An easy and fresh Pesto Pasta Salad with grilled chicken and peas. Perfect for easy dinners and backyard summer party plans!
Summer officially begins towards the end of June, but as far as I’m concerned I’m already in summer cooking mode and this Pesto Pasta Salad needs to be on repeat!
It’s made with all the classic Italian flavors like fresh basil, mozzarella, tomato, Parmesan and pine nuts. And the whole thing easily comes together when you toss it in some fresh pesto.
I also added some snap peas for crunch and grilled chicken for protein. This is a salad that will go with almost anything as a side or it’ll stand up as a main meal!
When the weather gets crazy hot here in California, I always try to cook outdoors on the grill. I don’t know anyone who loves being in a kitchen that feels like a sauna so meaty salads are my favorite, like this Rosemary Chicken and Avocado or maybe a Steak Salad with Beansprouts and Watercress is more up your alley?
Whatever you like, pasta salads are really easy to make and they transport well so taking something awesome to your friends backyard BBQ is totally doable.
A great way to do some showing off is to take the ingredients separately and mix the salad at the party. You’ll be off the hook on the popular chart, not only bringing this awesome salad but making it fresh for everyone else!
Don’t stress over making your own pesto, that would be worthy of major high fives but you can pick up so many good brands of pesto in your chilled section of the store.
Happy Monday friends and let’s kick some May butt!
Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken Peas and Mozzarella
- 3 cups uncooked penne pasta
- 2 whole chicken breasts seasoned
- 2 cups snap peas trimmed at the ends
- 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 1/2 cups peas
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces small mozzarella balls
- 1 large bunch fresh basil
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup basil pesto, add more if desired
- 1 large pinch salt and black pepper
- Cook the pasta as per the pack direction, drain and let cool.
- Season the chicken breasts and grill until no longer pink in the middle, about 8 minutes each side. let them rest once they're done.
- In a large bowl, add the snap peas, pine nuts, peas, tomatoes, mozzarella, a good handful of torn basil leaves, Parmesan, olive oil, pesto, salt and black pepper.
- Once the chicken is cool, slice it into strips and add to the bowl along with the cooled pasta.
- Toss everything together until the pesto has covered all of the ingredients.
- Carefully transfer the salad to a large platter and garnish with extra parmesan and basil.