I'm not including measurements because it's pasta salad--everything is "to taste!"
Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad
- Basil pesto (I used jarred Classico brand)
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used tenderloins, which cook a bit faster)
- Pasta (I used garden rotini)
- Sliced almonds (Pine nuts would work too)
- Raw spinach, cut into thin strips
- Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- Shredded parmesan cheese
- Italian or vinaigrette salad dressing, chilled (I used Wish Bone Romano Basil Vinaigrette)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a wire rack in a foil-lined pan.
- Put some basil pesto in a bowl. Pat chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, and coat each piece of chicken well with pesto. Make sure you don't use all the pesto for this step; you'll need some of it later.
- Place pesto-coated chicken on wire rack in pan, and cook in oven until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (about 45 minutes for tenderloins)
- While chicken is cooking, cook pasta according to package directions. When done, rinse pasta well with cold water, and set aside. Refrigerate, covered, if necessary.
- When chicken is done, let it cool, and slice it into bite-sized pieces.
- Mix chicken, pasta, almonds, spinach, and tomatoes together. Toss with a mixture of salad dressing and extra pesto. (Pesto has a strong garlic flavor, so don't overdo it unless you want a very strongly-flavored salad.)
- If you have any pasta salad left over, be sure to add a bit more salad dressing before eating it--it will dry out in the refrigerator, but the extra dressing makes it delicious again!