Grilled Chicken Penne with Avocado Pesto is such an easy mid-week dish. The Avocado gets blended with traditional pesto ingredients like Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and basil then emulsified with olive oil. It’s creamy and rich when mixed with the penne and goes perfectly with the grilled chicken. Fresh lemon juice keeps it bright and zesty.Jump to Recipe
I started making Grilled Chicken Penne with Avocado Pesto several years ago whenever my sister was in town visiting. This is her favorite meal that I make. My kids are also huge fans. My husband can take or leave it, so I think it goes with saying this dish may not be for everyone. The avocado is earthy in taste but bright with lots of fresh lemon, and what I love is how creamy it is. Like a really rich cheese sauce.
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The marinade for the chicken is my go to. It’s really easy to whip up and everything is in the pantry. I use olive oil, white distilled vinegar and Greek Seasoning. My favorite Greek Seasoning is Cavender’s You can use this Amazon link to buy it: https://amzn.to/2XetgpB The chicken doesn’t have to sit long. About thirty minutes or so, but you can assemble the marinade in the morning before work and let it sit all day so it’s ready to grill when you get home too.
I whip up the avocado sauce for my Grilled Chicken Penne with Avocado pesto in my food processor while the chicken is grilling. The food processor makes it so easy to do quickly and has a spot to add in the olive oil while the avocado is getting blended. You can use a high power blender to make this too if you don’t have a food processor.
Top the pasta with slices of the grilled chicken and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese for a delicious and satisfying meal.
Grilled Chicken Penne with Avocado Pesto
For the Chicken
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 c white distilled vinegar
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp greek seasoning (such as Cavender’s Greek)
For the Pasta
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 2 avocados
- 1/4 c fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 c parmesan grated
- 1/4 c pine nuts toasted
- 1 tsp kosher salt (I use Morton’s)
- Juice of 2 lemons (about 4 tbsp)
- 1/4 c olive oil
- more parmesan for serving
For the Chicken:
- In a resealable ziplock bag combine the chicken breasts, olive oil, vinegar, and greek seasoning. Seal the bag then shake it up to combine and place in the fridge to marinate 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Heat a grill to medium high heat. Place the breasts on the grill and cook about 5-6 minutes per side, or until an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into thin strips.
For the Pasta:
- While the chicken is grilling mix up the avocado pesto and boil your penne pasta according to package directions.
In a food processor combine the avocados, basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, garlic clove, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, salt, and lemon juice. Pulse for thirty seconds. Scrape down the sides and pulse for thirty seconds more or until everything is well combined. While keeping the processor running drizzle in 1/4 c of the olive oil and let the processor run for at least 10 seconds. Once the pasta is done boiling, drain it and then mix it with the avocado pesto. Put onto a plate and top with the grilled chicken slices and any additional parmesan cheese as desired.