By using leftover or pre-cooked chicken, this recipe for Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad is not only healthy… it’s a SNAP to make!
Whenever it comes to a combination of chicken, pesto and cheese… I’m all-in. Add some pasta to it and I’m diving into it like a champ!
This recipe uses prepared pesto instead of fresh basil leaves (although I used fresh basil for garnish). What’s so easy is that you can use prepared basil pesto from a jar or make your own homemade pesto if you have a lot of basil growing. Although I don’t have a green thumb, I’ve always had good luck with basil and LOVE making homemade pesto with it.
Another shortcut is to use leftover chicken or the meat from a ready-made rotisserie chicken.
When cooked rotisserie chickens are on sale for $4.98… YES, of course I’m going to buy it over buying a RAW one at the same price or more!
And if you opt not to add chicken, that’s cool too. These are the simple ingredients you’ll need to add to the pasta you choose to use: tomatoes, pesto, mozzarella cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
There you go.
A simple, healthy and complete dinner made in a snap. Leftovers for lunch are pretty awesome, too!
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 heaping teaspoon fresh minced garlic
- 12 ounces pasta, cooked according to package directions (I used penne pasta)
- ⅔ cup prepared basil pesto
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded
- 2-1/2 cups cups fully cooked cubed or shredded chicken
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together balsamic vinegar, olive oil and minced garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Transfer pasta to a large bowl and add pesto. Stir gently until well coated. Add chicken, tomatoes, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir gently again to combine.
- Add desired amount of balsamic vinaigrette to each serving.