Easy weeknight meal with endless variations. This recipe is healthier than it sounds – if you use whole wheat or brown rice pasta. This pesto recipe also doesn’t use the classic parmesan cheese, which helps to keep the health levels up as well. You can use this recipe as a base and add any of your favorite veggies – my favorites are grape tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini! You can also add some mozzarella or parmesan cheese if you want your dish to be a bit creamier. See the easy steps below to make this Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken Basil Pesto Sauce dish:
- Olive oil (about 3 tablespoons – more if needed)
- Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
- Pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
- Garlic (3 cloves)
- Almonds (about 10 full nuts, or a 1/4 cup)
- Basil (2 big handfuls of leaves with stems cut off)
- Chicken thighs or breasts (2-3)
- Whole wheat pasta (3/4 of a box)
- Onion (half of medium-sized onion)
- Garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon)
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Start by making your pesto. Once you see how easy this is to make, you’ll want to incorporate it into lots of different dishes! I always make a bit extra as well, since I’m already dirtying up my blender. It goes great over some grilled chicken, or as a base for pizza. Throw all of the above ingredients into your blender, and mix well. Add more olive oil as needed.
2. Cut your chicken into bite-sized cubes and throw into your sauce pan with the chopped onion and olive oil. Lightly brown on both sides and put on low heat. While doing this, use another burner to start boiling your pasta water.
3. Once the chicken is almost fully cooked, add your pesto to the saucepan. Mix well to incorporate the sauce with the chicken and onions. Add your garlic powder. I like to add some red pepper flakes to my dish, but that’s only if you want some added heat, which I always do.
4. Once your water is boiling, add your pasta in. Cook for about 7 minutes, or when the pasta has turned slightly soft. If you’re not sure if you pasta is done, that’s okay – always undercook your pasta if anything – over-cooked pasta is WAY worse! You’re going to be adding your cooked pasta into the chicken pesto saucepan eventually, so even if it’s slightly under-cooked, it will have some more time to cook once in there.
5. Strain your pasta and add it to your saucepan and put on medium heat. Let all the ingredients meld together for about 6 minutes and your done! Enjoy!