Fast & Yummy Chicken Pesto Salad

basil.jpgOne of my favorite time and energy savers these days is store-bought rotisserie chicken. I don’t need to remember to prep and bake it (perfect, since there’s no way I’m turning the oven on today…), my kitchen is saved from pan dripping smoke, and the chicken is ridiculously versatile. Today, I’m sharing our latest favorite usage of rotisserie chicken: fast and fantastically yummy chicken pesto salad.
First, a few notes about rotisserie chicken:

1. Purchase the chicken warm (sitting in a rotisserie unit or heated case at the grocery store) and pull it apart as soon as you get home because it is much easier to remove the meat from the bone while warm.

2. If you wish to make stock, do so immediately with your favorite stock recipe, or freeze the bones and make stock later. When I used to make stock regularly, I routinely had a couple of stock bags in the freezer, to which I added bones or vegetable ends (onion, carrots, etc.) as I was cooking other things.

3. Once you have pulled all the meat, use it in entirety for the recipe below or simply store it in a container in the refrigerator and use as your cooking needs arise. We keep rotisserie chicken on hand for everything from pressed sandwiches, soup, quesadillas, and salads - great for meals that kids will eat too.

4. Some stores offer rotisserie chicken in bags, but most use plastic containers. I recommend leaving the plastics in your sink and letting them soak for a while (as you wash other dishes over them). This will help cut away the grease so you don’t need to waste too much water cleaning the plastics up before you toss them in recycling. (Sorry, ever the eco-enthusiast!)

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Christine’s Chicken Pesto Salad

  • 1 rotisserie chicken (about 5-6 lbs), pulled apart and cut into chunks

  • 6-8 tablespoons of pesto (store-bought or make your own)

  • 1 cup walnuts halves, halved or quartered

  • 1 - 1.5 cups grape tomatoes (whole if small, halved if large)

  • Salt and pepper

    Mix the chicken and pesto well until the chicken is completely coated. Add walnuts and mix well. Add tomatoes and mix gently (so as not to squash the tomatoes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Enjoy on a bed of mixed greens, in a sandwich, alongside grilled vegetables, etc., or on crackers for a snack. I've literally eaten this chicken pesto salad every day for the last week it is so good!

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