Chicken & Vegetable Penne with Parsley-Walnut Pesto

Chicken & Vegetable Penne with Parsley-Walnut Pesto

1 Review
From: Diabetic Living Magazine, Spring 2019

Homemade pesto may seem daunting, but in this quick pasta recipe you can make a simple sauce in minutes while the pasta water comes to a boil. You can substitute frozen green beans and cauliflower for fresh; in Step 4, cook the frozen vegetables according to package directions before tossing with the pasta and pesto.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • ½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cups shredded or sliced cooked skinless chicken breast (8 oz.)
  • 6 ounces whole-wheat penne or fusilli pasta (1¾ cups)
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise (2 cups)
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (8 oz.)


  • Prep

  • Ready In

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Place walnuts in a small bowl and microwave on High until fragrant and lightly toasted, 2 to 2½ minutes. (Alternatively, toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.) Transfer to a plate and let cool. Set ¼ cup aside for topping.
  3. Combine the remaining ½ cup walnuts, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Process until the nuts are ground. With the motor running, gradually add oil through the feed tube. Add Parmesan and pulse until mixed in. Scrape the pesto into a large bowl. Add chicken.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water for 4 minutes. Add green beans and cauliflower; cover and cook until the pasta is al dente (almost tender) and the vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes more. Before draining, scoop out ¾ cup of the cooking water and stir it into the pesto-chicken mixture to warm it slightly. Drain the pasta and vegetables and add to the pesto-chicken mixture. Toss to coat well. Divide among 4 pasta bowls and top each serving with 1 Tbsp. of the reserved walnuts.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 2 cups
  • Per serving: 514 calories; 27 g fat(4 g sat); 9 g fiber; 43 g carbohydrates; 31 g protein; 127 mcg folate; 54 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1,736 IU vitamin A; 55 mg vitamin C; 156 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 557 mg sodium; 817 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (92% daily value), Vitamin A (35% dv), Folate (32% dv), Iron (28% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Reviews 1

June 25, 2019
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By: Pamela Smith
We loved this. I used asparagus instead of green beans and it was delicious. I will definitely be making this again.
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