Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad

Chicken, broccoli, onion, and a creamy pesto dressing make this quick salad a delicious new lunchtime staple!

The post Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Last year I made an amazing Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad that was just to die for, and ever since I’ve wanted to try a pesto-based version. Well, that day has finally come and I’m here to say that it’s just as easy and totally delish! So if you need another quick and filling refrigerator salad to make for lunches, this Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad is it!

Close up side view of pesto chicken broccoli salad in a bowl.

What Kind of Chicken to Use

This Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad is the perfect recipe for store-bought rotisserie chicken, but if that’s not your jam you can totally cook your own boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs. You’ll need about one cup of chopped cooked chicken (the amount is flexible), which will be about one chicken breast or two chicken thighs.

What Kind of Pesto to Use

I like the freshness of a basil pesto for this recipe. The herbal flavor really lightens up the dish. Pesto can be on the pricey side, but there are several brands that are a bit more affordable. Look for Alessi, Barilla, Classico, or Filippo Berio. And don’t let the rest of that jar of pesto go to waste! Check out our pesto recipe archives for ways to make sure every last drop gets put to good use.

Is the Broccoli Raw??

Yes, this salad is made with raw broccoli. The extra crunchy broccoli gives this salad tons of texture and helps it hold up well in the refrigerator for days. If you absolutely can not do raw broccoli, the next best option would probably be very lightly steamed broccoli, so that it still has some texture but that edge of raw flavor has been taken off.

How to Serve Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad

You can eat this salad alone in a bowl, stuff it into a pita, scoop some on top of a green salad, or wrap it up in a tortilla. There are so many options!

Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad in a pita.
Close up side view of Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad in a bowl.

Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad

Chicken, broccoli, onion, and a creamy pesto dressing make this quick salad a delicious new lunchtime staple!
Course Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.18 recipe / $1.55 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 257kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken* $3.50
  • 1 lb. fresh broccoli (about 2 cups chopped) $1.25
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion $0.08
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $1.00
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.29
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Chop the chicken and broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. Finely dice the red onion.
  • In a bowl, stir together the pesto, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.
  • Add the chicken, broccoli, and red onion to a large bowl. Pour the creamy pesto over top, and add the freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Taste the salad and add salt or pepper to your liking. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Notes

*You can use store-bought rotisserie chicken, or cook your own chicken breast in a skillet.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 18g | Sodium: 298mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead view of a bowl of pesto chicken and broccoli salad.

How to Make Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cooked chicken breast in a skillet.

You’ll want about one cup (give or take some) of chopped cooked chicken for this recipe. The easiest option is to use store-bought rotisserie chicken. But, if you aren’t using a rotisserie chicken, you can cook one chicken breast or two chicken thighs to use for this recipe. If you need instructions for cooking chicken breast in a skillet, see my tutorial here. Make sure to let the chicken cool before using it in the recipe.

Creamy pesto dressing in a bowl with a spoon.

To make the creamy pesto dressing, stir together ¼ cup basil pesto, ¼ cup mayonnaise, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice.

Chopped broccoli on a cutting board.

Chop about two cups of broccoli into small bite-sized pieces. Making sure to chop the broccoli small enough is key to making this salad work. They should be small enough that a few pieces could fit onto a fork.

Chopped chicken on a cutting board.

Chop the chicken into small ¼-½ inch pieces (the cutting board pictured above is quite small, for reference)

Broccoli, chicken, and red onion in a bowl.

Finely dice ¼ cup red onion. Place the broccoli, chicken, and onion in a bowl.

Pesto dressing being poured over the salad.

Pour the creamy pesto dressing over the ingredients in the bowl. Add about ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Finished pesto chicken and broccoli salad in the bowl.

Stir everything together, give it a taste, and add salt or pepper to taste.

Pesto chicken and broccoli salad in pita pockets on a plate.

Enjoy in a bowl, stuffed into a pita, or on a green salad!

