Chicken & Vegetable Penne with Parsley-Walnut Pesto Homemade pesto may seem daunting, but in this quick pasta recipe you can make a simple sauce in minutes while the pasta water comes to a boil. You can substitute frozen green beans and cauliflower for fresh; in Step 4, cook the frozen vegetables according to package directions before tossing with the pasta and pesto.


20 mins


30 mins




  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • ½ teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cups shredded or sliced cooked skinless chicken breast (8 oz.)
  • 6 ounces whole-wheat penne or fusilli pasta (1 3/4 cups)
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise (2 cups)
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (8 oz.)


    Step 1

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

    Step 2

    Place walnuts in a small bowl and microwave on High until fragrant and lightly toasted, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. (Alternatively, toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.) Transfer to a plate and let cool. Set 1/4 cup aside for topping.

    Step 3

    Combine the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Process until the nuts are ground. With the motor running, gradually add oil through the feed tube. Add Parmesan and pulse until mixed in. Scrape the pesto into a large bowl. Add chicken.

    Step 4

    Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water for 4 minutes. Add green beans and cauliflower; cover and cook until the pasta is al dente (almost tender) and the vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes more. Before draining, scoop out 3/4 cup of the cooking water and stir it into the pesto-chicken mixture to warm it slightly. Drain the pasta and vegetables and add to the pesto-chicken mixture. Toss to coat well. Divide among 4 pasta bowls and top each serving with 1 Tbsp. of the reserved walnuts.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2 cups Per Serving: 514 calories; protein 31.4g; carbohydrates 43.4g; dietary fiber 8.6g; sugars 4.8g; fat 26.6g; saturated fat 4.2g; cholesterol 53.9mg; vitamin a iu 1736.3IU; vitamin c 55mg; folate 127.4mcg; calcium 156.1mg; iron 4.6mg; magnesium 138.3mg; potassium 816.8mg; sodium 556.6mg.


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