Nut-free chicken pesto pasta

30/11/2016 Canteen recipes, GREEN, Healthy Eating, Hot meals, Lunchbox, Occasional, Recipes, Salad

GREEN (ACT & SA) / Everyday (NSW)

Makes 10 serves

Pesto ingredients (makes 125ml):

  • 1 cup (35g) firmly packed basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup (10g) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds), lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon (10g) sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons water (optional)

Pasta ingredients:

  • 500g chicken breast, chopped into bite sized chunks and poached
  • 625g dry pasta of your choice (e.g. penne, macaroni), cooked according to instructions and drained
  • 200g cherry tomatoes (one punnet)
  • 300g broccoli (one head)

Pesto method:

  1. Place all pesto ingredients (except oil and water) into a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream.
  4. Check the taste and consistency and add extra lemon juice, pepper or water to modify taste or thickness.

Pasta method:

  1. Cut the broccoli into small trees and the stem into small chunks.
  2. Lightly steam or boil the broccoli until just cooked.
  3. Halve the cherry tomatoes.
  4. Place the cooked chicken, cooked pasta, broccoli and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl, then add the pesto and mix well.
  5. Divide amongst 10 containers and serve either hot or cold.


  • Use this pesto recipe as a spread to add a zing to homemade pizzas, wraps, sandwiches and burgers.


  • Keep an eye on the seeds as they’re toasting because they can quickly burn.
  • Double or triple the recipe based on your needs.

Recipe tested by ES October 2016

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