This basil pesto chicken and wholemeal pasta dish is one of my favourites to cook a double batch of and have it in the freezer ready to go for weekday lunches, especially after a big workout. It’s great because it is high in both low GI carbohydrates which replenishes my energy stores and it’s high in protein which helps with muscle recovery.
Also, I don’t always have time to make lunch (particularly when I’m chasing around a toddler) which means if I’m not prepared with something on hand, I’ll reach for things like toast, or crackers, or way too many nuts which don’t have much nutritional value or are super high in energy density. You might find the same, even if you don’t have a toddler! When we aren’t prepared with healthy foods for our meals its easy to choose options like take away or just having lots of energy dense snacks that don’t give our bodies what they need. If you can relate, make up a batch of this yummy pasta salad and keep it on hand in the freezer to help you make healthier choices too!
Healthy Basil Pesto Chicken and Wholemeal Pasta Recipe
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes
- 500gms cooked shredded chicken (I like to buy cooked roast chickens as they shred really well but you can bake your own)
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup wholemeal pasta, cooked according to packet instructions
- 2 tbs basil pesto
- grated parmesan and basil leaves to top
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Mix the cooked shredded chicken breasts and 1 tbsp of pesto in a the pan, season generously with salt and a dash of pepper, sauté until fragrant and warm.
- Add the sundried tomatoes and continue to sauté for another minute.
- Add the cooked pasta, baby spinach and another 1 tbsp of pesto and sauté until mixed through.
- Dress with fresh basil and parmesan to taste.
- You may serve this warm or cold.
Want to make your own basil pesto rather than buying store bought?
You can make your own basil pesto by adding to a food processor 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 3 garlic cloves and salt and pepper. This will make 1 cup worth of basil pesto and you only need 2 tablespoons for this dish, so you can use it for other dishes too.
Did you try this recipe? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!
Prefer a less energy dense option of zoodles?
Sometimes you’ll only need a light meal in the evening or for lunch if you haven’t exercised. Zoodles are zucchini noodles, essentially zucchini put through a spiralizer and are a great option for those days (although surprisingly filling). I love making pasta-like noodles like this, and here are some of my favourite healthy zoodle recipes:
Zuchinni Ribbons & Avocado Basil Pesto
I wrote this one before spiralizers and the term ‘noodles’ were big (2014), so this recipe uses a simple peeler to make the fettuccine-like zucchini pasta.
Dukkah Fish on Tomato & Eggplant Zoodles
It is FODMAP friendly, gluten and dairy free and just plain yummy! It’s been a hit with all our dinner guests and is so simple to make.
Healthy Turkey Meatballs with Roast Capsicum Sauce and Zoodles
The roasted capsicum sauce is the star of this dish, bringing a rustic & homely flavour. One of Reis’s favourites!