This is the kind of salad that is always there to save the day! The thing we love the most about pasta salads that are served cool is that you can make them a day in advance and still get to enjoy it as if it was made a couple hours ago. Not only is this recipe delicious but once you have the cilantro pesto down you might be using it in other places, like on a chicken sandwich for example made with that left-over rotisserie chicken from a night before. At #CasaMarcela we simply love drizzling it over roasted veggies. The options are endless with the cilantro pesto so feel free to get creative with it! Don’t forget to share your ideas with us by tagging #DeLaLuz!
Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad
2 cups tightly packed cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup of pine nuts, whole
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups of grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
4 grilled chicken breasts, cooled and cut into cubes
4 cups of Rotini pasta, cooked and cooled
Preheat oven to 350F.
Add cilantro, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and lemon juice to food processor. Pulse 4 to 5 times until ingredients are roughly chopped. Turn on the food processor, and slowly drizzle in the oil through the lid opening. Process to your desired consistency. You can make the sauce completely smooth or leave it fairly chunky.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add grape tomatoes and shallots. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook tomatoes for about 15 minutes. Let cool before adding to pasta.
In a large bowl combine pasta, chicken, tomatoes and pesto. Toss pasta. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese, a few cilantro leaves and enjoy!