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Chicken Pesto Rice Salad

Chicken Pesto Rice Salad
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This Chicken Pesto Rice Salad features lean chicken breast, grape tomatoes and artichoke hearts tossed in a basil walnut pesto for a salad that defies convention. The pesto is made with heart healthy walnuts, which are far more economical than their pricier pine nut cousin. This is a chicken and rice dinner you won't forget.


For easier preparation substitute leftover cooked diced chicken breast in the recipe.  You could also use a food processor instead of the mortar and pestle to prepare the pesto more quickly. 

For more recipes and information about Anne, check out her Featured Foodies profile page.


Preparation Time10 min

Cooking Time20 min


  • 12 ounces diced chicken breast
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 can (14 oz.) of artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste


  1. Stir together the diced chicken, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

  2. In a large nonstick skillet over a medium high heat, add the seasoned chicken with a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté stirring occasionally until it’s no longer pink and develops a golden brown color. It will take 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.

  3. To make the pesto add the garlic and sea salt to a mortar and pestle and crush them together until they have a paste like consistency. Grate in the lemon zest. Add in the parsley, basil, and lemon juice. Continue crushing the mixture until the basil and parsley are pretty well broken down then add the walnuts and red pepper flakes. Continue crushing the mixture until the walnut pieces are as small as you want then add the olive oil and stir it all together then set aside.

  4. Add the cooked rice to a large serving bowl. Pour over the pesto. Add the chicken, tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Stir everything together and serve or refrigerate and serve later.

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