Pesto Pasta with Veggies & Chicken
This Pesto Pasta with Veggies & Chicken is an effortless dinner idea when you just need to get something healthy-ish and tasty on the table, fast!
I’ve been on a mission the past few years to bring you the best recipes that my family and I really love. They might not always be the fanciest or the prettiest (looking at you, crock pot ribs and slow cooker beef stroganoff), but they’re tried and true! And I hope that you’ve been enjoying them.
Often, our weeknight meals are a protein, a carb and veggies, all mixed together. There’s no better way to do that than with a pasta dish.
And then there’s this comforting recipe! Whether it’s salmon pesto pasta, or pesto pasta with chicken and veggies like this one, pesto + noodles is just SO simple and so good.
It comes together quickly, but it’s packed with delicious goodies like sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and little balls of mozzarella cheese. I hope you love it as much as we do.
The ingredients you’ll need for this pesto pasta with veggies are:
- pasta – just about any variety will do, more on that below!
- olive oil – for cooking the chicken in the skillet.
- chicken – this is one of the few recipes I ever use boneless/skinless chicken breasts for. But I think they’re perfect for a pasta like this. Boneless thighs are also great here.
- peas – I used frozen green peas that I thawed at room temperature while I was prepping the rest of my ingredients. I also love stirring peas into my fettuccine bolognese every once in awhile.
- basil pesto – homemade if you’re into that, but store bought is fine (Ina Garten agrees).
- sun-dried tomatoes – I like the kind packed in oil in a jar, for this pasta as well as vegetarian quiche.
- mozzarella cheese – fresh mozzarella, not the shredded kind in a bag. I bought “pearl sized” small balls of fresh mozzarella. I also like that size in jarcuterie! But, you could also buy a bigger hunk and dice it up. Either way!
- pine nuts – I like to toast these first, for extra flavor, but it’s optional.
- fresh basil – also optional, but I like the fresh leafs for garnish.
What kind of noodles should I use for this pesto pasta recipe with vegetables?
I’ve used whole grain medium pasta shells for this pesto pasta with veggies, but this is one of those instances where literally almost any type of pasta will work. Except maybe, like, lasagna noodles. Don’t go too crazy. Save those for lasagna with cottage cheese.
But any short shape like shells or elbows is great for this pesto pasta recipe with vegetables. Or a medium shape like penne or cavatappi or bowties. Even spaghetti or fettuccine.
If you have rigatoni noodles left over from making rigatoni bolognese, feel free to use that!
And you can use regular or whole wheat, or even an alternative pasta like chickpea or lentil pasta. Whatever you have in your cupboard is what you should use for this chicken and veggie pasta!
If you’re looking for pasta shape inspiration, I love Taste of Home’s Ultimate Guide to Pasta Shapes, with recipe ideas for each shape.
What veggies can you add to pesto pasta?
I’ve used peas and sundried tomatoes (which I also love in breakfast muffins) this time around for my pesto pasta with veggies. But this chicken and veggie pasta is super flexible for whatever vegetables your family likes best.
I’ve listed some other veggie ideas for this pesto pasta recipe with vegetables below. Your best bet will be to roast or steam these vegetables separately, and then toss them in at Step 3.
- brussels sprouts (you can even use air fryer brussels sprouts!)
- broccoli (try lemon parmesan broccoli for extra flavor)
Leftovers of this chicken and veggie pasta are great for lunch the next day!
Since there are just 2 adults and 1 kid in my family, we always have leftovers of this pesto pasta with veggies. I could cut the recipe in half, but I really like having the leftovers for an easy lunch the next day. Just microwave and eat!
On that note, this chicken and veggie pasta recipe is a good choice for meal prepping, if you’re into that sort of thing.
- 12 ounces whole-grain medium pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound boneless/ skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- 3/4 cup prepared basil pesto
- 1/2 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1/2 cup pearl-size fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves
- Heat large pot of salted water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown and almost cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add peas; cook 1 minute.
- Add pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, pasta and reserved pasta cooking water to skillet; toss until well combined.
- Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Serve immediately garnished with pine nuts and basil leaves.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 769Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 535mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 55g