This toasted almond parsley pesto pasta with chicken is made with fresh Italian parsley, toasted almonds, parmesan cheese, and shredded chicken. It is a perfect meal that is full of flavor and easy to make. If you are a pasta lover, then this recipe is perfect for you!
This parsley pesto pasta dish can be made in about 15 minutes. It gets so much flavor from the toasted almonds and you will find that it is a recipe you will want to add to your favorites!
I love to make this homemade pesto and toss it with orecchiette pasta because I love how the shape of the pasta is like a little bowl that holds a bit of pesto so perfectly! You can make this with any pasta shape you prefer though.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- You can utilize leftovers. This is a great recipe to make when you have leftover parsley that needs to be used up. It is also a great way to use leftover chicken. I usually only need a tablespoon or so of parsley in most recipes, so when I have some leftover, I make this!
- It is easy. All of the pesto ingredients get tossed into the food processor and blended together. Then all you have to do is pour it over the cooked pasta and stir! This recipe requires no special skills and minimal effort! This is a perfect meal for busy weeknights.
- The toasted almonds. I think the toasted almonds are the best part about this recipe. I love the flavor they give and the bit of added crunchiness to the pesto. You really can't go wrong with adding toasted almonds to your recipes.
Here are notes about some of the ingredients needed to make this easy dinner. All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store or at an online retailer, like Amazon.
- Pasta: You can really use any pasta shape and size you prefer. I think orecchiette is best for this recipe.
- Parsley: Use Italian or flat leaf parsley.
- Olive oil: Use a high quality olive oil for the best flavor.
- Almonds: Use raw almonds that you have toasted on the stove.
- Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated parmesan cheese is always going to be best, but you can use store-bought grated parmesan cheese too.
- Garlic: Freshly minced garlic is going to be best, but minced from a jar works too! You will need one clove of garlic or ½ teaspoon minced.
- Chicken: I like to use shredded rotisserie chicken for this. Any leftover or cooked or grilled chicken will work great!
Step by Step Instructions
STEP 1: Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions.
STEP 2: Before draining, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Once the pasta is drained, return it to the saucepan and set it aside while you prepare the pesto.
STEP 3: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the parsley, olive oil, almonds, parmesan cheese, and garlic. Process until desired consistency is reached. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if desired.
STEP 4: Add the pesto and chicken the pan with the pasta. Stir well to combine and throughly coat the pasta and chicken with the sauce. Add some of the cooking water by the tablespoonful if it seems too dry.
STEP 5: Transfer to a serving dish and top with additional parmesan cheese, toasted almonds and parsley, if desired.
- To toast the almonds, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast until starting to brown and fragrant, making sure to shake the pan occasionally.
- If you are using leftover chicken, heat it in the microwave before adding it to the pasta.
- If you do not have a food processor, a blender will work too.
- Prepare the pesto while the pasta cooks.
- Add cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.
Yes! This pesto would be great on a variety of other things like salmon, chicken, in pasta salads or spread on bread. You could try it on pizza, mixed in to a salad dressing or on roasted vegetables.
Absolutely! This would be great with basil. It would also be great to substitute fresh baby spinach for the parsley.
Yes. You can really use any kind of nut you would prefer for this recipe. I would still go ahead and toast the nuts for the best flavor. Some good choices for alternative nuts would be pine nuts, walnuts or pistachios.
Storing and Freezing
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave until heated through.
Freeze leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave until heated through.
More Recipes to Try
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Toasted Almond Parsley Pesto Pasta with Chicken
- ½ pound pasta
- 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ½ cup raw almonds, toasted
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken
- In a large saucepan, cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water before draining.½ pound pasta
- Return the pasta back to the saucepan and set aside while you prepare the pesto.
- Place parsley, olive oil, almonds, parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor and process until well blended. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if needed.1 cup fresh Italian parsley, ¾ cup olive oil, ½ cup raw almonds, toasted, ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic
- Combine the pesto and chicken with the pasta in the saucepan. Stir well to coat completely.1 cup shredded, cooked chicken
- Transfer to a serving dish and top with additional parmesan cheese, toasted almonds and parsley, if desired.