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Meal of the Day | Greek Yogurt Pesto Chicken Pasta

 
I love creamy pesto sauces over pasta dishes but hate the little two digit and sometimes even three digit numbers attached to them! And I’m not just talking calories. It’s the other things like fat, sodium, etc. that exceed daily recommended allowances for three meals, not just one. Creamy sauces are definitely rich and yummy and I do just go for it when I’m feeling the craving because how can you ever replace cream and butter in Alfredo sauce? We've all had those days where we just want a treat (or emotionally eat) right? ;) Occasionally, I do like to take on a dish and make it a little healthier by simple substitutions.
 
There are many, many, different ways to make a pasta salad but I think it’s safe to say, classic pasta dishes normally call for mayo. Nothing beats mayo BUT since we’re healthin’ things up a bit today, I skipped the mayo and went for Greek yogurt instead. I combined the yogurt and sour cream with homemade basil pesto to give this chicken pasta plenty of creaminess. I added fresh lemon juice and zest to add lightness to the garlic packed yogurt pesto. It’s my favorite way to “lighten” the taste of creamy dishes!
Ingredients
 
  • 3 cups penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1½ cups fresh basil leaves
  • 4 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or store bought shredded)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (7 oz.) container Fage Total 2% Greek yogurt or any other brand of 2% Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 Tbsp. minced red onion
  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken
  • 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • salt and pepper
 
Instructions
 
  1. Cook penne pasta al dente according to package directions in a lightly salted water; drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil; process until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta with pesto, Greek yogurt, and sour cream.
  4. Add red bell pepper, celery, red onion, chicken, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or serve warm immediately. Give it couple stirs before serving.
As always, love much, laugh often, eat delicious, nutritious and filling food and look fabulous while doing it all! ;) Love, Blair
 
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