Mediterranean Pesto Chicken Pasta
Talk about excellent leftovers, this Mediterranean Pesto Chicken Pasta featuring the best green olives ever and sun-dried tomatoes is actually better the next day and husband approved.
For as long as I can remember really cooking food (aka: post college) I’ve been known for creating what I’ve coined to call ‘skillet creations’. My husband has had a lot of skillet creations because they make wonderful leftovers and we pack our lunches everyday making these a go to staple.
Plus, skillet creations make it easy to pack in some vegetables without feeling like you are eating A GIANT HEAD OF BROCCOLI on the side with a small piece of meat. No one loves that, let’s be honest. Today’s pasta dish falls into the category of a skillet creation.
A few key ingredients you’ll need:
I picked up this brown rice pasta from the health section at the grocery store. If you can’t find that specific brand, you can always use a different shape of brown rice noodle in another brand.
The reason I choose brown rice pasta is because it is naturally gluten free and I tend to feel better when I limit gluten intake although I still consume some level of gluten daily. Gluten aside, whole wheat pasta which is a common alternative to be a ‘healthier pasta’ is very gritty and the texture just isn’t the same where white pasta well, has hardly any nutritional value. Brown rice pasta still has awesome consistency and flavor (just don’t overcook it) and more protein and fiber than white pasta.
You have got to try these olives. Let me explain. I don’t really love green olives. Never have. I’m much more of a black olive kind of gal until my husband stumbled across these at the grocery store and then I found this oversized jar at Costco last weekend. HEAVENLY!
Castelvetrano olives are more tender than black olives and are almost buttery in texture and taste. The easiest way to pick them out on the shelf at the store; look for the brightest green olive they have, those are probably castelvetranos.
You will also need about ½ a cup of pesto. You can make your own fresh pesto that was featured on the blog yesterday that takes all of 5 minutes or less to make or you can use store bought if you’re in a pinch.
Gather and prep your ingredients including slicing the zucchini, soaking your sundried tomatoes (I buy the dried ones in a bag), slicing the olives, gathering capers, pesto and I used a bit of artichoke pesto in a jar. If you like artichokes, I would add a can of diced artichoke hearts instead of the artichoke pesto, which I plan to do next time.
Sear chicken breast over high heat in grapeseed oil as EVOO has a low cooking point and will burn at higher temps. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder while cooking.
Once chicken is done, remove from skillet and place on cutting board to cool a bit before slicing. Meanwhile, sear the zucchini over high heat to get the crispiness without the mushiness.
While zucchini is cooking, boil noodles according to package directions in an extra large pot that everything will be mixed in after noodles cook. Slice chicken breast into thin slices. When zucchini is nearing done, add olives, sundried tomatoes (drained), capers, and pesto to heat through.
Drain noodles and return to pot adding remaining ingredients to the pasta and mix everything together over low heat until pesto is well distributed.
Serve topped with a light sprinkle of parmesan. No skillet creation is complete without a sprinkle of parmesan!
What is your favorite dish to make that is great for leftovers?
- 1 box short cut brown rice pasta
- 3 chicken breasts
- 1 c. castelvetrano olives (pits removed)
- 1/2 sun-dried tomatoes julienne cut, soaked in water
- 1/4 c. capers
- 1/2 c. fresh pesto (or store bought)
- 2 lg. zucchinis, cut in thick coins and cut in half
- 1 can artichoke hearts, diced (opt.)
- Parmesan cheese for serving
- Grapeseed oil for cooking chicken and zucchini
- Salt & pepper
- Garlic powder, light dusting on chicken & zucchini
- Onion powder, light dusting on chicken & zucchini
- Sear chicken breast over high heat in grapeseed oil. Sprinkle chicken with S&P, garlic powder, and onion powder. Flip once, halfway through cooking. When done, remove from skillet and place on cutting board to let cool slightly.
- Saute zucchini in same skillet as chicken over high heat in grapeseed oil. High heat allows crispiness without becoming mushy. Sprinkle with S&P, onion powder and garlic powder. When zucchini is close to done, add sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, artichokes and pesto and turn heat to low. Stir to combine and heat through.
- Meanwhile, boil noodles to package directions in an extra large pot. Do not overcook the noodles. Drain noodles and return to pot. Add chicken and zucchini mixture to the noodles and stir to combine over very low heat to evenly coat the pasta.
- Serve topped with parmesan.