Top down view of pesto chicken orzo pasta bake in white oval dish with 2 forks. spoon, and basil leaves on green cloth.
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Easy Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake (Healthy)

This low fat, one-pot Easy Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake is filled with delicious Mediterranean aromas everyone loves - this rich tasting flavourful dish is incredibly easy to put together and perfect for sharing with friends or family.
Course Dinner
Cuisine International
Keyword chicken, pasta, pesto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 587kcal
Author Monika Dabrowski

Ingredients

  • 500 g skinless chicken breast
  • 280 g orzo pasta uncooked, approx. 1 and 1/3 cup
  • 30 g basil leaves only
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 25 g lightly roasted pine nuts
  • 30 g parmesan finely grated
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 440 ml hot water approx. 1 and 2/3 cup
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Make the marinade by pureeing the basil, garlic and oil. Set aside.
  • Cut the chicken lengthwise into thick strips (3-4 each), season, pour over the basil mixture, stir and let marinate for at least 30 minutes (if possible).
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C/ gas mark 5.
  • In a saucepan combine the pasta with the hot water, season, cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 minutes. Carefully transfer the entire mixture into a medium size casserole dish (6-7 cm deep).
  • Scatter 3 quarters of the parmesan and the pine nuts over the pasta. Place the chicken strips on top (along with any remaining basil mixture), scatter the remaining parmesan and pine nuts and bake for 25-30 minutes. Halfway through stir the mixture gently (by poking around the chicken pieces with a spatula so the chicken still stays on top) to loosen the mixture and ensure the pasta does not stick to the bottom.
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately (ensure the meat is fully cooked) with vegetables or salad.

Notes

  • If possible marinate the chicken in the pesto for at least 30 minutes.  You can also marinate it overnight. Refrigerate in an airtight container and use the next day.
  • Cooking times may vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces, so ensure the meat is fully cooked before serving.  Having said that it is also important not to overcook the chicken as it may be a little dry.
  • Best served straight from the oven.
  • Preparation time does not include the time needed to marinate the chicken (30 minutes).

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 587kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 678mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 492IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 2mg