Fabulous chicken pasta salad that’s tossed in a deliciously creamy spinach basil pesto made with yogurt to keep it on the lighter side for a perfect summer dish!
It’s summertime, which means picnics and potlucks are in full swing and I feel like we’re always going to someone’s house or having people over here. I know all too well that where there’s a crowd, there must be food! So in the heat of the summer, something light and fresh always seems to go over best. So I’ve been trying to come up with a few easy dishes that I can make to satisfy a crowd or just get us through a busy week in the summer heat.
This pasta salad is summer perfect! It’s loaded with chicken, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and tossed in a creamy spinach basil pesto that’s made with yogurt to keep it on the lighter side. Pile it on top of a big bed of spinach and you’ve got a stunning salad that’s so full of flavor and freshness!
I’ve made this pasta salad several times and everyone loves it, including the kiddos! It’s great poolside with lots of fresh fruit for nourishment during a day of swimming. I love keeping it in the fridge for a quick lunch throughout the week that can be ready in minutes! I’ve also made it for a family that was in the process of moving homes and it got them through the week without having to cook or even heat anything up. And I’ve made it for a potluck with girlfriends. It’s definitely become a go-to for summer serving and entertaining!
I know you’ll love it too! Enjoy!
- 12 ounce box whole wheat pasta
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup cubed fresh mozzarella
- Creamy Spinach Basil Pesto:
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup packed fresh basil
- 1 cup packed fresh spinach
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
- Prepare the pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Pan sear the chicken with a little salt & pepper until no longer pink and the juices run clear. Let cool on a cutting board for about 5 minutes before cutting into bite-size pieces.
- While the chicken and pasta are cooking and cooling, prepare the pesto. In a blender, blend the garlic, basil, spinach and olive oil until well blended. Stir in the yogurt and shredded parmesan cheese. Salt & pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, chicken, halved tomatoes and pesto.
- In a large serving bowl, layer the spinach over the bottom of the bowl. Top with the pasta mixture. Sprinkle with the cubed mozzarella. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
- Toss together before serving or serve as is. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.