Spinach Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake – A delicious and easy recipe made with chicken, whole wheat pasta and tomatoes tossed in a creamy spinach pesto sauce and topped with cheese. This pasta is a winner every time AND it freezes great, too!
Hi Hey! How goes it? Happiest of Mondays to ya! “We” are on Spring Break this week and I’m sorta freaking out about keeping everyone busy and entertained. And by everyone, I mean the 5-year old. WELP!
Which also reminds me!
Where in the WORLD are you?
Come hither… let’s hang out for a bit. M’kay? Thanks, doll!
In other news, Spinach Pesto for the win! AGAIN!
I have developed a relationship of sorts with green food. Ever since my kale obsession took over me couple years back, I’m more and more attracted to all things green.
…so long as there’s cheese somewhere near said green food… ahem.
I’ll be the first to admit that cheese is my savior when it comes to food. As is cake. It’s my nemesis. Yours is probably chocolate. Am I right or am I RIGHT?
In essence, all I’m trying to say is that I made us pasta, it’s green and it’s covered in cheese.
However, this green AND red Spinach Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake is still on the side of healthy. I’ll tell you why: whole wheat pasta! It’s out there… and it tastes goooood! This is a good time to mention that I’ve made this same exact dish with gluten free pasta and that was just as delicious.
Also? This is pure comfort. It’s that go-to dinner that everyone will approve of. It reminds me of those days…you know the ones… the, It’s 4-o’clock, I’m still snooping on Facebook and I don’t have a clue as to what we’re having for dinner, days. Which is like every day for me, but we’re not here to talk about me because sometimes?? Dinner comes in the form of Lemon Curd-Topped Lemon Cake. #bloglife.
This pasta bake is hearty and filling while still light and flavorful. It’s perfect for that leftover chicken, but you can also do without it. No Spinach? Don’t worry. You can pick up a jar of Basil Pesto. I won’t be mad atchya.
I’m also into the fact that this is durable, making it real easy to work with the leftovers. Just a spoon or two of tomato sauce to saucy it up a bit the next day and you’re good to go. Need something for later on in the week? THIS freezes really well. Again, unless you’re into dry food, just add some tomato sauce to it and heat it up.
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Spinach Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake
- 1-1/2 cups dry whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts , cubed
- 1/3- cup spinach pesto <--- click for the recipe
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved
- 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese , divided
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese , for garnish (optional)
- Heat oven to 375ºF.
- Lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Prepare pasta as directed on the package.
In the meantime, prepare the chicken.
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add cubed chicken; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned on all sides and thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat.
- Drain pasta and return to pan.
- Stir in prepared chicken and spinach pesto; mix until well combined.
- Transfer to previously prepared baking dish.
- Top with cherry tomatoes and layer 1/2-cup mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 18 minutes; remove from oven and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven and let stand few minutes.
- Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve.
Recipe NotesOnce the pasta bake is done and cooled off for a minute or two, I like to stir it while it's still in the baking dish just so that the tomato juices can spread out evenly.