Pesto adds big flavor to this creamy but wholesome chicken salad. Layer it on sandwich rolls with greens, sliced tomato, and cheese or roll it up in tortillas for a satisfying, healthy lunch.
The other day I came across a great big container of my favorite pesto from Costco tucked in the back of my fridge that I nearly forgot I had. Finding hidden pesto in the fridge is like finding money in a coat pocket. And, I’m not talking coins…I’m talking about the green stuff. Cha ching!
I almost always have pesto on hand because it is one of my favorite ways to easily add big flavor to so many dishes. One batch of this chicken salad only made a small dent in my voluminous container but that is just fine with me. I’ve got a few more recipes that involve pesto up my sleeve that I’ll be pulling out to share with you over the next couple of weeks.
This stuff is delicious layered on grainy sandwich rolls with muenster cheese, red ripe tomatoes, and arugula. For a less “carby” option, I love to wrap it in a flour tortilla and load it up with veggies for a super healthy, zero-guilt lunch.
Let’s get in the kitchen so I can show you how to make this creamy, dreamy, incredibly easy, Pesto Chicken Salad.
In addition to prepared pesto, using a store-bought rotisserie chicken makes this a snap to put together. Remove the skin from the breast meat of your roti chicken and pull it off the bone. I find it works best to use my fingers to shred it. My Costco bird was quite meaty so I had far more than the 3 cups I needed. Just package up the remainder, along with the dark meat, and keep it in the fridge for another purpose.
The flavorful binding mixtures consists of non-fat Greek yogurt, light mayonnaise, pesto, diced red onion, diced celery, the zest and juice from one lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. I’ve said it before and I’m gonna say it again…use a Meyer lemon if you can get your hands on one. We are at the tail end of the season right now but I’m still seeing them out there. They are super sweet and juicy and the vibrant yellow zest is delish. I have a Meyer lemon tree in my backyard and always use them when it’s producing.
Using light mayo and substituting half the mayo with non-fat Greek yogurt cuts a great deal of fat. I know some folks take issue with light mayo so use what you like…use what you have on hand.
Mix it up until it’s well combined.
Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken. And, that’s all there is to it! It will keep well, covered tightly in the fridge, for a couple of days.
A few other ideas – beyond the sandwich.
- Roll it up in a tortilla with any add-ins you like – cucumber, olives, pepperoncini, bell pepper – the possibilities are endless.
- Slice an avocado in half and fill each half with a big scoop. Yum.
- Serve it on a bed of greens with goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.
- Scoop it up with crackers for a yummy, late-night snack.
Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches
4 servings adjust servings
A healthy, light version of chicken salad gets a big flavor boost from pesto.
- 1 store bought rotisserie chicken
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 sandwich rolls or 4 wraps
- 4 slices of cheese (I used Muenster)
- Baby spinach or arugula
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- Remove and discard the skin from the breast portion of the rotisserie chicken. Pull the white breast meat from the chicken to a cutting board and use your hands to shred it. You should have approximately 2-1/2 to 3 cups shredded chicken. If there is more, reserve it and the dark meat for another purpose.
- In a large mixing bowl combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, pesto, celery, red onion, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Add shredded chicken and mix until well combined.
- Serve on sandwich rolls or wraps with cheese, sliced tomato, and greens.
If you like this recipe, you’ll love this one!
Similar ingredients but a completely different flavor profile – these Crunchy Sweet Chicken Salad Sandwiches are a nutritious, delicious choice.