Chicken salad seems like one of those classic foods. Everyone has their own version, their own family recipe and their own specific proportions of what goes into it. I didn’t really grow up eating chicken salad so I’m not really partial to a certain ingredient or ingredients. I did have a lot of chicken in my freezer that needed to be used so I was searching on Foodily for what I could do with it. They presented me with this recipe from Real Simple. It was just the chicken salad I was looking for.

You see, I received about 4 pounds of Just Bare chicken breasts and tenders last week and I had precisely a week and a half to eat them up before we start the trek to CaliforniaJust Bare Chickens are fed natural feed and they are cage-free. You can also plug in a code on their website to find out what farm you chicken came from – mine was from a farm in Little Falls, MN. 

The chicken salad is great served over greens for a lunch or a light dinner but is also fantastic stuffed between ciabatta bread, and scooped with crackers for an easy snack.

Pesto Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings

Recipe from Real Simple


  • 1 pound chicken breast or tenders
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise
  • 1/3 cup prepared pesto
  • salt & pepper


  1. Cook chicken as desired. I poached mine in white wine, water and seasonings.
  2. Let chicken cool and shred.
  3. Combine chicken, mayonaise and pesto.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve over greens, on bread or with crackers.
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What goes into your chicken salad recipe? 

15 Comments (Reply )

  1. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    i usually have mayo + grapes + almonds/walnuts/some kind of nut + green peppers + some herbs in my chicken salad, but i looooove the idea of pesto!


  2. Alyse
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 11:48 am

    I had some Just Bare chicken recently, too! We really enjoyed it :) I usually do a curried chicken salad, because I’m a sucker for all things curry. I usually try to find mayo-free recipes (or substitute yogurt) because I’m not a mayo fan.

    Love the pesto in this recipe!


    • Emily
      Sep 26, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

      I love a good curry chicken salad as well. :)


  3. eliza
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    mine’s very similar, though i keep my chicken in chunkier shreds and throw in toasted pine nuts and cubed granny smith apple pieces. i’m not normally a fruit in savory foods kinda girl, but the apple makes all the difference in the world to this salad!


    • Emily
      Sep 26, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

      I always put apples in curry chicken salad, but I love the pine nut idea!


      • eliza
        Sep 26, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

        just to clarify in case there was confusion (not sure), i meant similar to your pesto chicken salad, not alyse’s curried one.


        • Emily
          Sep 26, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

          Yes, I’ve just only put it in curried chicken salad, but I love the idea for ANY chicken salad! :)


  4. Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    Love the idea of a pesto chicken salad. I have never thought of this combo!


  5. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    This sounds amazing! The pesto has to be perfect in it!


  6. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

    Mmmm looks tasty! I love pesto, and my basil plant is (amazingly) still alive so I could actually make this! :)


    • Emily
      Sep 26, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

      I’m impressed, I just threw out my herb pot that had nothing living. :(


  7. Lauren
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    A great idea to make chicken salad with all of the chicken. I think this would also work well with tuna.


  8. Stephanie @cookinfanatic
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    Mmmm I’ve never thought to put pesto into chicken salad but it sounds really really good!!!


  9. Katie@Real Food Katie's Way
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    I’ve never thought to make chicken salad with pesto…That’s awesome! I’m adding it to the list!


  10. Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

    Love this recipe for a quick and easy lunch!


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