Pesto is one of my favorite sauces to put on pasta and sandwiches. Adapted from Bake Your Day, this recipe uses sun-dried tomatoes to make an extra flavorful pesto sauce. The carefully chosen spices make for a an extremely spicy dry rub so feel free to tone it down to your preferences, if you can't stand the heat. A great way to sneak in veggies, this is a hearty and healthy meal. Feel free to follow along as I make this dish via my Cooking with Rachel segment on my YouTube channel!
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 40 MINS
- 12 ounces of pasta, preferably spaghetti or fettuccine
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp La Tourangelle avocado oil, divided
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups sun-dried tomato pesto, recipe below
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Sauce:
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes*
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 4-5 tbsp of water
- salt and pepper to taste
*If using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drain oil before using. Feel free to use this oil in the recipe instead of the olive oil. If using sun-dried tomatoes not in oil, you will need to reconstitute them in boiled hot water for 30 minutes before use. Drain and use immediately after.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente.
- Mix paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, onion powder and cumin in a small bowl. Rub generously on each piece of chicken; front and back. Make pesto sauce now, if you haven't already.*
- Heat 2 tsp avocado oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Add the chicken and cook about 7 minutes on each side. After the chicken is blackened, you may put in the oven at 350 degrees for an extra 5 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.
- Remove chicken from pan and transfer to cutting board and allow to rest.
- Heat remaining 1 tbsp of avocado oil over medium-low heat in the same pan.
- Add shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2-3 mins).
- Add spinach and cook until wilted and bright green.
- Stir in the sun-dried tomato pesto, mixing until combined. (You may need to add in a little water, a tablespoon at a time, to thin out the pesto.)
- Stir in the cooked pasta and turn the heat down to low.
- Slice chicken on cutting board and serve on top of plate of prepared pasta.
*To make the sun-dried tomato pesto sauce, combine all ingredients excluding the oil, to a food processor or high powered blender. Pulse a few times to combine. Slowly start adding oil in between pulsing, scarping down the sides as necessary. Add water as needed. Blend on high for a couple of seconds or until all ingredients are well blended.