When you are short on time but don’t want to skimp on flavor, pesto pasta with pan-seared chicken comes to the rescue in 30 minutes or less.
Thick linguine covered in from scratch pesto, topped with pan-seared chicken, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Hands down pesto pasta with pan-seared chicken is one of my favourite meals to make.
Sort on time? Want to impress your family or friends?
This is the dish.
Your family will thank you for it. You will thank yourself for it. One of the benefits of being single is that I don’t have to share if I don’t have company over… 😉
It’s easy to think that you have to compromise on flavor when you need a meal on the table in a hurry. Thankfully that isn’t true. Savory and delicious flavor is at your fingertips when you simply use a couple of simple kitchen tricks.
#1 Pan-seared chicken
This will seriously change your meal game. I learned this simple skill from Kimi Harris, The Nourishing Gourmet several years ago.
It’s pretty simple. Flatten your chicken breast. Sprinkle it with LOTS of salt and some pepper. Sear it on high heat in a cast iron skillet with your choice of cooking oil or fat.
The result is chicken that is crispy on the outside and tender inside, popping with flavor. The salt, fat, and heat create natural umami. Umami is considered the 5th flavor after the official four- sweet, sour, salt, and bitter. It is full of naturally occurring glutamates that give food it’s delicious flavor.
If you have a bit of extra time cook more chicken than you need for this dish and save it for salads later in the week.
Pesto is such a beautiful thing. You can drizzle it over pizza, pour it over your pasta, spread it on a sandwich, toss it with a pasta salad, eat it with a spoonful, you get the picture.
You can make a batch ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for at least two weeks. If you know you aren’t going to use it all before then, you can freeze it. Pesto thaws beautifully.
Garlic and parmesan, like chicken, are also full of umami. And if you didn’t already guess it, so are tomatoes. That is why dishes like this can make it so hard to put your fork down. All those naturally occurring glutamates make your tastes bud want to keep eating.
Money Saving Tip
If you have a store like Trader Joe’s that sells potted plants, you might be able to buy an entire basil plant for the same price as a bunch of basil. Take off what you need for one batch of pesto and then plant it in the ground or in a pot. Give it a bit of time and you will have plenty of fresh basil for another batch of pesto and then some.
Roast some broccoli or carrots in the oven while everything is cooking for an amazing side of vegetables. If you don’t roast your veggies yet you will again, and again after you do it one time. I have a couple of roasted vegetable recipes up my sleeves to share with you soon.
I am a protein, veggie, and carbs girl. You can use any type of pasta for this dish but if you can fit it in your budget Jovial makes the best pasta! I love their Einkorn pasta the most. If you haven’t tried Einkorn yet you are in for a treat, it is an ancient type of wheat, most likely the same type of wheat grown and harvested in Bible times, how cool is that?
Do you want to know a secret? This dish can be dairy-free too. Cashews take the place of parmesan and pine nuts traditionally found in pesto. The results, a creamy, dairy-free pesto that saves you money too!
If you are looking for more weeknight meal inspiration you have to check out my new favourite cookbook, Tuesday Nights. It is hands down one of my most used cookbooks!
Pesto pasta with pan-seared chicken can be on your table in 30 minutes or less making it a perfect weeknight meal with the taste of a weekend meal. What’s not to love?
Other pesto dishes to try:
Kitchen Tools Need:
Pesto Pasta with Pan-Seared Chicken
Pesto Pasta with Pan-Seared Chicken
Yield 4 servings
When you are short on time but don't want to skimp on flavor, pesto pasta with pan-seared chicken comes to the rescue in 30 minutes or less.
- In a medium saucepan, add at least one teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until done per the package's directions. While the pasta is boiling start cooking the chicken.
- Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Then place the chicken between parchment paper and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until they are a 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Continue to pound the remaining chicken breasts.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once you feel the heat radiating from the skillet, add the oil and swirl it around until the surface of the skillet is covered. Add several pieces of chicken. Don't overcrowd the chicken. Cook for about 3 minutes per side. You want the chicken to be lightly brown before you flip it over.
- Continue to cook the remaining chicken. Cut one piece of chicken to ensure that it is cooked through.
- Thinly slice the chicken.
- Drain the pasta. Return to the pot or a pretty serving bowl. Pour the pesto over the pasta. Add the chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss and serve.