This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad can be made in minutes and will work for a main meal or a side dish at your next BBQ or potluck!

Chicken pesto pasta salad in a white bowl

Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

More salad than pasta – or a salad pasta? No, we will stick with calling it a pasta salad. More specifically, a Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad.
Ingredients for chicken pesto pasta salad - cooked pasta, arugula, mozzarella balls, cooked chicken, sun dried tomatoes, pesto - together in a large stainless steel bowl

How to make Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

This chicken pasta salad can be a side dish or a main meal – Chicken and mozzarella make it hearty and filling, sun dried tomatoes add a tangy twist, peppery arugula punches up the flavor and freshness.  And the “dressing” is really just pesto – which is basically summer in a jar. I added a little red wine vinegar to balance the flavors and some Parmesan cheese because when is adding Parmesan cheese a bad idea?

Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad mixed in a large stainless steel bowl

What I love about this pesto pasta salad is it is so incredibly easy. Other than boiling the pasta, you don’t have to cook anything. I used store bought pesto here, but my Easy Homemade Pesto would be amazing if you want to make your own pesto.  I also used rotisserie chicken to make prep work easy. Really you just need to throw the ingredients in a bowl, toss, and you are done.  Pasta salad is actually better if you make it ahead of time so the flavors can meld.

Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad in a white bowl with blue striped dishtowel and serving spoon

Cold Pesto Pasta Salad is a perfect summer dinner

This easy Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad is just as good for a main meal as it is for a side dish at a BBQ or potluck.  It’s the perfect dinner for hot weather.  Not only does it require very little cooking – just boiling the pasta – but it is also served cold.  It is a fresh and flavorful dinner to cool you down on a hot summer evening.

Closeup of Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad in a white bowl

Tips for making the best pasta salad

  • Be sure your pasta is cooled before adding it to the other ingredients. Otherwise it may become gummy because it will soak up the sauce.  The best way to do this is to use an ice bath.  Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water.  Drain you pasta into a colander.  Then plunge the colander into the ice bath. Remove and allow water to drain.
  • Salt to taste!  The only way to know if you have the right amount of salt is to taste the pasta salad.  After mixing the ingredients, taste and add salt and pepper until you have the flavor you want.
  • Chill pasta salad for a few hours before serving.  This will allow the flavors to meld.
  • Keep in mind the arugula will wilt a bit in the salad.  If you don’t want that, you can reserve the arugula and add it closer to serving time.
4 Week Meal Plan for 30-Minute Meals
Includes recipes, shopping lists and suggestions!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

Prep 5 minutes
Cook 9 minutes
Servings 8 Servings


  • 8 oz pasta
  • 2 cups cooked chicken shredded
  • 8.5 ounces sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella Ciliegine "cherry sized" fresh mozzarella balls
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 3/4 cup pesto
  • 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  • Bring salted pot of water to boil, cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Prepare an ice bath (a large bowl of cold water and ice). After draining the pasta, plunge the strainer into the bowl of ice water to immediately cool it, then drain and set aside.
  • Stir together pesto and red wine vinegar, set aside.
  • Add cooled pasta, sun dried tomatoes including oil from jar, arugula, chicken, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, pesto mixture to bowl. Gently toss until fully mixed. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Can be served right away but the flavors will develop and be better if the pasta salad is allowed to chill for a few hours. Chill in the fridge for 4 hours or up to overnight.


If you can't find the Mozzarella Ciliegine another size of fresh mozzarella balls can be used.  Cut into bite sized pieces if necessary. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 444mg | Potassium: 659mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1162IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 248mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinners, pasta, pasta salad, Salads, Sides
Cuisine: American
Did you like this recipe?Please comment, rate and share! And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @foxandbriar AND #foxandbriar so I can see what you made!


Hello! I’m Meghan.

I am so glad that you are here! I am the recipe developer, photographer, and writer here at my blog Fox and Briar. I am a passionate, self-taught home cook and believe that most things are better homemade and that good food doesn’t need to be complicated.

Related Recipes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.