Chicken Pesto Pasta

Pasta? Say wha??? Do you even know what pasta tastes like anymore? I sure don’t. I don’t even crave pasta anymore. Chocolate cake, now that is a whole different ball game. I really like chocolate, like really. I sometimes throw all my morals and beliefs to the wind and dive in, head first, into a bag of chocolate covered walnuts. Did I have melted chocolate on my lulu spandex last week? Yes. Judge me, do it. Honey Badger don’t care. If you knew what those chocolate morsels of heaven tasted like, you would have no morals either.

Anywho, pasta dishes are still tempting in the fact they have a ton of cheese piled on top and are usually garnished with something that makes it look even tastier than it actually is. You know what commercials I’m talking about, f*cking Olive Garden. Damn your bread sticks. Damn them. Well, basil pesto is seriously so freaking good. BUT, have you ever looked at the price/lb on pine nuts? Eff that. There is no way I’m spending that kind of money just to make pesto. I’d rather eat the basil leaves by themselves then wash it down with a garlic clove. Ew. So I tried my play with a pesto using macadamia nuts. Those things are kind of expensive too, but not nearly as stupid as pine nuts. This pesto is so delicious, and you don’t even need parmesan for extra flavor. I’m sure you could make this dish with walnuts or even pecans. Don’t quote me on this though. I have no idea what I’m doing in the kitchen. Or in life. So why would you trust me? It’s because I quote the Honey Badger video isn’t it? Thought so.


Chicken Pesto Pasta



For the Pesto–

  • 2/3 cup macadamia nuts
  • 11.5 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 34 garlic cloves, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Pasta–

  • 1.5 lb chicken breasts or thighs, cooked and chopped
  • 2 zucchini (I used Mexican grey squash because they were all out of zucchini. Weird, I know)
  • 2 yellow squash
  • tarragon, to top off with


  1. Let’s get the chicken ready first since that will take a little bit to cook through. Cook the chicken however you would like. Boil it, grill it, pan cook it. Whatever you like best. I cooked mine in a pan because they were breast tenders and cooked through pretty quickly.
  2. While the chicken cooks, pull out your incredibly awesome mandoline. Don’t have one? Well that’s stupid. Go by one. They are cheap and you can find them anywhere. Even the grocery store.
  3. Thinly slice your zucchini and squash length wise into thin strips. Then use a knife to cut them into noodles. Kind of like fettuccine noodle size.
  4. Now make your pesto. But be sure that you’re not over cooking your chicken. Don’t ignore the chicken!! Anyways, pull out your food processor. I know, so many utensils. Add all your pesto ingredients to your food process and mix away! Taste it to see if you need more salt and pepper or even more lemon, olive oil, or basil in it. Your pesto, your flavor.
  5. Now for the shabang. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a large pot or skillet. Then add in your zucchini and squash along with your pesto and mix well. Let that cook down a bit, stirring occasionally, while you cut up your chicken into bite size happy cubes.
  6. Throw in the chicken and mix everything together. Let simmer on low for 5 minutes or so or until the zucchini and squash are tender and “al dente” or however you like your “pasta”. “You know what I’m saying?” Ok, the quotes didn’t work there. Serve with a bit of tarragon on top.

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look at all those noodles!
no, that’s split pea soup. paleo-ers hate those legumes.
don’t you love pictures on my front porch? good lighting.

Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


28 thoughts on “Chicken Pesto Pasta”

  1. I'm trying this one this weekend FOR SURE!!! Yum. But, I may spring for the pine nuts. I hate macadamia nuts! lol


    You might like to try a julienne peeler. It cuts the zucchini in little spaghetti threads in one swipe. Use it like a vegetable peeler. This looks super good and easy. I have a huge bag of pine nuts that I got as a gift just screaming to be used.

  3. I made this recipe last night, except I used shaved almonds and broccoli for the pesto. This was GREAT! Who the hell needs real pasta?? Will try your pesto next time. 🙂

  4. I’m making this tonight! It looks amazing! BUT, I don’t have mac nuts…BOO I know. I DO have a little pine nuts, almonds and cashews..will one work better over the other?

  5. this is AMAZBALLS!!!! favourite so far. everyone at work wants to eat me lunch! ha, it’s all mine!! THANKS!

  6. If you have a Spirooli Spiral Vegetable Slicer (or something similar) you can get really noodly looking zucchini and squash. And they make REALLY long “noodles”. I know what I’ll be making this weekend!

  7. OMG!! This is amazing-ness!! I made this last night and could not stop eating it. It is pure deliciousness!! Thanks for all your awesome recipes!!

  8. I made this last night – without adding any nuts to the pesto – (I am on day 10 of a sugar/nut detox – funny that you are doing the same) – and it turned out great. So – the nuts aren’t really necessary. You should try to make it again without nuts so that you can eat this 🙂

  9. Just made this and it is awesome! I could seriously eat the whole thing but I need lunch tomorrow. Thank you for being you!!

  10. OMG that’s so good ! I just did it with almonds in the pesto and that’s delicious ! Thank you for the recipe, I can’t wait to receive your cookbook !

  11. I made this recipe and it was totally amazing, although I had to use half jar pesto and half my own. THE BEST. I am obssesed with paleo healthy recipe.

  12. wow just made this! i used avocado pesto with chicken ate the whole thing. Didnt realize i just ate 2 zucchinis haha worth it though

  13. This is so delicious. I made it using leftover roasted chicken for a non-paleo guest and she still gobbled it right up. Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  14. Made this tonight for my family and we loved it! My 9 yr old even asked for seconds. We also substituted pine nuts for macadamia. I was hoping for leftovers but I’ll just have to make it another night and remember to double the recipe!

  15. I made this tonight for my family and it was amazing. My 9 yr old son even asked for seconds! We also substituted pine nuts for macadamia. I was hoping for leftovers but will have to make it again soon and double the recipe!

  16. This is definitely going into the rotation. I used pine nuts because the store only had roasted & salted macadamia nuts. This pesto is so delicious! It was my first time making pesto. I want to put it on everything !!

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