A Spicy Perspective

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken – This easy 30-minute recipe features a bright sun-dried tomato homemade pesto paired with tender chicken and your favorite pasta noodles.

Plate of pesto pasta with slices of chicken and fresh basil.

Why We Love This Easy Pasta Recipe

We love pestos (and pesto pasta) of all kinds! Easy recipes like my Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta, Kale Pesto, Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta, and Creamy Pesto Sauce are quick to make but pack a big punch of bright and herbaceous flavor. This rustic pesto is made with sun-dried tomatoes and basil so it’s earthy, tangy, savory, and fresh in every bite.

We pair Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto with seared chicken breasts and pasta for a complete dinner that satisfies! Best of all, this easy tomato pesto sauce recipe with pasta and chicken is ready to enjoy in under 30 minutes, from start to finish.

Top view plate of chicken pesto pasta.

Ingredients Needed

For the Tomato Pesto

  • Sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • Walnuts – or almonds or pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese – grated
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Garlic cloves
  • Crushed red pepper (red pepper flakes)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

To Make the Chicken Pesto Pasta

  • Dried pasta – I used rigatoni.
  • Boneless chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper
Walnuts, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes in a food processor.

How to Make Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Firstly, set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil.

Meanwhile, place a skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast for 1 to 3 minutes, tossing, until they smell rich and toasty. Then turn off the heat and remove the nuts. Reserve the skillet for later use.

Set out a food processor. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and their oils, toasted walnuts, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves, garlic, and crushed red pepper.

Fresh basil added to food processor with other pesto ingredients.

Purée until smooth. Scrape the bowl of the food processor. Then lock the lid back into place and purée again drizzling olive oil into the food processor, until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

Pureed sun dried tomato pesto in a food processor.

How to Make Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta into the water, stir, and then cook according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water to use in the sauce if needed.

While the pasta is cooking place the skillet back over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil (or butter) to the skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken liberally on both sides. Then sear the chicken breasts for 5 to 6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.

Two seared chicken breasts in a skillet.

Once fully cooked, move the chicken breasts to a cutting board and let them rest for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing them into thin pieces.

When ready to serve, move the cooked pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add about half of the sun-dried tomato pesto.

Get the Complete (Printable) Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Large mixing bowl with penne noodles and heap of pesto in the middle.

Mix well, adding a little bit of reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the pesto.

Add in more pesto if you like.

Pro Tip: You can use all of the sun-dried tomato pesto to make this dish, or save some for later use.

Sun dried tomato pesto pasta combined in a mixing bowl.

Once the pasta is well coated in pesto, stir in the sliced chicken pieces.

Plate of pasta with chicken.

Serving Suggestions

Garnish the chicken and pasta with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Make this a complete pasta dinner by serving it alongside a fresh salad and bread! Enjoy with Homemade Breadsticks, Easy Garlic Bread, or Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread for the full Italian-inspired restaurant experience.

Plate of pasta with fork on the left side.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make this a vegetarian pesto pasta recipe?

Simply omit the chicken for a vegetarian version. Or serve it with seared slices of firm tofu.

It can even be made vegan by using your favorite dairy-free parm cheese substitute!

What else can I do with sun-dried tomato pesto?

The deep tangy flavor and silky consistency of this pesto make it perfect to smear on sandwiches. Or include it in a charcuterie platter for dipping!

It can also be used in other pasta dishes. Try it in place of the suggested recipe pesto in dishes like Chicken Pesto Pasta, Pesto Chicken Tortellini, and Baked Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Chicken.

What can I use instead of sun-dried tomato pesto to make pasta with chicken?

If you are looking for a fabulous chicken pasta recipe that doesn’t include pesto, try my No-Boil Chicken Parmesan Pasta or One Pot Chicken Pasta with Light Basil Cream Sauce.

What else can I put in homemade pesto?

Pesto is a blend of good olive oil, nuts, cheese, garlic, and WHATEVER else you would like to put in it! Try making it with artichokes, roasted vegetables, spinach, arugula, or sauteed mushrooms.

How long do leftovers last?

This is a great make-ahead recipe for your weekly meal prepping! The sundried tomato pesto flavors and pasta just get tastier and tastier after they have been combined. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container and enjoy within 4 days.

Sun dried tomato pesto noodles and chicken with fork, portion eaten.

Looking for More Easy Pasta Recipes?

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes
Leave a Review »

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
This easy 30 minute recipe features a bright sun dried tomato pesto paired with tender chicken and your favorite pasta noodles!
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the Tomato Pesto –

For the Chicken Pesto Pasta –

Instructions

  • Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, place a skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast for 1 to 3 minutes, tossing, until they smell rich and toasty. Then turn off the heat and remove the nuts. Reserve the skillet for later use.
  • Set out a food processor. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and their oils, toasted walnuts, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Purée until smooth. Scrape the bowl of the food processor. Then lock the lid back into place and purée again drizzling olive oil into the food processor, until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
  • Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta into the water, stir, and then cook according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water to use in the sauce if needed.
  • While the pasta is cooking place the skillet back over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil (or butter) to the skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken liberally on both sides. Then sear the chicken breasts for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once fully cooked, move the chicken breasts to a cutting board and let them rest for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing into thin pieces.
  • When ready to serve, move the cooked pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add about half of the sun-dried tomato pesto. Mix well, adding a little bit of reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the pesto. Add in more pesto if you like. You can use it all, or save some for later use.
  • Once the pasta is well coated in pesto, stir in the sliced chicken pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Use any kind of dried pasta you like. Omit the chicken for a vegetarian version.
This is a great make ahead recipe for your weekly meal prepping! The pesto flavors and pasta just get tastier and tastier after they have been combined. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container and enjoy within 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cup, Calories: 717kcal, Carbohydrates: 96g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 311mg, Potassium: 2782mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 27g, Vitamin A: 752IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 179mg, Iron: 8mg
Course: Main, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: American, Italian, Mediterranean
Author: Sommer Collier

Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!

Share This Recipe With Friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Did you make this recipe? Rate it!




4 comments on “Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken”

  1. I make something similar but using store bought pesto. I’ll now make your homemade recipe. It’s delicious. If I want to make a really rich sauce, I use the pesto, spinach, chicken broth, wine and herb and garlic goat cheese. Thank you for this recipe.

  2. Such an amazing meal for weeknights! My whole family really enjoyed it! Thanks!

  3. We love pesto so I knew I had to make this right when I saw it. It didnt disappoint!! What a yummy dish!

  4. I looove this pasta dish!! It is so yummy & the leftovers are great too!!