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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm.
For Basil Pesto
- In food processor add fresh basil and walnuts and mince.
- 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.
- 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.
- Put the pesto in a jar and close with the lid. Keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
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