Today we are having tasty, cheesy and healthy Chicken Pesto Pasta. This pasta is made with whole wheat pasta noodles, chicken and cherry tomatoes in a pesto sauce. This dish is low fat (plus we are going to bake it!). You can add some extra spinach and you’ll make it even healthier! Also, this dish can be prepared one day before and baked the next morning!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts — cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound Whole Wheat Pasta
- 135 ounce jar Pesto
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach — thawed with as much of the liquid squeezed out as possible.
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes — halved (or 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes of choice. If the tomatoes are very liquidy, blot away the excess liquid first)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese — or a blend of mozzarella and provolone
- ¼cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves — roughly chopped, divided
- ¼cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the diced chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté the chicken until golden on all sides and fully cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- In a large stockpot of boiling, generously salted water, cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid and then drain. Return pasta to the stockpot.
- While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl, whisk together the pesto and Greek yogurt until evenly combined. Stir in the spinach, breaking it up as needed and stirring until evenly combined.
- To the stockpot with the pasta, add the pesto/Greek yogurt mixture. Gently stir to coat the noodles in the pesto mixture. If the sauce is too thick, splash in some of the pasta water. It should be a little saucy.
- Add the cooked chicken, cherry tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Gently toss to combine.
- Pour half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 cup mozzarella and half of the basil. Layer the remaining half of the pasta over the top, spreading it into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and sprinkle immediately with the Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve warm.
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