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Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
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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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.