Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Pesto Pasta is perfect for summer! Simple ingredients, but tons of flavor thanks to grilling and the pesto lemon sauce. Serve it warm or cold for a delicious and healthy weeknight dinner!
Looking for a similar recipe that’s vegetarian? Try this grilled vegetable pesto pasta!
Why you’ll love this pasta!
A pasta recipe that’s perfect for summer – This Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Pesto Pasta uses the grill for everything except cooking the pasta. It’s a great way to keep the heat outside during the summer. It also features asparagus, which in season between March and June.
Minimal ingredients – You only need 9 ingredients to make this pesto pasta and you may already have some of them.
Great for lunch, dinner, picnics and barbecues – The great thing about this chicken and asparagus pasta is that it can be served warm or cold. It transports well so it’s a great option to take to gatherings or if you’re traveling.
How to Grill Asparagus
Grilling asparagus is my favorite way to prepare it. This Lemon Parmesan Grilled Asparagus is one of my favorite side dishes to make when we need a vegetable on our dinner plates. The grill gives the asparagus a hint of smoky flavor and it only takes about 3-5 minutes to cook.
- Heat the grill to high. Mine is usually around 425°-450° when I add the asparagus.
- Cut the woody ends off of the asparagus then lay them out in a single layer on a foil lined sheet pan.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Toss them around until they are all coated.
- Place the asparagus horizontally on the grill grates, cover with the lid and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Use tongs to roll or flip them over once they have nice grill marks, then cook another 1-3 minutes depending on the size. The asparagus should be tender, but not mushy.
- Chicken breasts – Juicy, lots of protein, and extra delicious when grilled. Boneless skinless chicken thighs can also be used.
- Asparagus – When picking out asparagus make sure the stalks are plump and firm, limp means they’re old. The tips should be tight and compact.
- Italian seasoning – A salt free spice blend usually consisting of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.
- Pasta – Any short pasta will work. I like to use rotini because the spiral shape holds the pesto sauce and cheese well.
- Pesto – The star ingredient that’s the main ingredient for the sauce. Look for a good quality brand such as DeLallo.
- Lemon – Adds a bright, acidic flavor to the pasta sauce. Use fresh squeezed lemon juice, not bottled.
- Pecorino Romano – A sheep’s milk cheese. It’s similar to Parmesan cheese, but has a sharper and saltier flavor. It’s also less expensive than Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, which can be used in it’s place if you prefer.
- Fresh basil
How to make grilled chicken and asparagus pesto pasta
Grill the chicken and asparagus – Preheat the grill to 400-425° F. Lay the asparagus on a sheet pan or plate and drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus around to coat it.
Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and the Italian seasoning. Grill the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove it from the grill and let it rest while the asparagus is grilling. Once it’s rested cut it into bite sized pieces.
Lay the asparagus onto the grill horizontally so it doesn’t fall between the grill grates. Grill for 2 minutes then roll or flip them over with tongs and grill another 1-2 minutes. Remove them from the grill and chop them into bite sized pieces.
Cook the pasta – While the chicken and asparagus are grilling, cook the pasta. Add the pasta to salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain it and put it back into the pot.
Assemble – Add the chicken, asparagus, pesto, lemon juice, and Pecorino cheese to the pasta. Toss everything together until it’s coated in the pesto. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, and additional pesto as needed. Top the pasta with the pine nuts, fresh basil, and additional cheese.
Chicken asparagus pesto pasta FAQ:
Yes. Skip the chicken and add more grilled asparagus or cannellini beans.
Yes. I recommend using either DeLallo’s gluten-free pasta or Jovial. Banza is another brand that’s great if you’re looking for something with more fiber.
Yes. This pasta recipe can be served hot or cold like a pasta salad. You may need to add additional pesto if serving it cold.
While pine nuts are a wonderful addition to this pasta, they can also be quite pricey. You can substitute them with toasted walnuts for a more affordable option.
The pesto pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You will likely need to add additional pesto and lemon juice because pasta absorbs sauces the longer it sits. I also suggest adding the pine nuts in separately so they stay crunchy.
More Summer Pasta Recipes
- Berry Pesto Pasta Salad
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
- Tomato Basil Pasta with Balsamic Grilled Chicken
- Tomato Corn Pasta Salad
Did you make this grilled chicken and asparagus pesto pasta? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Pesto Pasta
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pound asparagus, woody ends cut off
- Olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 12 ounces rotini pasta, gluten free if needed
- 1/3 cup pesto
- 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
- 3 tablespoons shredded Pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- Fresh chopped basil and more Pecorino Romano for garnish
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and put into a large serving bowl.
- While the pasta cooks, preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Season the chicken with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. On a baking sheet lined with foil lay the asparagus out in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Grill the chicken for approximately 4-6 minutes then flip over and grill another 4-6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°-165° F. Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting it.
- While the chicken cooks place the prepared asparagus onto the grill grates horizontally. Grill for 2 minutes then roll or flip them over with tongs and grill another 1-2 minutes. Cut into approximately 2 inch pieces.
- Add the chopped chicken and asparagus to the bowl with the pasta. Add in the pesto, lemon juice and shredded romano or parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and toss everything together until coated. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh basil if desired. Serve warm or cold.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 404Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 229mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 31g
Since pine nuts are indeed super pricey and am not a fan of walnuts, I decided to replace with sunflower seed kernels. Worked perfectly and way less expensive!
Great alternative Ashlyn!
Wow! This tastes as wonderful as it looked in the pictures. Even better, it was a winner for the whole family – all the way through to our pickiest of eaters. Our only changes were to pat some Italian seasoned breadcrumbs on the chicken, then pan fry the chicken and saute the asparagus as I didn’t have the grill going. Thank you for sharing it because we are adding it to our dinner recipes rotation.
Jill S. says
I absolutely love this recipe. I’ve been making it for a couple of years and it’s such a crowd please and absolutely delicious. It’s one of my favorite summer go-to’s on the grill. I usually use the ingredient measurements as a base and adjust to taste. I love a lot of lemon juice and typically like to double the asparagus since it’s just so good on the grill!
Michelle V. says
Absolutely delicious! I made just a few minor adjustments to the recipe. I added 15oz. can of Cannellini beans, 6.25 oz jar of pesto and incorporated about 1/2 cup of the pasta water into the final mixture. Shaved parmesan and fresh basil topped this wonderful dish. My husband loved it and deemed it “company worthy”. Thank you! I have already shared the recipe with friends.
This looks delicious. Planning meals for the week. The family would love if I added this one.
Can I use sun dried tomato pesto or should it be basil pesto?
Yes! Either basil or sun dried tomato pesto will work.
Very good. I added sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes & used left over rotisserie chicken that I seasoned & re heated on Traeger grill when I grilled asparagus. I had left over penne pasta & used it. Next time I’ll add grilled mushrooms. Keeper!
Jenna C says
Overall I enjoyed this dish, but I do think that 1/2 a lemon was a bit too much. It was very lemon-y (and I used a fairly small lemon!). I will definitely make the dish again but I’ll probably use 1/4 of a lemon or less. Also for more specifics, I used Pecorino Romano and Filippo Berio pesto (very delicious).
This was super good. I didn’t have pine nuts so used walnuts instead. I also grilled some peppers and onions and threw those in. Lastly, threw in a bunch of arugula, as I didn’t have fresh basil. Great recipe and easy to substitute whatever you need based on what’s in your fridge!