The post Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

If you are looking for an easy soup recipe that everyone will love, make Chicken Tortilla Soup. It is a forever favorite, a classic, a soup that always gets rave reviews! It only takes 30 minutes to make! You can’t go wrong with this one! Chicken…

If you are looking for an easy soup recipe that everyone will love, make Chicken Tortilla Soup. It is a forever favorite, a classic, a soup that always gets rave reviews! It only takes 30 minutes to make! You can’t go wrong with this one! Chicken tortilla soup is a Mexican-inspired soup that has a…

The post Chicken Tortilla Soup appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of our all-time favorite dinners. We love trying new enchilada recipes. Our Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Bake is a family favorite, but sometimes it’s nice to just make the classic. These Chicken Enchiladas are definitely …

Enchiladas are one of our all-time favorite dinners. We love trying new enchilada recipes. Our Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Bake is a family favorite, but sometimes it’s nice to just make the classic. These Chicken Enchiladas are definitely a classic. They are one of the BEST dinner recipes out there. They always hit the…

The post Chicken Enchiladas appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Baked BBQ Chicken Tacos

Are you looking for an easy dinner recipe that takes less than 30 minutes to make AND that is super duper delicious? It’s your lucky day, because these Baked BBQ Chicken Tacos are the BEST weeknight dinner! Tacos are always a hit, but these BBQ C…

Are you looking for an easy dinner recipe that takes less than 30 minutes to make AND that is super duper delicious? It’s your lucky day, because these Baked BBQ Chicken Tacos are the BEST weeknight dinner! Tacos are always a hit, but these BBQ Chicken Tacos are crazy good! Think saucy BBQ chicken with…

The post Baked BBQ Chicken Tacos appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad

If you think a salad can’t fill you up, think again. This awesomely crunchy and flavorful Kale and Chicken Salad is chock full of juicy chicken breast, almonds, celery, and lots of fiberlicious kale to keep your belly full. And flavor? Oh don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the flavor. A tangy, sweet, and creamy […]

The post Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you think a salad can’t fill you up, think again. This awesomely crunchy and flavorful Kale and Chicken Salad is chock full of juicy chicken breast, almonds, celery, and lots of fiberlicious kale to keep your belly full. And flavor? Oh don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the flavor. A tangy, sweet, and creamy honey Dijon dressing drenches the salad in tons of flavor. Throw a few sweet golden raisins on top for a pop of sweetness and you’ve got salad magic. And the best part? All of these ingredients hold up well to refrigeration, so this salad is perfect for your weekly meal prep. 🙌

Originally posted 7-28-2014, updated 8-16-2021.

Dressing being poured over a kale and chicken salad

If you love regular chicken salad, I think you’ll love this kale and chicken salad as well. It has all the same flavors as traditional chicken salad, but the ingredients are piled onto a bed of greens and the dressing is made slightly thinner so that it’s pourable instead of acting like a thick binder. And just as with regular chicken salad, there is a lot of room for customization here, so keep reading for some ideas.

Can I Use Different Greens?

Sure! If you’re not into kale, you can swap it out with your favorite greens. I think a crunchy green like Romaine or finely shredded cabbage would probably be best, but you could use any green that you like to use for fresh salads.

What Kind of Chicken to Use

I used plain chicken breast that I cooked quickly in a skillet and then diced, but you can take a shortcut and use store-bought rotisserie chicken instead. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of chopped cooked chicken for this recipe. 

Raisin Substitutes

I love the mildly sweet golden raisins in this recipe, but you could swap them out with dried cranberries, chopped apples for more crunch, or even fresh grapes (sliced). 

Dressing Options

If you don’t want to make your own homemade dressing for this salad, a store-bought honey mustard or poppyseed dressing would be awesome with the flavors in this salad.

How to Meal Prep Kale and Chicken Salad

The sturdy, crunchy nature of the ingredients in this salad means that it holds up extremely well to refrigeration without much effort. I would store the dressing on the side just to maintain maximum crunch-factor, but other than that, all of the ingredients can be stored together in single-serving containers. The prepped salads will stay good in the fridge for about 3-4 days.

