Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Chicken


  • Cilantro Pistachio Pesto (makes ¾ cup)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup salted pistachios, toasted, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 (13.25 ounce) box whole-wheat rotini or penne pasta
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped cooked white meat chicken (cooked leftovers or rotisserie chicken are options)
  • 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes, halved



To prepared pesto, put cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, pistachios (minus 2 tablespoons), and salt in a food processor or blender.  Add about half the olive oil and blend.  Add remainder of olive oil and blend until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.

Return pasta to cooking pot on low heat, add pesto and chicken, heating until warmed through.  Add tomatoes.  Stir to combine.

Top with reserved 2 tablespoons of nuts then serve.  Can be served warm, room temperature or cold as a summer salad.

Servings:  10

Calories/Serving:  265

Nutrition:  One serving provides approximately:  14 g Protein, 30 g Carbohydrates, 4 g Fiber, 10 g Fat (2 g saturated), 25 mg Cholesterol, 3 mcg Folate, 2 mg Iron, 166 mg Sodium.

Adapted from a recipe developed by Christy Wilson, RD