This Chicken Pesto pasta is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes! It’s an easy dinner idea that makes great lunches the next day!
The days are cooling off, the kiddos are back to school (my middle daughter is starting kindergarten this year!), and I’m so ready for some routine (and a big bowl of this Chicken Pesto Pasta)!
Even though the days are a little quieter now with two of the girls in school, that after-school chaos is twice as crazy.
The dumping of backpacks, cleaning out lunches, sorting through papers and homework, reading practice, and taking in everything that happened in their days — there’s not always a lot left of me to make dinner!
But if I can get the girls involved in the cooking, or at the counter doing their homework, we can still get a healthy meal on the table and hear about who sat with who at lunch time 😉
My Kindergartener loves to help out in the kitchen, and since she’s the pickiest eater here, it’s a great way to get her to try new things!
This Chicken Pesto Pasta is an easy one pot pasta for us to whip up when we’re short on time, and it’s just as great cold as a pasta salad for lunches the next day. Catelli Smart pasta ensures my kiddos are getting enough fibre and protein to keep them going through the school day.
Any dinner that doubles as lunch is a big win around here!
Need a few more ideas?
How to make Chicken Pesto Pasta:
- “Brown” your chicken in a little bit of oil — because I use chicken breasts that were previously frozen (gotta stock up when they’re on sale!), they are very moist and don’t really brown, but it’s a good idea to give them a head start before we add our other ingredients. If you want browned chicken, pat your chicken dry with a paper towel before adding to the pan.
- Dump in your other ingredients, except for the cheese. It’s really that easy!
- Simmer and stir — if you want, you can cover the pasta and reduce the heat and this way you don’t have to stir quite so much.
- Add a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and serve.
Variations on this Chicken Pesto Pasta:
- Any variety of Catelli pasta will work in this recipe, but we love the Catelli Smart varieties because they are packed with fiber (one serving has 32% of your recommended fibre) and a good source of protein.
- Feel free to add in some extra veggies! My kids actually (surprisingly!) love their veggies raw, so we eat them on the side, but you could add broccoli, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, green beans, or a variety of other veggies to this recipe.
- Swap out the protein: don’t have chicken on hand? Swap the chicken for white beans for a meatless twist, or use frozen meatballs for a fun twist.
- Grab a jar of sundried tomato pesto instead of basil for an entirely unique recipe with just one swap.
How to make this One Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta ahead:
Store in the refrigerator:
You can easily meal prep this recipe on the weekend or a day you have your hands free, then store it in a casserole dish in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (ensuring all your ingredients were fresh when prepared).
Then, you can simply cover with a lid or foil and bake until reheated — I always recommend adding a splash of water or chicken broth when reheating pasta as it tends to soak up any sauce as it sits.
Store in the freezer:
You can also make this a freezer meal.
Simply prepare completely, ensuring your pasta is only cooked to al dente. Then spread into a lightly greased baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and foil (my Grandma always doubled up to prevent freezer burn, so I do too!), label it and freeze for 3-6 months.
You can thaw before baking, or throw it into the oven frozen provided your baking dish is freezer-to-oven safe.
If baking from frozen, place the baking dish in the oven as the oven preheats to avoid a temperature shock.
Remove the plastic wrap and replace the foil or lid, then bake at 350 degrees F just until heated through — the exact cook time will depend on a lot of different factors, including if it is frozen or thawed or somewhere in the middle, what type and size of baking dish used, and the exact oven temperature.
More one pot pasta recipes:
- Healthy One Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- One Pot Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage Recipe
- One Pot Chicken Chow Mein Recipe
- One Pot BBQ Chicken Chili Mac
*This post is generously sponsored by Catelli pasta and I was compensated for my time in creating this recipe — as always, all opinions are my own.
Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups low fat milk (or whole)
- 1/2 cup jarred basil pesto
- 375 grams Catelli Smart Penne (1 box)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- In a large pan over medium high heat, add oil and chicken. Stir and cook until the chicken is just cooked on the outside, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in the broth, milk, pesto and pasta. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium, and cook, stirring often, until al dente or tender with just a little bite, about 10 minutes.
- When pasta is ready, stir in the cheese and serve immediately.