Grilled Chicken Spinach Pesto Pasta

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on April 13, 2010

I’ve been waiting. And waiting. And waiting…to try this pasta!  I l-o-n-g time ago, I made some Spinach Pesto from the garden.  And it’s been patiently waiting in the freezer for me.  To eat it!

*I wish I had not waited until now!*

The  reason I’ve been waiting…I didn’t think the boys would go for “green pasta” for dinner.  They like green foods. Broccoli, peas, green beans…they love those.  But green “stuff” on pasta.  I’d rather not “waste” it on a dinner they wouldn’t eat or enjoy.

The boys are spending the night with grandma (while I work on some projects), so tonight is perfect!

Steve and I thoroughly enjoyed this dinner!!!

(We each had 2 bowls and still had enough for lunch leftovers!)

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Grilled Chicken Spinach Pesto Pasta

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes (+30 min to marinate chicken)

Cooking Time – 20-25 minutes


  • 2 chicken breasts ($1.75)
  • 1 tsp olive oil ($.03)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 box penne pasta ($.50) Sale + coupon!
  • About 1/2 cup homemade spinach pesto from the garden ($.75)
  • 2 cups frozen carrots ($.80)


1. Place chicken breasts in shallow dish and drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes. Grill until cooked through. Dice.

2. Cook pasta as directed on package instructions. Drain and rinse.

3. Toss pasta with pesto and grilled chicken.
4. Cook carrots as directed on package.
5. Serve Grilled Chicken Spinach Pesto Pasta with Carrots.

Cost $3.83

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Candi April 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for sharing this one!!! We planted spinach this year and I can’t wait to try this recipe for the pesto!


Crystal April 13, 2010 at 8:32 pm

How do you make your Spinach Pesto? I’ve never made pesto before but have wanted to for quit some time. This pasta looks delious.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm


The link to the pesto how to post is in this post. :)


Jenny April 14, 2010 at 5:03 am

I too had pesto on the brain this week and pulled out some homemade basil pesto from the freezer to make this dinner last night. Don’t shy away from serving it to the kids- maybe mine is more garlicy than most, but my 2 boys gobble it up at least once a month (we love garlic around here!). If you were really worried the first time that you made it, you could cook the chicken on the side, serve a smaller portion of pasta, as well as a salad/fruit/bread and see how it goes!


Amy April 14, 2010 at 7:56 am

Tell the kids that it is Shrek pasta. (That is a sneaky way to gt greens into kids who don’t like green veggies.)


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 14, 2010 at 8:08 am


Oh…what a great idea!!!! Thanks Amy!


Deidra April 14, 2010 at 8:13 am

Is your recipe for homemade pesto on your blog?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 14, 2010 at 9:24 am


Yes…it’s linked in the post above.


Jen April 14, 2010 at 1:57 pm

This is one of my six year old’s favorite dishes, and the kid is picky! He won’t eat pizza, or grilled cheese, or peanut butter, and on and on. But I mix store bought pesto with 2 cups of spinach in the blender and call it “monster noodles” kind of like the shrek pasta idea. I think the spinach kind of mellows out the pesto and sneaks in veggies.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm


LOVE it! Spinach would tame down the store bought pesto for sure! Great thinking!


Marisa April 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

My kids love pesto! And they are generally pretty picky.


Micki April 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I made this tonight except i swapped out the carrots for artichokes (found a crazy deal). and it was AMAZING. We served it alongside homemade Algerian flatbread and still came in under $5 for our family of 8!


Barbara Miller April 16, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Yum. I love this recipe so much I linked it to my blog to share with all my friends. I really enjoy reading your blog and your great recipes. Thanks for sharing.


Bette April 17, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I actually have a similar recipe (without carrots) that I make. The first time I made it, 2 out of 3 kids ate it. I was shocked… I thought for sure they would not eat green pasta either. I had leftovers ready in the fridge if they all refused. Turned out only one picky child didn’t eat it and now it’s part our of monthly menu (the third child gets leftovers).


Sophie April 19, 2010 at 9:22 am

Homemade pesto from the garden? Very impressive, what a fresh and tasty meal :).


Kristin May 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Made this last night, used store bought pesto (have spinach, mint and basil growing in my garden right now to make homemade) and it was amazingly good! I served mine with homemade whole wheat rolls. My kids are not picky eaters and my 6 yo daughter asked, “why are my noodles green,” thanks to Amy I had a quick response handy, “because these are the kind Shrek eats!” She gobbled them up.
I ate leftovers for lunch with plenty left for tomorrow’s lunch. Thanks for a great keeper recipe!


Tawny May 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm

This looks like a frozen meal I used to buy. Now that I am allergic to milk, I can’t have the parmesan cheese in its pesto. So thank you for giving me a recipe to make my own without the cheese. You have great recipes.


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