Creamy Pesto Chicken Salad

This creamy pesto chicken salad makes the perfect healthy lunch or easy weeknight dinner. It’s easy to make and is packed with protein!

If you are looking for more healthy lunch ideas, check out these bento box ideas or these easy turkey roll ups. You can’t go wrong!

pesto chicken salad in a bowl

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Lunch is one of the harder meals for a lot of people to plan for! For some reason lunch gets pushed to an afterthought when we plan for breakfast and dinner.

In my opinion, lunch is just as important as breakfast and dinner. It gives us something to look forward to during the day and it gives us the energy we need to finish the day!

How do I meal prep for lunch? 

Meal prepping for lunch is just as easy as any other meal. We try to keep our meal prep lunches a little bit lighter than dinner. I don’t know about you, but if I eat a heavy lunch, I will need an afternoon nap ASAP.

I like to make extra dinner and I take a small portion of that and split it up for the week. After that, I like to pair dinner leftovers with a light salad!

I love setting aside a small portion of a healthy pasta from dinner (like this pesto chicken pasta) and then I pair it with a healthy salad to complete my lunch for the week. Put it all in a meal prep container and you’re set!

Chicken Salad Hacks

When it comes to tasty lunches, you just can’t beat chicken salad! We are huge fans of chicken salad because it’s easy to make, packed with protein, and you can flavor it however you would like.

Let’s talk about how to make chicken salad and tips and tricks to make it delicious!

Chicken Prep. 

The most time-consuming part of making chicken salad is preparing the chicken. We love to prep a ton of chicken at the beginning of the week and then use it in different recipes throughout the week.

You can prepare chicken in bulk in the sous vide, Instant Pot, or in the slow cooker without putting a ton of thought into it. After prepping your chicken, shred or chunk your chicken and start adding your favorite chicken salad ingredients.

Chicken salad swaps. 

Traditional chicken salad is made with mayo, grapes, celery, and almonds. A balance is always important in your diet, so you do you, but if you are looking for healthy or different swaps for a traditional chicken salad, check them out below!

  • Chicken–> Turkey
  • Mayo–> Greek Yogurt
  • Almonds–> Cashews
  • Grapes–> Strawberries, Blueberries or Dried Fruit
  • Green Onion–> Red Onion
  • Celery–> Green Peppers

If you have made a traditional chicken salad a million times and are looking for a fun and delicious way to jazz up chicken salad, then this creamy pesto chicken salad is the answer!

ingredients for pesto chicken salad in a bowl

How to Eat Pesto Chicken Salad

This creamy pesto chicken salad is a dream.  Think the midwest meets Italy. You get all of the best ingredients from a Caprese salad plus chicken, pesto, and pine nuts.

After you’ve prepped your chicken, feel free to prepare this homemade pesto or use your favorite store-bought pesto. Do whatever is easiest for you! From there, add in the rest of the ingredients and you’re golden!

My favorite way to eat this chicken salad is alone, but there are options if you want to mix things up a bit!

Throw it in a wrap. Chicken salad wraps are an easy way to eat this chicken salad without needing a fork!

Put it on toast. The perfect summer dinner is a great piece of sourdough bread toasted and topped with this creamy pesto chicken salad.

Have it on greens. If you need a lightened up option for serving this delicious pesto chicken salad, serve it over your favorite greens! We recommend arugula or massaged kale.

Serve it on Naan bread. Naan makes a perfect accompaniment for Mediterranean food! Drizzle naan with a little olive oil and broil it for 2-3 minutes. Then, use it as a spoon to scoop up this yummy pesto chicken salad!

shredded chicken in a bowl

Healthy Chicken Salad Recipes

Recipe

Creamy Pesto Chicken Salad

This creamy pesto chicken salad makes the perfect healthy lunch or easy weeknight dinner. It’s easy to make and is packed with protein!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
Author: Linley Richter
Yield: 4 1x
Category: Lunch
Method: No Bake
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup mozzarella balls, halved
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup full fat greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons pesto (check out our homemade pesto recipe)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place shredded chicken, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, pine nuts, and fresh basil into a large bowl. Mix and set aside.
  2. Create the sauce by mixing together YQ by Yoplait, pesto, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add sauce to the shredded chicken mixture and mix until combined.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 386
  • Sugar: 2
  • Fat: 22
  • Carbohydrates: 5
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 48
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