Lee Harrelson
4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups salad and 1 lettuce leaf)

Total time: 26 minutes. To make sure the walnut pesto ingredients are evenly minced, stop the food processor halfway through processing, and scrape down the sides.

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare salad, cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; rinse with cold water. Combine pasta, chicken, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl.

Step 2

To prepare walnut pesto, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; pulse 6 times or until finely minced. Add pesto to pasta mixture, tossing gently to coat. Place 1 lettuce leaf on each of 4 plates; top each serving with salad mixture.

Ratings & Reviews

EllenDeller's Review

August 17, 2014
Very good dish. I used walnut rather than olive oil since it was in the fridge and I thought it would enhance the nutty flavor, and I used a bit of arugula because I was short of basil. Otherwise followed directions. Served this for dinner with the CL broccoli bread, steamed green beans, and watermelon. Leftovers make a great lunch on salad or bread.

daneanp's Review

September 09, 2013
Yep - yummy, yummy. The pesto was delicious. I served it over a bed of bibb lettuce (what I had on hand). Don't know if I'd mess with the lettuce part again because it seemed like it detracted from the pasta. I think this would be a great dish to take to a summer cookout.

karenfar's Review

June 30, 2013
I made this using about half the amount of pasta and not quite 2 cups of chicken so added 3 slices of crumbled bacon. I also added some blue cheese crumbles. The pesto is great but I didn't really know if the greens should be packed so only did what it says and didn't pack it at all. I had flat leaf parsley and didn't use quite as much as it called for. Great salad and a unique twist on a chicken/pasta salad. Go light on the garlic and I think this salad is better served room temp. Would be nice for potluck or nice luncheon.

SonaH76's Review

July 15, 2012

barbara2011's Review

June 09, 2012

SarahSz's Review

July 31, 2011
I used prepared grilled chicken breasts from Whole Foods to make this even easier. And I didn't feel guilty because it still took a lot of time to make the pesto, cook the pasta, and cut up all the vegies (tomatoes, olives, and celery - my addition). It was delicious and just right for a family summer supper. The kids liked everything except the olives.

martinileigh's Review

June 23, 2011
This recipe is fantastic! Like other reviewers, I use rotisserie chicken for convenience and ease. I also added feta and juice from one lemon to this recipe to give it some additional flavor. The walnut pesto is amazing--I use it for all pesto recipes. Saved separately, this dish is great as leftovers, which I have served to guests who equally rave about the dish.

darcyolson's Review

June 09, 2011
This is amazing...everyone in my family loved it! I grilled the chicken, seasoning it with salt, pepper and dry italian seasoning (I used pampered chef), then cut up in to large chunks. The recipe is great exactly as prepared. It was great warm for dinner and even better cold the next day for lunch. Five stars for sure!

Arilya's Review

March 01, 2011
Between the kalamata olives, the toasted walnuts, vinegar and garlic, this recipe had plenty of flavor, but was still nice and light. We loved it. It was super-easy to throw together, too. I'll definitely be making it again.

shelby24's Review

August 18, 2010
This recipe is awesome - I have made it twice. I make it with rotisserie chicken for ease and extra flavor. I serve it warm for dinner and cold for lunch the next day - just as delicious! Instead of the lettuce suggested, I have used both a full serving of arugula and spring mix for extra vegetables.