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+ servings

Pesto Chicken Salad

A fresh take on a classic lunch staple: a mayo free chicken salad, partly made in the slow cooker, and mixed together with fresh pesto made with basil, spinach and cashews. Perfect for meal prep!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Course: Lunch
Servings: 6
Author: Lexi


For chicken:

  • 1-1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

For Spinach Pesto:

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews or nut of choice
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup pine nuts


  • Place chicken in the insert of a slow cooker. Pour broth over the chicken. If the broth doesn’t cover all of the chicken, add more. Add in garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
  • Remove the chicken and either dice it, or shred it with two forks. Let cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile make pesto: Add basil, spinach, cashews, parmesan cheese (if using), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to a food processor or a high speed blender. Process until pesto is smooth. If needed, add in a tablespoon of hot water or olive oil more as needed to make a smooth pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Combine the diced chicken, the pesto and the pine nuts and serve on a sandwich, over a bed of lettuce or in a wrap.


This recipe was updated with new photos in 2020.


Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 36.6g | Fat: 20.2g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 488mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1.3g