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Recipe: Pesto Chicken Salad

pesto chicken salad recipe

When I was in college there was a Wolfgang Puck Express on our campus. Why Wolfgang Puck ever thought that the success of his famous, high-end cuisine meant he should open a quick service concept in a university cafeteria is beyond me, but that’s another story. At this particular eatery, all the food was terrible except for one very popular item: the pesto chicken sandwiches. It was chicken salad unlike any I’d ever encountered: big chunks of chicken tossed together with a nutty, garlicky pesto, then piled high on ciabatta. So. good.

Since then, pesto chicken salad has become my favorite version of chicken salad. Forget the heavy, mayonnaise-y version — this stuff is way better, and just as versatile. You can eat it on ciabatta, like I did in college, or even spread it on little crostini for an appetizer. In the summer, Joe and I like to make a big salad and top off the greens with a big scoop of pesto chicken. Add a few slices of heirloom tomato on the side, and it’s heaven.

Pesto chicken salad is insanely easy to make, and there are two ways to go about it. pesto chicken salad

The no-fuss, I-have-no-time-to-cook way: buy some pre-made pesto and a rotisserie chicken from the market. Shred the chicken, mix with pesto. You’re done.

However, I’m a big fan of my own pesto, which I can make more garlicky (and okay, more cheesy too). Plus, this time of year, I can’t walk by all the basil in the store without wanting to take some home! Here’s my own recipe:


9 responses to “Recipe: Pesto Chicken Salad”

  1. Tiffany @ Savor Home, on July 31, 2012 at 5:51 am said:

    Looks so good and I love that it’s so easy!

  2. Anh Lê, on July 31, 2012 at 7:11 am said:

    oh this is absolutely good! I must try soon!

  3. Jewel at Eat.Drink.Shop.Love, on July 31, 2012 at 7:52 am said:

    Yum! I may try this tonight with let over chicken from last nights dinner.

  4. Alyssa, on July 31, 2012 at 8:14 am said:

    This looks so delicious! I love making homemade pesto, particularly because, like you said, I can make it as cheesy as I want!

    The Glossy Life

  5. Melissa, on July 31, 2012 at 8:44 am said:


  6. Kate {Modette}, on July 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm said:

    Yum, I love pesto! This looks so good! x

    Kate {Modette}

  7. jacquelyn |lark&linen, on July 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm said:

    I am obsessed with quick and easy recipes in the warmer months. I will FOR SURE be trying this one!

  8. [...] getting back to spending more time in the kitchen and now I really want to make these and this. Apparently I’m in a pesto mood. (Then again, who doesn’t love a good [...]

  9. shiva catering Fort Lauderdale, on September 5, 2013 at 3:30 am said:

    This is just a perfect find. Pesto is certainly one of my favorites and it would be quite interesting to mix it up with chicken to create a salad. Thank you for sharing this post. I am definitely having this for dinner!


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