This Walnut Pesto Chicken Salad is a versatile recipe you can use for so many things!
We had some friends over for dinner this weekend. It was a casual gathering that we planned at the last minute, so I was making the risotto that was already on the menu before we were decided to have guests over. I just happened to have enough ingredients on hand to double the recipe, and it’s a super tasty dinner, so it was an easy choice.
As I was cooking and talking, things were going swimmingly. At the end of the cooking time (this risotto is baked in the oven instead of constant stirring on the stove top–such a game-changer for me!) three things need to be added into the dish: kale, cooked bacon, and cooked chicken.
The kale and bacon made it into the risotto, but the cooked chicken remained, chopped and ready, in the fridge. Tim gave me his classic “Oh, Maryea” look as I served the meal and realized I’d forgotten the chicken.
See, I’m a pretty scatterbrained person. Remembering things is not my strong point. And doing two things at once (you want me to cook and talk?) compounds the problem.
But here’s the beauty in my forgetfulness. Sometimes, mistakes become opportunities and in this case my mistake was an opportunity to create something new. This glorious chicken salad recipe never would have been born without my forgetting to add the chicken to the risotto.
And you know what? I am in love with this walnut pesto chicken salad. Throw a few simple ingredients in the food processor, give it a whirl, and 5 minutes later you have a flavorful, nutritious lunch. Let’s take a look what’s in this unique pesto:
- walnuts: flavor, crunch, and heeeellllo omega 3s! (Did you know walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids? So many benefits! Eat them up.)
- sun-dried tomatoes: flavor! I love the flavor these add to the mix.
- thyme: more flavor!
- baby spinach and/or kale: TONS of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber.
- extra-virgin olive oil: healthy fat and just enough to create the right texture
- chicken: protein, iron, vitamin B-6
6 ingredients that add up to a perfectly balanced lunch. Full of nutrition and full of flavor! And guess what? Each serving clocks in at just under 300 calories. So you can totally put this atop a bed of lettuce and call it a light lunch. For a heartier option, enjoy it on your favorite bread or in a wrap. I hope you’ll give this healthy chicken salad recipe a try soon!Print
Also, if you try it, would you mind rating the recipe? It’s VERY helpful for me and other readers if the recipes have ratings and reviews. I appreciate you!
Even Luke enjoyed this pesto chicken salad. If you have a little one who isn’t against green things yet, you may have luck serving this, too! Meghan, on the other hand, couldn’t even fathom trying such a thing. She’ll eat the chicken. She’ll eat the walnuts. She’ll even eat the spinach or kale if it’s in a smoothie. Mix them all together and she’s out. No way. *Sigh* She keeps telling me she going to like these kinds of things when she “gets bigger.” Here’s to hoping. 🙂