Chicken Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad is a delicious zucchini noodle salad with pesto-marinated chicken and a pesto vinaigrette, and this tasty salad is low-carb, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly. If you switch out the pesto for my Basil Vinaigrette, the salad can be Whole 30 or Paleo.
I've been making zucchini noodles with the Spiralizer all summer long, and I need to get busy sharing the new recipes I've come up while some of you have a surplus of zucchini. I created this Chicken Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad with help from my niece Kara, and we both agreed it was easy to make and really tasty. What bumped up the flavor here was marinating the chunks of chicken in the pesto vinaigrette for a few hours before we tossed the salad together, along with additional pesto vinaigrette that's tossed with the noodles. I've been making Basil Pesto with Lemon with the basil I'm growing in big pots along my front sidewalk, but if you don't have homemade pesto this salad will still be delish with pesto from the store. You could also make a dairy-free or Paleo version of this by switching the dressing to Basil Vinaigrette made with homemade vinaigrette.
You can use 4 cups diced rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken, but if you're starting from scratch, trim four chicken breasts and cut in half lengthwise.
Poach the chicken breasts in barely simmering chicken stock about 20 minutes and then drain and let cool.
Whisk together the vinaigrette, pesto, Spike Seasoning, and some fresh ground black pepper to make the dressing.
Marinate the chicken in about 1/4 cup of dressing for a few hours in the refrigerator. (If you don't have a few hours, even 30 minutes marinating will increase the flavor.)
After the chicken has marinated, make the noodles. Cut the end off the zucchini and cut a lengthwise slit in each (so noodles will be cut apart.)
three methods for making zucchini noodles to turn the zucchini into noodles.
Chicken Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)
4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, well trimmed and cut into 2 lengthwise pieces (or use about 4 cups diced leftover chicken)
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth, preferably low-sodium + about 1/2 can water
1/2 cup diagonally sliced green onion
2 medium-sized zucchini (about 10 inches long)
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup purchased Vinaigrette Dressing (I used Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing)
1/3 cup pesto (I used my Basil Pesto with Lemon)
2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or use any all-purpose seasoning of your choice)
fresh-ground black pepper to taste
(To make this salad Paleo, make Basil Vinaigrette with homemade vinaigrette to replace this dressing.)
If you're cooking the chicken, trim chicken breasts of any visible fat or undesirable parts and cut each breast in half lengthwise. Put the chicken stock + half the can of water in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Add the chicken and poach for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is firm. Then drain chicken into a colander placed in the sink and let it cool.
While the chicken cools, whisk together the vinaigrette dressing, pesto, Spike Seasoning, and black pepper to make the dressing. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into large bite-sized chunks, put in a Ziploc bag (or plastic container with a snap-tight lid), add about 1/4 cup of the dressing, and let chicken marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (or at least 30 minutes if you don't have a few hours.)
When you're ready to assemble the salad, slice green onions diagonally to make 1/2 cup sliced green onions. Cut both ends off the zucchini and cut a slit lengthwise part way through each zucchini. (This makes separate noodles instead of big long strings of noodles.) Then use one of the three methods for making zucchini noodles to turn the zucchini into noodles. (I used the Spiralizer with the medium noodle blade.)
Put the zucchini into a salad bowl that's big enough to hold all the ingredients and toss with the remaining dressing (or as much dressing as you prefer.) Add the marinated chicken, dressing from the Ziploc bag, and green onions, and stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper and serve.
This wasn't bad at all after it had been in the fridge overnight, although it was best freshly made.
South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
This salad is suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet and most other low-carb diet plans. For South Beach and low-carb diets, be sure to choose a vinaigrette with less than 3 grams of sugar per serving, the lower the better. The salad can be made with basil vinaigrette instead pesto and that would make it Whole 30 or Paleo.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Delicious Ideas with Pesto:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Easy Baked Pesto Chicken ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled Artichoke Pesto Zucchini Bites ~Fifteen Spatulas
Turkey Pesto Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Pesto Chicken Lasagna Rolls ~ Baked by Rachel
Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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