This chicken pesto hearts of palm pasta is super healthy and tastes so good you'll forget you're not eating real pasta. It's loaded with pesto, bacon, toasted pine nuts, and pesto-marinated chicken. As an added bonus, it's also dairy-free, gluten-free, Whole30, and paleo.
This chicken pesto hearts of palm pasta is perfect for busy weeknights. The hearts of palm pasta cooks in a couple of minutes (you just have to heat it!), and most of the meal is made in one pan. We make our own pesto, but you can even cheat and use store-bought. It really couldn't be easier, healthier, or tastier.
Serve this hearts of palm pesto pasta with our simple Italian salad or classic wedge salad.
Looking for other pesto recipes? Try our pesto caprese pasta salad, shrimp and pesto pasta with tomatoes, or creamy pesto salmon.
- Hearts of palm pasta- We use two packages of Palmini linguine--it's our favorite, and our local grocery store carries it. You can usually find it in the pasta aisle. Trader Joe's also has their own brand of hearts of palm pasta, as does Whole Foods.
- Pine nuts
- Lemon zest
- Chicken breasts or tenderloins
- Salt and pepper
For the pesto:
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Almond butter
- Salt and pepper
Step 1: Make the pesto (if you're using store-bought pesto, you can skip this step). Add spinach, basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, almond butter, black pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper to a food processor and blend until combined.
Step 2: Prepare the chicken. Cut the chicken into thin bite-sized strips. Add them to a bowl with ½ a cup of the pesto, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Set it aside. Reserve the rest of the pesto.
Step 3: Toast the pine nuts. Add the pine nuts to a large pan over medium heat. Cook them for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown and toasted. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Step 4: Cook the bacon. Add the bacon to the same pan over medium heat. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside (leave the grease in the pan).
Step 5: Cook the chicken. Transfer the chicken to the same pan. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Step 6: Put it all together. Add the hearts of palm, remaining pesto, pine nuts, and bacon to the pan with the chicken. Stir to combine everything (tongs are useful here), and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until the hearts of palm is warm. Then enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
Hearts of palm is found in the core of certain palm trees. It's high in fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. The flavor is fairly neutral, so it's a great vehicle for sauce. I think it tastes like a super mellow artichoke but with a denser texture.
Yes! Use whatever pesto is your favorite. Just skip step 1 and use your own pesto. Our pesto recipe makes about 1.75 cups.
You can use regular pasta or zucchini noodles. Just cook them according to package instructions, then add them to the rest of the ingredients at the very end.
Sharie S. says
Made this for dinner tonight, super yummy! The hearts of palm tasted just like regular pasta! Highly recommend!