Marcela’s Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad | Food Network

After making a pesto of cilantro, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and olive oil, combine it with cooked pasta, grilled chicken breast and roasted tomatoes for a great meal.

Get the recipe:

Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad
Recipe courtesy of Marcela Valladolid
Total: 40 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Level: Easy


Cilantro Pesto:
2 cups tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil

Roasted Tomatoes:
2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups cooked rotini pasta, cooled
4 cooked chicken breasts (we used grilled), cooled and cut into cubes
Parmesan shavings, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the cilantro pesto: Add the cilantro, pine nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice and garlic to a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped, 4 to 5 times. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil through the lid opening. Process to desired consistency; you can make the sauce completely smooth or leave it fairly chunky.

For the roasted tomatoes: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the tomatoes and shallot. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes start to break down and brown slightly, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

For the salad: In a large bowl, combine the pasta, chicken, tomatoes and pesto and toss. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and a few cilantro leaves and serve.

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2 Replies to “Marcela’s Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad | Food Network”

  1. I made this today. It was super easy (fool proof) and delish! I subbed out the cilantro for basil leaves. Never knew it was so easy to make pesto, popped everything in the Vitamix then presto pesto.

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