Avocado Pesto Chicken Pasta

 

Hi there! It’s Alyssa from My Sequined Life back to share an easy and quick dinner recipe – creamy avocado pesto chicken pasta. It’s a lightened up version of traditional basil pesto and is done in about 45 minutes (including time to bake the chicken).

 

This avocado pesto chicken pasta is a quick weeknight meal with a lighter and creamy sauce. A great way to use leftover chicken!

 

Growing up we’d eat pasta at least once a week, which may sound like it would be something we’d get tired of after awhile, but with a seemingly endless number of ways to mix up flavors, proteins, sauces, etc. we never did. One favorite that snuck in the rotation more than others was pesto. Specifically pesto with as many basil leaves that can be packed in there as possible. We had a few basil plants in our backyard that would go nuts in the summertime, so any meal that used fresh basil quickly shot to the top of the list. Good thing we like basil. 🙂

 

This avocado pesto chicken pasta is a quick weeknight meal with a lighter and creamy sauce. A great way to use leftover chicken!

 

Since we’re moving this spring, my garden will have to wait to be planted for a little while, so I made do with basil from the grocery store. This avocado pesto chicken pasta features a hearty amount of it (one-and-a-half packed cups) like my childhood favorite, but has a fun change in that an avocado is added to the sauce for a seriously creamy twist that reduces the quantity of oil used. Just throw a ripe avocado in the food processor when you’re mixing up the sauce and that’s it!

 

There are a few customizable options here. I baked chicken tenders with a simple coating of olive oil and spices and served them on top of (and mixed into) this pasta. This would be a great dish to use leftover cooked chicken, or you can omit for a vegetarian option. Then there’s the pasta. I used penne, but your preferred pasta shape would work just fine. There’s definitely room to do your own thing!

 

What is Pesto?

Pesto is a sauce of crushed basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.

It is usually served with pasta.

 

How Long Will Pesto Keep?

Homemade pesto will keep 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

It can be frozen for 3-4 months.

 

How Can You Tell if an Avocado is Ripe?

Gently squeeze the avocado in the palm of your hand.

If it indents slightly, but does not remain indented, it is ripe.

If it remains indented or feels mushy, it is overripe.

You can also gently push on the stem, if it slightly pushes into the avocado, it is ripe.

 

Avocado Pesto Chicken Pasta

Yield: 4-5 servings

Creamy Avocado Pesto Chicken Pasta

Creamy Avocado Pesto Chicken Pasta

Creamy avocado pesto chicken pasta. It's a lightened up version of traditional basil pesto and is done in about 45 minutes (including time to bake the chicken).

Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 4-5 chicken breast tenders
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Spices, for chicken

For the Pasta:

  • 1 lb penne pasta (or desired pasta)
  • 1 tbsp salt

For the Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 packed cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (I used a mixture of both)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 avocado
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

To make the chicken:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Brush chicken generously with olive oil and season with desired spices. I sprinkled salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, and cayenne pepper over top.
  3. Place chicken equally-spaced on greased baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is completely white throughout and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  4. Cut chicken into small pieces and set aside.

To make the pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt.
  2. Add penne and cook for 11 minutes, or until your preferred doneness.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, prepare sauce.
  4. Add basil leaves, garlic, and nuts to a food processor and pulse so the basil and nuts are well broken up.
  5. Add olive oil, lemon juice, avocado flesh, and salt and pepper and process until sauce is creamy.
  6. Once the pasta is done, drain cooked penne with a colander and return pasta to the pot.
  7. Add sauce, Parmesan cheese, and chicken and stir so that everything is combined.

Serve while warm.

Notes

This is a great recipe to use leftover chicken in!Total time for this recipe includes preparing the chicken beforehand, and then cooking the pasta and making the sauce at the same time. It'll likely be quicker if you bake the chicken while the pasta/pesto sauce is happening.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4-5

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 612 Total Fat: 36g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 27g Cholesterol: 44mg Sodium: 2280mg Carbohydrates: 51g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 1g Protein: 24g

This avocado pesto chicken pasta is a quick weeknight meal with a lighter and creamy sauce. A great way to use leftover chicken!

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Spicy Sausage Fettuccine with Basil and Parmesan

Spicy Sausage Fettuccine by mysequinedlife.com

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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4 comments on “Avocado Pesto Chicken Pasta”

  1. Definitely going to make this! I love avocado, need to try it in my pasta!!

  2. My family loved the recipe.. We will try a different one next time.
    Thank for sharing. It is great!!!

  3. Delicious pasta! Plus, so easy to make!