Chicken Margherita Pasta

chicken margherita pasta in a white bowl

A quick and easy dinner made with classic Italian flavors and a rotisserie chicken. This family pleasing meal with juicy tomatoes, fresh pesto, and creamy mozzarella takes less than 30 minutes!

chicken margarita pasta with bread

chicken margherita pasta

This is a convenient weeknight meal using a rotisserie chicken that comes together in the time it takes the pasta to boil. It combines my desire for garden fresh ingredients with my husband’s need for a substantial protein ~ it’s the perfect marriage 😉

margherita, not margarita!

Margherita refers to a classic Neapolitan pizza that was created in the 1880s to commemorate the unification of Italy with the colors of the Italian flag: green basil, red tomatoes, and white mozzarella. Margarita is the Mexican cocktail made with tequila and lime! (That might inspire a delicious pasta recipe too, but that’s for another day.)

chicken margarita pasta in a white bowl with garlic

I admit to being a pesto snob. Once you experience the bright flavor of homemade, it’s hard to be satisfied with the jarred stuff. And anyway, homemade pesto takes just a minute, you don’t even have to measure anything. Fill your processor with basil leaves, add a few glugs of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, some pine nuts, a clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, and pulse away. Pesto, pedestrian though it has become, is one of the great culinary experiences when it’s made from scratch.

shopping list for chicken margherita pasta

  • cooked chicken ~ diced, about a pound. You can use a rotisserie chicken or cook a couple of breasts in the oven while you prep the recipe. Fyi I’m a big fan of rotisserie chicken, it has great flavor and I always keep one in the fridge for quick meals like this.
  • pasta ~ any kind you like.
  • tomatoes ~ I used cherry tomatoes but full sized will work fine, just dice them
  • garlic
  • freshly made pesto ~ or store bought, let your conscience be your guide 😉
  • mozzarella pearls
    • you can dice up regular mozzarella, instead, but the pearls are so cute!
  • toasted pine nuts
    • always toast your pine nuts, it makes a huge difference. I toss them in a little olive oil and toast in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly so they don’t burn.
ingredients for Chicken Margarita Pasta

step by step chicken margherita pasta in less than 30 minutes!

Note that this is a barely cooked pasta, in other words you’ll toss the hot pasta with the ingredients for a super quick weeknight meal.

  1. Put a big pot of well salted water on to boil and cook the pasta to al dente.
  2. Slice cherry tomatoes into quarters, cut regular tomatoes into large dice. Mince the garlic.
  3. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  4. To the same pot add a dash of olive oil, the garlic, chicken, and tomatoes. Sauté for a minute or two to just barely heat things up.
  5. Toss with the hot pasta and lots of pesto.
  6. Top off with pine nuts and mozzarella pearls.
Making margherita pasta in a Dutch oven

more quick pasta dinners

chicken margherita pasta in a white bowl
5 from 4 votes

Chicken Margarita Pasta

Chicken Margherita Pasta made with rotisserie chicken, juicy tomatoes, fresh pesto, and creamy mozzarella takes less than 30 minutes!
Course Dinner Recipes
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Calories 700kcal
Author Sue Moran


pesto (substitute 1 cup readymade pesto)

  • 2 1/4 ounce fresh basil or about 3 cups
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, diced
  • 2/3 cup pesto sauce, recipe above
  • 8 ounces mozzarella pearls


  • toasted pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • basil leaves


to make the pesto

  • Put the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides if necessary. Take a taste to adjust any of the ingredients. Set aside.

to make the pasta

  • Cook your pasta in plenty of well salted water to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • In the same pot, heat the olive oil and add the garlic, tomatoes, and chicken. Sauté for a minute or two to heat everything up.
  • Add the hot pasta to the pan and toss well with the mozzarella pearls and pesto. Note: you may not need all of the pesto, use to taste.
  • Serve garnished with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Cook’s notes

If you like you can add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese to your pesto.


Calories: 700kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 450mg | Potassium: 460mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 750IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 230mg | Iron: 3mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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1 Comment

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    5 stars
    Yummy! I used store bought pesto and subbed sunflower seeds for pinenuts. So simple, light and delicious. Thank you Sue.

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