Want a pasta dinner without the hassle?  This Chicken Pesto Pasta is made in just one pot!  Tender chunks of chicken breast are tossed with pasta, veggies and a flavorful pesto sauce for a family friendly dinner that’s on the table in about 30 minutes!

Chicken pesto pasta in a skillet with wooden spoon

Busy weeknights were made for one pot pasta recipes. When my boys were younger, meals like skillet lasagna and pasta primavera got me through hectic evenings filled homework, practices and games.

Now that both of my boys are in college, I still prefer to make pasta in one pot. Not only does it result in less dishes, but the starch from the pasta creates a silky “sauce” that makes the pasta even more irresistible.

I’ve been making a version of this Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe for years, but I decided to streamline the recipe to make it much easier to prepare.

In the past, I would prepare the pesto sauce, grill the chicken outside on the grill, boil the pasta in a pot and then cook the veggies in a skillet and toss it all together.

It was as exhausting as it sounds, and I’m happy to report that this version is even more delicious with a lot less effort. 🙂

One pot chicken pesto pasta on a white plate

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This one pot chicken pesto pasta is satisfying, flavorful and appeals to everyone in the family.
  • It’s ready in about 30 minutes with easily clean-up.
  • It’s customizable with your favorite pasta, protein and veggies.
  • It’s easily made vegetarian by substituting the chicken with white beans.

Recipe ingredients

Pesto is one of my favorite sauces, so I’m always on the lookout for more pesto recipes. It’s such a versatile sauce and it can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

This chicken and pesto pasta recipe is a family favorite, and it includes a few basic ingredients that can be easily customized with what you have on hand.

Chicken pesto pasta recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken. Use chicken thighs or ground chicken instead of chicken breast, or add cooked shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken during the last few minutes of cooking time. Substitute the chicken with white beans to make this recipe vegetarian.
  • Pesto sauce. Homemade sauce is best as it has a ton more flavor and a vibrant green color. My basil pesto sauce and spinach pesto recipes both work well in this pasta.
  • Pasta. I used rotini, but you can use another short cut pasta such as farfalle, fusilli, penne or orecchiette. Use whole wheat for added nutrition if you prefer.
  • Veggies. Fresh cherry tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes are a great substitute for the oven roasted cherry tomatoes, and the mushrooms may be subbed with your favorite veggies.

How to make this recipe

It doesn’t get easier than this chicken pesto pasta recipe! It comes together quickly with about 10 minutes of prep.

Pro tip: If you’re making homemade pesto sauce, prep it a few days in advance to make this a 30 minute meal. The sauce will keep for one week in the fridge and it’s also freezer friendly!

How to make chicken pesto pasta collage
  1. Prepare the pesto sauce (or skip this step and use your favorite store bought brand).
  2. Season the chicken breast(s) on both sides and chop into 1″ pieces.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally and lightly browned and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the now empty pan and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sauté until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds longer.
  5. Add the pasta and water and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender and has absorbed most of the water. The pasta will release it’s starches when it’s close to being done…it will begin to stick together and the liquid will thicken.
  6. Add the pesto sauce and tomatoes and stir well, cooking until just heated through. Remove from heat and top with parmesan.
Wooden spoon scooping chicken pesto pasta in skillet

FAQs

Is pesto a sauce?

Pesto is a sauce that originated in Genoa, Italy that’s typically made from basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts. For more information and recipe variations, see my post on how to make pesto sauce.

How much pesto should I add to pasta?

Normally 1/2 cup of pesto sauce is plenty to coat 8 ounces of pasta.

Can you reheat chicken pesto pasta?

Leftover chicken pesto pasta may be reheated in the microwave for about 1 minute or until warmed through. If the pasta seems a little dry, toss with a bit of olive oil before reheating.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip: If using homemade pesto sauce, I recommend making it up to a few days in advance and storing it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.  It’s freezer friendly too!  You may also use your favorite store bought brand.
  • The roasted cherry tomatoes add a ton of flavor, but they may be substituted with fresh cherry tomatoes or half the amount of sun dried tomatoes.
  • Make this recipe vegetarian by substituting the chicken with white beans.
  • Leftover chicken and pesto pasta will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Plate of chicken pesto pasta with fork digging in

More pesto recipes you’ll love:

If you try this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Chicken pesto pasta in a skillet with wooden spoon

One Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta

One Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta is tender chunks of chicken tossed with pasta, homemade pesto sauce and veggies. It's an easy dinner that's on the table in 30 minutes!
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil divided (sub with your your favorite oil)
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta or your favorite shape
  • 3.5 cups water or use chicken broth for more flavor
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto sauce homemade or store bought
  • 1 cup roasted cherry tomatoes or substitute with fresh cherry tomatoes or 1/2 cup sun dried
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces for serving, optional

Instructions 

  • Season the chicken breast(s) on both sides and chop into 1" pieces.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally and lightly browned and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the now empty pan and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sauté until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds longer.
  • Add the pasta and water and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender and has absorbed most of the water. The pasta will release it's starches when it's close to being done…it will begin to stick together and the liquid will thicken.
  • Add the pesto sauce and tomatoes and stir well, cooking until just heated through.
  • Remove from heat and top with the grated parmesan. Serve topped with toasted walnuts if desired and enjoy!

Notes

  • Pro tip:  If using homemade pesto sauce, I recommend making it up to a few days in advance to make this a 30 minute meal.  It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 3 months. 
  • The roasted cherry tomatoes add a ton of flavor, but they may be substituted with fresh cherry tomatoes or half the amount of sun dried tomatoes.
  • Make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the chicken and adding white beans.
  • Leftover chicken pesto pasta will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 483kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 467mg, Potassium: 770mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 646IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 161mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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