This pasta salad is tossed with a super flavorful and light greek yogurt Caesar pesto! It’s filled with grilled chicken, basil, arugula, and cherry tomatoes, but you could certainly customize it and add chickpeas to make it vegetarian, or your protein of choice!
Today’s recipe is all about simple and classic. Who doesn’t love pasta salad? Such a nostalgic favorite. Makes me think of summertime and cookouts and beautiful weather. All things I could totally go for right now. Plus, I used chickpea pasta! Which I’m obsessed with lately. If you’ve never had it, it’s made from chickpeas (obviously) and its a lot higher in protein and fiber, and lower in carbs than regular pasta. Love it!
The other star here is the Greek yogurt caesar pistachio pesto sauce. It has SO much flavor and is the perfect accompaniment to the peppery arugula and grilled chicken. I’m a big fan of making lightened up sauces and dips with Greek yogurt because it’s so creamy, and you get the extra protein boost.
Also, using pistachios in pesto instead of pine nuts is a total game changer. I love using walnuts as well, or a mixture of the two!
This does keep for a day or two in the fridge already tossed together, but is best on the first day. If you wanted to make it ahead of time and keep everything separate, then toss wen you’re ready to serve, that would work even better.
I could seriously eat pasta every darn day and never get sick of it. I grew up in a household with an Italian father who ate bowls of pasta nearly every single day, so I grew up LOVING it in all forms. I would come home from school and have a big bowl of rigatoni and marinara as a “snack” for more years than I can remember. Total comfort food.
These days, pasta is more of a treat for me. I don’t eat it often, but when I do I savor every last bit. The chickpea pasta I feel great about eating more regularly because of the extra protein and fiber. You can definitely use regular pasta in this though! By the way, this is not sponsored at all..I just love chickpea pasta! I’ve tried some lentil varieties that are awesome as well.
This is total kid friendly food too.
Greek Yogurt Caesar Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken and Arugula
This pasta salad is tossed with a super flavorful and light greek yogurt Caesar pesto! It's filled with grilled chicken, basil, arugula, and cherry tomatoes, but you could certainly customize it and add chickpeas to make it vegetarian, or your protein of choice!
- 8 ounces chickpea pasta (regular pasta works here too!)
- 2 large chicken breasts, previously grilled and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups arugula
For the caesar pesto
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 cup packed fresh basil
- 1/2 cup packed flat leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- chopped basil for garnish
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook according to package directions.
In the meantime, make the caesar pesto. In a food processor, combine the Greek yogurt, ½ cup of the parmesan, pistachios, lemon juice, dijon, anchovy paste, basil, parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Once pasta is cooled, add to a large bowl. Add the chicken and tomatoes and toss. Add the caesar pesto sauce (I used all but about ¼ cup), and toss again. Basically, use as much sauce as you like. Lastly add the arugula, a handful of chopped basil, and remaining 2 tablespoons of parm and toss one more time. Season to taste with salt and pepper.