Side view of dressing being poured onto kale and chicken salad

dressing being poured over kale and chicken salad

Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad

This Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad is full of flavor, texture, and a tangy-sweet homemade dressing. It's perfect for your weekly meal prep!
Total Cost $8.29 recipe / $2.07 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 446kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1.5 cups chopped cooked chicken $4.33
  • 6 cups chopped kale $1.25
  • 1 cup chopped celery $0.37
  • 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds $0.79
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins $0.47

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise $0.50
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar $0.18
  • 1.5 Tbsp honey $0.27
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.09
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Chop the cooked chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. Clean the celery and chop into similar small bite-sized pieces.
  • Remove the kale from the stems, tear it into 1-2 inch pieces, rinse well in a colander, and drain well.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, Dijon, salt, and pepper.
  • To build the salad, start with a base of kale, top with the chopped chicken and celery, almonds, and raisins. Drizzle the dressing over top, toss until everything is coated, then enjoy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1salad | Calories: 446kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 444mg | Fiber: 2g
Love kale salads? Try these other awesome kale salads:

Tossed kale and chicken salad in a bowl next to the serving platter full of kale salad

How to Make Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cooked chicken breast in the skillet

You can us any pre-cooked chicken for this recipe and you’ll need about 1.5 cups once chopped. I used one chicken breast (⅔ lb. total) that I filleted into two thinner pieces so that it would cook quickly in a skillet. Once browned on the outside and cooked through, I simply let it cool for 5-10 minutes and then chopped it into small pieces.

Salad dressing ingredients in a bowl

While my chicken was cooling, I made the dressing. This dressing is very similar to a dressing you’d use for chicken salad, but it’s a little bit thinner so it’s pourable and will easily coat all of the kale. In a bowl, whisk together ½ cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1.5 Tbsp honey, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.

Washed kale in a colander

Next, prep the kale. I used bagged kale that comes pre-chopped because it’s super convenient and just about the same price as bunched kale. If your kale is still on the stem, simply pull it off the stem and tear it into 1-2 inch pieces. Rinse it in a colander and then let it drain well. Watery salad is never good. I used ½ of a one-pound bag, or about 6 cups of chopped leaves.

Chopped celery on a cutting board

Next, dice two ribs of celery, or about 1 cup once chopped.

chopped chicken on a cutting board

Chop the cooked chicken to similar sized pieces (about 1.5 cups chopped).

Kale salad topped with chicken and celery

Then just build your salad(s)! You can either build one large salad or build it as four smaller single-serving portions. Start with your bed of chopped kale, then add the chopped chicken and celery…

raisins and almonds added to the salad

Then add ⅓ cup almonds (sliced or slivered) and ⅓ cup golden raisins.

dressing being poured over kale and chicken salad

Pour your dressing over top just before serving.

tossed kale salad in a bowl next to the serving platter

Toss to coat everything in dressing and enjoy! (I added a little extra cracked black pepper on top because I love pepper!)

The post Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Our boys could eat tacos for dinner every single night and I honestly don’t blame them. Tacos are the BEST! One of their favorite taco recipes are these Chipotle Chicken Tacos. They are loaded with flavor and only take 20 minutes to make, which m…

Our boys could eat tacos for dinner every single night and I honestly don’t blame them. Tacos are the BEST! One of their favorite taco recipes are these Chipotle Chicken Tacos. They are loaded with flavor and only take 20 minutes to make, which makes them the perfect EASY weeknight dinner! There are two secrets…

The post Chipotle Chicken Tacos appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

You can’t go wrong with a bowl of classic Chicken Noodle Soup. This is one of those recipes that just makes you feel better! It is the ultimate comfort food.  Our Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is VERY popular, but some of you requested a classi…

You can’t go wrong with a bowl of classic Chicken Noodle Soup. This is one of those recipes that just makes you feel better! It is the ultimate comfort food.  Our Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is VERY popular, but some of you requested a classic chicken noodle soup recipe and this is the best one…

The post Classic Chicken Noodle Soup appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

White Chicken Chili Nachos

If you like nachos, get ready because I have a FUN and delicious nachos recipe for you today! These White Chicken Chili Nachos are inspired by our Easy White Chicken Chili, they have all of the same flavors as the chili: chicken, white beans, and green…

If you like nachos, get ready because I have a FUN and delicious nachos recipe for you today! These White Chicken Chili Nachos are inspired by our Easy White Chicken Chili, they have all of the same flavors as the chili: chicken, white beans, and green chiles. And of course we don’t stop there because…

The post White Chicken Chili Nachos appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.