Pesto Chicken Salad
Yesterday, my grandparents came over to visit for the first time since we moved. They came for lunch, and I racked my brain for a couple of days about what I could make for them. Sometimes I find a lunch menu much more difficult than dinner; you want something substantial, but not too heavy. I gave chicken salad a brief thought, but it’s never my favorite meal, mostly because I hate the gloppy mayonnaise thing. Then I remembered that my mom had given me a large package of basil from her garden, and a light bulb went off. Pesto chicken salad!
I’ve made variations of this pasta pesto dish before, and it seemed like the perfect starting point for a pesto chicken salad. I took my favorite pesto, added frozen chopped spinach (which I had thawed), some mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Voila! If you use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, it’s an incredibly quick meal and very filling. I served the sandwiches on croissants, but you could use your favorite rolls or bread.
Everyone raved about the chicken salad, and my Chief Culinary Consultant already requested another batch for sandwiches this week. He also added that a couple of pieces of bacon would be a great addition. A man after my own heart; bacon does make everything better! This salad is going into my stash of killer lunch recipes; it’s definitely a keeper.
One year ago: Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream Topping
Two years ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Main Dishes
Three years ago: Anise Cookies
Four years ago: Scallion Pancakes with Ginger Dipping Sauce and Snickerdoodles
Five years ago: Fresh Blueberry Pie and Plain Bagels
Pesto Chicken Salad
- 2 pounds (907.18 g) cooked chicken, diced small
- 1½ cups (372 g) pesto, homemade or store-bought
- 10 ounce (283.5 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1¼ cups (280 g) mayonnaise
- ¾ teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
- Place the chicken in a large bowl; set aside.
- Place the pesto, spinach and lemon juice in a food processor or blender and puree until combined and smooth. Add the mayonnaise and puree again for about 5 to 10 seconds to combine.
- Pour the pesto mixture over the chicken, add the salt and pepper, and stir to completely coat all of the chicken. Serve on your croissants or your favorite bread. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Hair curler suppliers This is amazing. Thanks for sharing this blog. I have become a fan of your blogs. This blog is so interesting and informative.
Made these tonight and they were so delicious! Put a very nice spin on the chicken salad croissant!
Could I use fresh spinach instead? Would I need to do anything to it first before adding to the food processor? Thanks!
Hi Lisa, I think spinach would work, albeit a bit less flavorful than basil. You would not need to do anything to it before adding it to the food processor.
I am sorry, I should have specified! I meant fresh spinach in place of the frozen spinach. I am going to try it today and let you know how it turns out. Thank you for the response!
Yum yum yum
This was so delicious! Good way to sneak in an extra serving of leafy greens, and pesto makes everything tasty. Thanks for a new lunch staple!
Looks delicious! I’ll try it sometime soon, definitely! c;
Yum! Made this last night for an easy dinner – was delicious! Thanks for the recipe
This looks so yummy. Two of my favorite things Chicken and Pesto :)
This looks delish but I have one question……why did you include the spinach with the pesto? Would the salad taste too rich or too basily with just the pesto and no spinach? Just wondering…..looks yummy.
I go nuts over any chicken salad. It’s my favorite. I like it with so many variations and this pesto version sounds delicious!
I love pesto sauce
Compatible with chicken meat
I love it
Thanks for the recipe
LOVE that this is on a croissant base, my favorite sandwich bread!
What a great idea! I love pesto and I love chicken salad — can’t believe I’ve never thought to put them together before. Yummy!
I love pesto, what a perfect lunch idea!
I’m on a crazy pesto kick right now but never thought of using it like this – brilliant! Thanks!
Nothing betting in a summer than chicken salad! Love the pesto variety!
Chicken salad is my favorite lunch food ever! I never thought to add pesto in it. Sounds delish!!!!
Yum!! I am looking for new lunch ideas and cannot really have lunch meat right now because I am pregnant. Just one question – could I substitute out the mayo for anything else? I am not a fan of mayo at all! Maybe greek yogurt or sour cream? Love your recipes! Thanks.
Greek yogurt is a great mayo substitute in chicken salad. Just be sure to buy the plain (unflavored), not the vanilla as I mistakenly did once! :-)
Hi Kristi, I will say you can’t taste the mayonnaise at all; it just gives it a creamy texture (I’m not a big mayo fan, either). That being said, you could certainly substitute plain greek yogurt if you’d like. Enjoy!
This sounds fabulous! Chicken salad is so delicious!
Love this idea for a sandwich. Pesto is a summer favorite of mine!
I need this for lunch!
Looks awesome!! And I agree that bacon would be a great addition ;)
Yum! I love how you served it on a croissant! Beautiful!!
What a fab idea! This sounds so delicious and super flavorful!
Yum! Bacon sounds good and I would add some pine nuts regardless of whether your pesto already has them. You can never have too many nuts!
This is a great idea. I think pesto makes almost everything better. Love that you added spinach, and bacon does sound like an incredible idea!