’t stay fresh longer… you have to eat it in a day… like that’s a problem right hehe right?!

  7. Oh this looks so yum… We love pesto in our home, almost every week I make some for sandwich spread and dips, Sometimes on busy days (or when i’m lazy) I just boil some spaghetti and toss in the pesto – Yum!! Love that you added beans.

  8. YUM! I love pesto and how easy it is put together and versatile it is. This recipe looks delicious. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

  9. OOh I have not made pesto sauce in a long time! This looks delicious

  10. Pesto is the best! I love your option for using avocado. Yum!

  11. Natalie this sounds delicious. I haven’t made a lot of homemade pesto but I like the idea of using Avocado. And don’t feel bad I’ve killed many of basil plants as well..haha..but I keep trying since I love fresh basil as well. Oh well, I guess we should just keep trying 🙂

    • Thanks friend 😉 Haha yes… I love fresh basil sooo much but is’t so sensitive, so fragile. I think he likes more garden and outdoor rather than kitchen window 🙂

  12. Oh man I am with you I love my desserts too! But I gotta have my balance (although my blog doesn’t reflect that hehe) and pesto and pasta seems the perfect way to do that! Looks great!

  13. This looks amazing!!! So good, need to try

  14. Homemade pesto is truly out of this world – no storebought jarred stuff can ever compare. Do you think this recipe will hold up well with gluten-free penne?

    • Yes Anya… homemade is always the best option. People think it takes much time and effort but it really doesn’t. You can sub gluten-free penne in this recipe 🙂

  15. This meal is right up my alley! I love pesto on anything, especially pasta & chicken!

  16. I know what you mean so much! I get on a dessert creation kick and then look at my posts and realize I need to change it up before people start thinking I’m a dessert blog! I could never give up pasta either and I’ve always made olive oil pesto sauces, never avocado. I didn’t know that avocado would coat the pasta better, so I can’t wait to try it and eat it fast before it browns!

    • Glad we are on same page Meg 😉 Yup, avo is amazing in pesto, gives creaminess. Only downside is that he browns quickly. But that’s no prob at all… you’ll see 😉

  17. Oh this looks so healthy and delicious! Especially using avocados! Fabulous!

  18. This salad is going to be made a lot in my house. Love the twists and health!

  19. Your pasta dish looks delicious. And pasta does get a bad rap. First of all, most of the problem in our society is too big of portions. You don’t have to have a plate full of pasta that it is sliding of a large plate. And having homemade ingredients like your pesto gives the dish such a deeper flavor. We love our pesto — it’s so versatile. I’d be happy to come over next time you make this pasta. 🙂

    • Thanks so much 😉 I couldn’t agree with you more Marisa. Too big portions ARE the problem. I had that problem too. Luckily I’ve learned to eat balanced and I cut down my potions which lead me to lose more than 100 pounds. But no diet can stop me from eating my pasta hehehe

  20. What a lovely, and sneakily healthy, dinner!I love the addition of avocado, and the use of whole wheat pasta!

  21. My daughter would absolutely love this dish.

  22. This looks amazing– and I’m loving the avocado twist. I have been posting more and more recipes lately — I used to always want to do more meal type recipes, but my desserts and treats are always so much more popular!

  23. Chicken and pasta pair so well together. Love the ease of this dish. The flavour combination sounds amazing. Perfect for any night of the week.

  24. This looks delicious! It is going on my to make list this week!

  25. Byron Thomas

    Oh my – that looks so inviting! I could totally make this and just leave out the chicken for my vegetarians, but I really wouldn’t want to do that. LOL. I’m always looking for easy weeknight dinners, and this is going on that list. Thanks!

  26. Can you call for your lunch of dinner after making this pasta. Looks really delicious. I like pesto in my pasta as it is really versatile.

  27. I’m craving this right now! Chicken pasta is so perfect for the cold, rainy weather we’re having here. Love the basil pesto addition!

  28. I’ve been on such a dessert kick lately, I don’t know what is wrong with me. And Easter is coming and that’s just more chocolate. I like the way you think of pasta though. I love making my own pasta and tossing it with chicken and pasta is just the way I like to enjoy it!

  29. This looks so delicious and pesto pasta is one of my favorite pasta dish. I love that you made the pasta at home as this would make the dish even more flavorful.

  30. I always have pasta in the kitchen, we all love it, and great to make when there’s no much time for anything else. My husband loves pesto, and l love chicken, so this recipe will make us both happy.

  31. Chicken and pasta is one of my favourite combos, this looks absolutely delicious! 🙂

  32. I do need a break from sweets! This pasta looks so delicious! Love the combination. Can’t wait to make it!

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