During the warm Summer months, I avoid turning on the oven at all costs. This is even more true now that I’m 9 months pregnant and seem to be 20 degrees warmer than everyone else around me! 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. The basil pesto can be made days or weeks ahead of time. In fact, it freezes fabulously so feel free to make extra and store leftovers in a small plastic zip-lock in your freezer. When you find yourself in the middle of Winter without a fresh herb in site, you will be happy to have homemade pesto waiting for you.
Swiss chard is one of my absolute favorite leafy greens. Not to point any fingers, but I’m guessing your family isn’t eating enough leafy greens. I’m not talking romaine lettuce – I’m talking dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, mustard greens, chard, etc. These antioxidant rich vegetables are nutrition power-houses. Intimidated on how to incorporate? Here are a few additional recipes containing leafy greens:
Your fork is waiting.
Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard
- 8 oz whole wheat penne
- 12 oz boneless chicken breasts (cubed)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 bunch swiss chard (chopped)
- Basil Pesto (see recipe below)
- 1 c basil leaves (packed)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 c parmigianno reggiano cheese
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbs pine nuts (toasted)
- 1/4 c 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 before adding to pan.
- Cook until chicken is browned, about 7 minutes.
- Remove chicken from pan.
- 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 cooking water to loosen the pesto and create a sauce.
- Stir in chicken and pasta before serving.