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Chicken Pesto Pasta

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This Chicken Pesto Pasta is a dish I make from my head, using the recipe as a guide. A quick everyday meal made with pesto from a jar. More nights than not I’m simply trying to put a healthy dinner on the table before running off somewhere. I would agree that homemade is always better, but homemade pesto is not always practical. I will save that for a hot day in summer when fresh basil is plentiful.

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Store Bought vs Homemade Pesto Sauce

Pesto sauce is a specialty from northern Italy traditionally made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. It is easy to make and has many uses. In this recipe it transforms a few ingredients into a delicious pasta dish worth repeating. If you have the desire to lovingly crush basil with a mortar and pestle to make homemade pesto that’s awesome. Tonight this is a quick dish with store bought Classico brand basil pesto.

Store bought pesto is readily available to purchase, is naturally gluten free and will last for months in your fridge. Many brands are probably gluten free but I buy Classico brand. It is gluten free and is the brand on the shelf in the grocery stores I frequent. I keep a jar in my pantry for many favourite recipes.

Cooking Brown Rice Pasta

For this Chicken Pesto Pasta I used spaghetti style brown rice pasta. Precise timing is critical to cooking gluten free pasta. Mine is cooked perfectly at 9½ minutes. My kitchen timer doesn’t have a second hand but that time works for me. Another trick is to rinse the pasta to stop the cooking process. Simply drain the pasta then run cool water over it in the colander. Toss with sauce and serve immediately.

Let me know in the comments below if you tried this. What are your favourite pasta dishes?

More Pasta Recipes

Southwestern Grilled Vegetable Pasta

A bowl of Southwestern Grilled Vegetable Pasta
Southwestern Grilled Vegetable Pasta -photo credit Jim Little

Pasta with Fresh Sorrel and Feta

A bowl of pasta with fresh sorrel and feta
Pasta with Fresh Sorrel and Feta -photo credit Jim Little

Sausage and Vegetable Pasta

Sausage and Vegetable Pasta
Sausage and Vegetable Pasta -photo credit Jim Little


1 lb brown rice pasta (or your favourite GF pasta)
2 Tbsp olive oil or oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes
8 oil-packed, sun-dried tomato halves, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
8 oz asparagus, cut in 1” pieces
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
salt and pepper
6 Tbsp pesto
1/4-½ cup liquid (pasta water, GF chicken stock or white wine)*
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper


Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large sauté pan or wok on medium-high heat.
Sauté peppers and asparagus stirring frequently until lightly charred and softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with the sun-dried tomatoes.
Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to pan.
Season chicken slices with salt and pepper.
Sauté chicken stirring until all meat is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to bowl with vegetables and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain pasta saving some of the pasta water if desired. Return pasta to the pot. Add pesto and liquid and gently stir to create a sauce.
Add chicken and vegetables, toss and serve.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.


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