Spinach Pesto Pasta with Fresh Green Beans and Chicken
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This Spinach Pesto Pasta with Fresh Green Beans and Chicken is a delicious way to enjoy fresh vegetables. Made with whole wheat pasta, it’s a light and healthy summer meal!
Last week I wasn’t feeling the whole meal planning thing. I’m usually really good about planning out our dinners for each night of the week, but I needed a break. So I just added a few staple foods like chicken, tortillas and cheese to our grocery list and decided to figure the rest out later. Most weeks it works best for me and my family to have a menu plan, but it was refreshing to take a break for a week and it actually inspired some new recipes!
I had to get creative with what we had in our refrigerator and pantry, and that’s how this Spinach Pesto Pasta with Fresh Green Beans and Chicken came about. I had some spinach in the fridge that was on its last legs, plus green beans from our farm box the week before. A spinach and walnut pesto was the perfect way to use up the spinach, and it was delicious tossed together with rotini pasta, green beans, and grape tomatoes. I added some leftover chicken from the night before for protein, but this pasta could easily be enjoyed vegetarian as well.
I’m adding this Spinach Pesto Pasta with Fresh Green Beans and Chicken to my list of easy 30-minute meals, and I know I’ll be making it again soon! It’s delicious warm, at room temperature, or cold, making it the perfect dish to enjoy on a warm summer evening or as leftovers for lunch.
- 3 cups loosely packed spinach
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup walnuts (toast them if you have time, I was in a hurry)
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ pound green beans, trimmed
- 8 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
- 8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- Place all pesto ingredients except olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped. With the processor running, add the oil in a steady stream through the feed tube and process until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place green beans in the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes, until just crisp-tender. Use a slotted spoon to scoop green beans into a bowl of cold water. Keep water in pot at a boil. Remove green beans from cold water after a few minutes and place on a clean towel to dry.
- Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water; drain pasta and return to the pot.
- Line up the green beans a handful at a time and cut in half. Add beans and chicken to the pot with the pasta. Stir in the pesto, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking water to help loosen the sauce as needed. Gently stir in the tomatoes.
- The pasta is delicious warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Enjoy!
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