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Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard

    This Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard is the perfect one-pot meal that will save you time in the kitchen and give you a delicious and nutritious dinner.

    Pesto chicken pasta with swiss chard.

    Swiss chard is one of my absolute favorite leafy greens. I’m talking dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, mustard greens, chard, etc. These antioxidant rich vegetables are nutrition power houses, and I love incorporating them into my dinners. And if I can keep the meal quick and clean? Even better! My Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard is the perfect one-pot meal that will have you in and out of the kitchen in no time. And the homemade pesto can be made weeks ahead of time!


    For the pesto: basil leaves, garlic, parmigianno reggiano cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, pine nuts, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

    For the chicken pasta: penne pasta, chicken breasts, Swiss chard, basil pesto, and salt and pepper.

    How to Make Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard

    Chopping swiss chard

    Start your Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard by preparing your ingredients. Wash and chop the chard leaves, and on a separate cutting board cut your chicken breasts into cubes snd pat dry.

    Cooking chicken in pan

    Then in a large skillet, cook your chicken in some olive oil, seasoning with some salt and pepper. once evenly cooked through, remove from pan and set aside.

    Seasoning swiss chard

    In the same pan, add the chopped Swiss chard and another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Make sure you keep and cook the stems!

    Adding pesto to chard

    Next, add the homemade pesto. The pesto is so easy to make; literally add all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. But store bought works as well.

    Adding cooked chicken to swiss chard

    Add the cooked chicken back to the pan and stir until warmed through.

    Adding cooked pasta to pan

    Then add the cooked penne to the pan.

    Adding reserved pasta water to dish

    Pour the reserved pasta water over it all and let simmer for a couple minutes.

    Freshly grating cheese over pesto chicken pasta

    Finish with freshly grated parmiggiano reggiano or parmesan cheese on top.

    Forkful of pesto chicken pasta with Swiss chard.

    Serve and enjoy your one-pan dinner of Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard!

    Easy Substitutions

    • Switch the greens. Use kale, spinach, or a combination of favorites.
    • Make it vegetarian. Take out the chicken, and add more veggies! Meaty mushrooms and bell peppers would be delicious in this dish, or some sun-dried tomatoes.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What else can you do with pesto?

    I love to use pesto to top grilled or roasted veggies, a caprese salad, or on top of bruschetta.

    Can you eat Swiss chard raw?

    Yes you can, although it’s a tad bitter.

    How do I store leftover chicken pasta?

    Kept in an airtight container, leftovers will stay good in the fridge for up to 4 days.

    Pesto chicken pasta with Swiss chard.

    More Leafy Green Recipes

    Like It, Eat It, Share It!

    Did you try this dish and love it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your meal.

    Liz eating Pesto Chicken pasta with Swiss chard.

    Save some time, get in your daily greens, and enjoy a delicious meal with my Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard.

    Your fork is waiting.

    Pesto chicken pasta with swiss chard

    Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard

    5 stars average
    This Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard is the perfect one-pot meal that will save you time in the kitchen and give you a delicious and nutritious dinner.
    COOK: 15 mins
    TOTAL: 15 mins
    Servings: 4


    • 8 ounces whole wheat penne
    • 12 ounces boneless chicken breasts (cubed)
    • ½ teaspoon sea salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 bunch swiss chard (chopped)
    • Basil Pesto (see recipe below)

    Basil Pesto

    • 1 cup basil leaves (packed)
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • ½ cup parmigianno reggiano cheese
    • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • 2 tablespoon pine nuts (toasted)
    • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    • Combine all basil pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
    • Prepare whole wheat penne according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup starchy cooking liquid.
    • Meanwhile, heat a large sauce pan to medium-high heat and spray with non-stick spray. Season cubed chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook until chicken is browned, about 7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
    • Add swiss chard to the pan along with 2 tbs reserved cooking water. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits leftover from the chicken. Cover and let steam for 2 minutes.
    • Add basil pesto to the chard and cook until warmed. Add more of the reserved pasta water to loosen pesto and make a sauce. Stir chicken back in and heat until warm. Serve with optional parmesan cheese on top.

    Recipe Video


    Excellent source of Vitamin A, C, and Iron


    Calories: 501kcalCarbohydrates: 46.8gProtein: 35.3gFat: 20.5gSaturated Fat: 3.7gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 226mgFiber: 4.3g

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    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:

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