Pesto Chicken Casserole

Chicken, tomatoes, spinach, basil pesto, and cheese come together to make this fresh pasta bake. Our Pesto Chicken Casserole is simple to throw together and can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you are ready to bake it for dinner.

chicken casserole serving on dinner plate

Chicken Casserole with Pasta

I love pasta in all its forms!  My family would eat spaghetti once a week if I let them, so I thought I would switch up our regular pasta-night dish for a pasta casserole.

My husband doesn’t typically like recipes with pesto, but this recipe had just the right amount of it.

pesto chicken casserole ingredients in glass bowl

How to Make Pesto Chicken Casserole

First, you’ll need to cook your noodles. We use penne pasta in this pasta bake, but any kind would work. We’ve tried it with bowtie and our kids loved that too!

  • In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients listed to assemble the casserole.
  • After you have mixed together the ingredients for the casserole, you spread them in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  • Next, you sprinkle a delicious, cheesy crumb mixture on top and put it in the oven!

This chicken casserole recipe is extremely simple and takes no time at all to assemble!

chicken casserole with pasta and pesto in glass baking dish

Tips For How to Make a Chicken Casserole with pasta

Used canned goods: This recipe can be simple if you choose to use canned tomatoes, Alfredo, and pesto sauce. It’s almost a dump and go recipe that tastes amazing!

However, you can definitely use homemade or your favorite version of any of those mentioned above if you like to use fresher ingredients.

Cool Off Your Pasta: Make sure to rinse your pasta off in cold water after you boil it. This will keep it from sticking together when you’re trying to mix it with your other casserole ingredients.

Our best advice is to dump your pasta into a straining bowl like this one. And then run cold water over your pasta for 2 minutes. We promise you’ll notice a difference using cooled pasta rather than hot.

how to make a chicken casserole

Homemade Pesto Sauce Recipe

We know not everyone loves pre-made pesto or Alfredo sauce, so using your own is totally fine. Here’s our favorite recipe for homemade pesto sauce:

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt and pepper.

 

pasta bake with pesto chicken out of the oven

Easy Pesto Sauce Recipes

We couldn’t get enough pesto sauce after trying this recipe, and we’re pretty sure you’ll feel the same way. Here are a few of our favorite pesto recipes, using both homemade and pre-made pesto sauce.

Pesto Chicken Florentine
Pesto Tortellini Bake
Pesto Potatoes
Noodles and Company Pesto Cavatappi Copycat

Speaking of Copycat Recipes! 

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Every recipe has a beautiful mouth-watering photo and has been picky-eater approved. The directions are simple, easy to follow, and do not require any strange ingredients.

This cookbook includes copycat recipes from Wingers, Texas Roadhouse, Starbucks, Panera, Cheesecake Factory, Kneaders, and so much more. We have you covered from drinks, to dessert and everything in-between.

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pesto chicken pasta bake served on white dish

If you’re really feeling domestic, you can serve this with our Easy Homemade Rolls, our Caprese Salad, and our Famous Marshmallow Brownies for dessert!

Serves: 6

Pesto Chicken Casserole

20 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 (15 ounce) jar alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, chicken, milk, mozzarella cheese, baby spinach, diced tomatoes, alfredo sauce and pesto. Mix until well combined.
  4. Spread mixture into a 9x13-inch baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of casserole.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until crumb topping is golden brown and casserole is heated through.
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In this video we’re making one of our favorite pesto recipes, Copycat Pesto Cavatappi.

 

pesto chicken casserole with pasta ready to bake in oven

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