This fresh and easy avocado pesto chicken pasta is the perfect way to dress up a boring pan of noodles. Its loaded with a combination of basil and garlic flavors, and packs in some healthy fats, compliments of the olive oil and avocados. This is a great way to use up extra basil during the spring and summer months!
This is a delicious pasta dish that is perfect for date night, Sunday dinner or an easy weeknight dinner. This easy recipe packs in some added health benefits to your normal bowl of pasta. Serve it with a side of sweet potato fries or finish this meal with some oatmeal chocolate chip bars!
Reasons to Love this Recipe
- It has a lot of healthy fats. The avocado and olive oil provide healthy unsaturated fats.
- This is an easy meal option! This recipe can be made in less than 30 minutes, which makes it a perfect weeknight dinner option.
- It’s a great way to use up fresh basil during the spring and summer months.
- It’s light and healthy!
- This pasta can easily be made into a gluten free dish.
- Pasta: choose any type of pasta noodle: rotini, shells, penne, etc. This recipe will work with gluten free pasta if needed.
- Chicken: use cooked chicken breast. Chicken can be baked in the oven, instant pot or on the grill. Cut the chicken breast into strips that are about 1 inch by 2 inches long. This will also work with chicken thigh meat.
- Fresh Basil Leaves: The basil provides flavor. Use fresh basil only. Choose basil leaves that are green and not wilted.
- Avocado: select a ripe, medium to large sized avocado. The avocado should be soft and brown, but not overly mushy.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves: the fresh garlic cloves provide flavor to the pesto. I do not recommend using garlic powder.
- Olive Oil: select a high quality olive oil for best results.
- Parmesan cheese: adds flavor. Use the canned, grated parmesan cheese or the fresh shredded parmesan cheese.
- Lemon juice: helps prevent the avocado from browning.
- Salt & Pepper: this adds flavor and can be adjusted based on preferences.
Let’s Make Some Avocado Pesto Chicken Pasta!
Cook the Noodles
Cook the noodles as directed on the box. Drain and keep warm.
Cook the Chicken
Cut the raw chicken breast into strips that are about 1 inch wide by 2 inches long. The chicken can be cooked in any type of method:
Oven: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place 2 medium chicken breast in a greased 8x8 inch pan. Add ¼ cup of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the chicken. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F. Let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes before cutting it into strips.
Instant Pot: Place 2 medium chicken breasts (about 1.5-inch-thick) in the bottom of the instant pot. Add 1 cup of water. Close the lid, turn the valve to sealing and set the cook time for 10 minutes. Once the chicken has finished cooking, let the steam naturally release for 12 minutes. Open the lid and let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into 1 inch strips.
Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375F. Cut raw chicken into strips. Grease the bottom of the air fryer with non-stick spray release. Place chicken evenly in the bottom of the air fryer pan and cook for 12 minutes, or until the chicken measures 165F with a meat thermometer.
Rotisserie Chicken: remove the skin and bones from the chicken breast. Cut into chicken strips.
Make the Pesto
Combine the basil, avocado, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend for about 30 seconds to 1 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and continue to blend as needed.
Combine Everything Together
In a large serving bowl, combine the noodles, chicken cubes and pesto. Mix well. This works best when the noodles are still warm, because the pesto spreads out more evenly. If needed, warm the mixture over the stove for a few seconds or in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Be careful not to overheat, as the pesto will burn easily. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until warm.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you know that you will not eat the entire dish right away, you can always leave the chicken, pesto and pasta separate, and then combine right before eating. I would not recommend freezing, as the pesto and the pasta will not hold up well.
- Meat Alternatives: Replace the chicken with shrimp, chicken thigh meat or cubed steak.
- Dairy Free: make this recipe dairy free by using nutritional yeast in place of the parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast is a savory alternative that does not contain any dairy.
- Noodle Alternatives: replace the pasta noodles with cooked spaghetti squash or zoodles (zucchini put through a spiralizer tool to make zucchini noodles).
- Gluten Free: this recipe can be made gluten free by using a gluten free noodle. Another alternative is to use Banza pasta, which is pasta that’s made from chickpeas and does not contain wheat.
Tips for Making This Pasta Dish
- Use ripe avocados. The will blend up easier and provide a creamy texture to the pasta sauce. Unripe avocados do not blend well.
- Use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut option. Peel the skin, remove all bones and cut into strips before adding to the dish.
- Serve as fresh as possible. Wait to combine the sauce with the noodles until right before eating it.
- Make this a low carb dish by serving it with spaghetti squash or zoodles. Or check out my avocado pesto recipe for a noodle free option!
This healthy avocado pesto pasta is perfect for an easy weeknight deal, an impressive date night meal or a quick entrée option for a pot luck. The dish can be eaten alone, or served with side dishes.
- Serve the pasta with a side of garlic bread
- Add a side of fresh fruit, such as strawberries and blueberries.
- Serve with a large side salad and Italian dressing
More Easy Dinner Options
Avocado Pesto Chicken Pasta
- 3 cups cooked pasta gluten free if needed
- 1 cup cooked chicken cut into strips (about 1 in wide by 2 in long)
- 1 medium avocado ripe
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese grated, canned
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- ¾ cup basil loosely packed
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan.
- Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain water and set aside.
- Remove the skin and pit from the avocado.
- In a large food processor, combine the avocado, lemon juice, chopped garlic, parmesan cheese, black pepper, salt, olive oil and basil.
- Pulse until pureed and no large pieces remain.
- In a large bowl, combined the pasta, cooked chicken strips and avocado puree. Mix until evenly combined.
- Pour evenly in a large casserole dish and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until warm.