Healthy Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe (Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free)
An easy, flavorful dinner recipe made in just 15-minutes. Made with homemade vegan pesto and gluten-free noodles, this healthy chicken pesto pasta is both creamy and light. A healthy dinner recipe perfect for the whole family.
This chicken pesto pasta makes the perfect weeknight dinner recipe! Thrown together in just fifteen minutes, this quick pasta recipe is great for busy days (like most of my dinner recipes). Plus. you can use any leftover pesto (or make a double batch) and chicken to make chicken pesto pizzas the next time (this oregano pesto works well for that too!)
Cook once, eat twice.
The other major benefit of this dinner recipe is that it's made using homemade vegan pesto. This pesto doesn't contain pine nuts or parmesan but it does have an extra veggie in it (learn more about how to hide veggies for toddlers).
This makes it so that the pesto has a slightly less intense flavor which is perfect for transitioning kids to a more real food diet.
Don't want to read? JUMP to the recipe!
Is Pesto Bad For You? Is It Healthier Than Mayo?
It's not so much that pesto itself is bad for you, just that some store-bought pestos contain ingredients that are not necessarily good for you.
Most packaged pesto sauces contain sunflower oil.
Sunflower oil (and all processed vegetable oils) can cause some funky body effects. Basically, our bodies cannot break them down as they are man-made and chemically processed.
Given that the oil in pesto makes up a large chunk of the recipe, pesto is sometimes called unhealthy.
Similarly, both oil and pine nuts are very calorie-dense. Thus making pesto sauce very high calorie. For people looking to lose weight, this can be detrimental.
However, the quality of calories matters.
Homemade pesto on the other hand can be very healthy. My vegan pesto is made using walnut or flax oil which helps boost omega-three fatty acids as well as walnuts. Still high in calories but also in nutritional benefits.
Mayonnaise has a similar problem.
Most mayo brands are typically made from canola oil and sugar. Not exactly health boosting. Either learn to make your own or do your research for better brands
To sum up, homemade pesto when done correctly is much better than store-bought.
What Goes Well With Chicken Pesto Pasta?
Almost any salad recipe can be paired nicely with a chicken pesto pasta.
Likewise, while this recipe is very simple, there are a lot of ingredients you can add in! Sundried tomatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes, both are wonderful options.
This recipe uses soba (buckwheat!) noodles to make it gluten-free.
These noodles are extremely light and cook in just five minutes once placed into boiling water.
They do have a tendency to stick together though. So, once you strain them, it helps to toss them into a bit of oil and serve immediately.
Healthy Dinners In 30 Minutes Or Less
The homemade vegan pesto in this recipe is also the base of one of the pizza recipes in The Busy Mom's Cookbook!
If you’re looking for even more easy, healthy dinner recipes, check out The Busy Moms E-Cookbook- simple dinners for bus moms, where I’ve gathered 30 healthy dinner recipes that can be made in thirty minutes or less. From easy vegan tacos to beef and quinoa chili, simple chicken pasta to a bok choy and mushroom bowl.
If you’re looking for even easier, healthy dinner recipes, check out The Busy Moms E-Cookbook,- simple dinners for busy moms. This recipe book is where I gathered 30 healthy dinner recipes that can be made in thirty minutes or less. From easy vegan tacos to beef and quinoa chili, simple chicken pasta to a bok choy and mushroom bowl. These dinner recipes share a few things in common:
- They are healthy and simple to make
- All of the recipes are dairy-free or could easily be made dairy-free
- The majority of the recipes are gluten-free
- All of the recipes are real-food based and focus on nutrients not fillers
- They’re all tasty!
To make dinner-time even LESS stressful, I’ve also included several bonus tips on food prep, pantry staples and how to make healthy eating simple. Grab your copy of The Busy Mom’s E-Cookbook
- 2 chicken breasts cooked & chopped
- 1 cup fresh basil pesto
- 1 tbs avocado oil
- 14 button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Soba noodles for four
How To Make It
Make the pesto if you haven't already. Combine all ingredients into a powerful blender and blend until smooth.
Boil water and cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse and drain.
While the water for the noodles is boiling, heat some oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss in the mushrooms and garlic. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until just starting to soften.
Add the chicken to the heat. Lower the temperature slightly and add the pesto sauce to the pan only to warm it (2-3 minutes).
Assemble your dish. Place noodles into the bowl and top with pesto sauce. Swirl it around to combine it and top with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan if you'd like.
Don't forget to pin this Healthy Chicken And Pesto Pasta Recipe!
Quick Chicken Pesto Pasta
Chicken pesto pasta is a fast, simple, and utterly tasty dish! The soba noodles mean that you stay full but won't feel weighed down after eating which makes this meal perfect for a busy weeknight!