A fast and easy chicken pasta bake. Made with a creamy pesto sauce and topped with golden cheese.
Chicken and pesto is such a winning combination. Add in perfectly cooked pasta, a creamy sauce plus some spinach and you have a nutritious and delicious dinner ready in 45 minutes. This recipe only has 6 ingredients which makes it super simple to whip up.
For this recipe I used leftover grilled chicken breast. Smoked, roast and BBQ chicken would be great substitutions too.
How to make Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake:
Preheat the oven to 180°C fanbake. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions in a large pot of boiling water. Reserve half a cup of pasta cooking water before draining pasta.
Chop chicken into small pieces. Using the same pot the pasta was cooked in, add the cream, spinach, chicken, pesto and one cup of the cheese. Add the reserved pasta water then season well with salt and pepper. Stir everything together before adding the hot, cooked pasta.
Mix to combine then pour into a large baking dish, spreading out to the edges. Scatter over the remaining half cup of cheese then bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is golden. Serve immediately.
If you love super easy and tasty pasta dinners, be sure to check out my recipes for Easy bacon pasta bake, One pot mince and pasta and One pot chicken and pasta. They are both so popular on my website.
Common questions about Chicken and Pesto Pasta Bake:
Can I freeze this meal? You sure can. Simply stop the recipe at step 7 (just before baking) and freeze until ready to bake. To cook - thaw in the fridge overnight or bake from frozen by putting the dish in a cold oven so it heats up with the oven. Cook until piping hot and cooked through.
What substitutions could I make? The cooked chicken could be swapped for grilled chicken breast, leftover roast chicken or even smoked chicken. Cooking cream could be swapped for regular cream or a dairy free alternative. Feel free to use your favourite combination of cheese to make up the 1.5 cups (eg Tasty, Colby, Edam etc).
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Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake
Cooked pasta, coated in a creamy pesto sauce and topped with golden cheese.
- 500g bowtie pasta
- 400g cooked chicken
- 250ml cream for cooking
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 1.5 cups grated cheese (100g)
- 100g pesto
- Preheat oven to 180.C fanbake.
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water. Reserve half a cup of pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.
- Chop cooked chicken up into small pieces.
- Using the pot that you cooked the pasta in - add the cooking cream, baby spinach, chicken, pesto and one cup of the cheese.
Add the reserved pasta water and season well with salt and pepper.
- Stir everything together and then add the hot cooked pasta.
- Mix to combine then pour into a large baking dish.
- Spread pasta mixture to the edges then scatter over the remaining half cup of grated cheese.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is golden.
- Serve immediately. If you want to bulk up the meal add a side salad and garlic bread.
- To freeze, simply wrap the dish up after sprinkling the cheese on. Defrost, then heat to piping hot in the oven.
- Cherry tomatoes and toasted pinenuts would be great additions to this pasta bake.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 632Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 346mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 31g
Nutritional values are approximate. Please use your own calculations if you require a special diet.
What dairy-free substitutes for cooking cream would you recommend?
Coconut milk or cream - although this has a distinct flavour. You could also try 2/3 soy milk, 1/3 olive oil. Although this particular recipe also uses parmesan, mozzarella and pesto which all have dairy in them.