Kalyn's Kitchen

Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken

Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken has pesto-marinated chicken, zucchini noodles, and a delicious pesto vinaigrette.

PIN Chicken Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad to try it later!

Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken finished salad in bowl with plates and forks on side

I’ve been making zucchini noodles with the Spiralizer for years now, and I want to share the some zucchini noodle recipes I’ve come up while some of you have a surplus of zucchini. I created this Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken with help from my niece Kara, and we both agreed it was easy to make and tasty.  What bumped up the flavor here was marinating the chunks of chicken in the pesto vinaigrette for a few hours before we tossed the salad together, along with additional pesto vinaigrette that’s tossed with the noodles.

I’ve been making Basil Pesto with Lemon with the basil I’m growing in big pots along my front sidewalk, but if you don’t have homemade pesto this salad will still be delish with my favorite pesto from the store. You could also make a dairy-free or Paleo version of this by switching the dressing to Basil Vinaigrette made with homemade vinaigrette. And check out Low-Carb and Keto Recipes with Pesto for more tasty ideas for using basil pesto!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • boneless-skinless chicken breasts
  • chicken broth + water (for cooking chicken)
  • green onion
  • zucchini
  • salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (affiliate link) or other low-sugar purchased Vinaigrette Dressing
  • pesto
  • Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), or use any all-purpose seasoning of your choice
  • fresh-ground black pepper to taste

What’s the best method to make zucchini noodles?

There are lots of different gadgets that can be used to make zucchini noodles, but I’m a fan of the Spiralizer (affiliate link). If you don’t want to invest in a spiralizer, check my post on Three Ways to Make Zucchini Noodles for some info about other gadgets I’ve tried. No matter which method you use, be sure to cut a lengthwise slit halfway through the zucchini before you start making noodles, otherwise you’ll get one long noodle! Many stores also sell zucchini noodles already made if you want it to be even easier!

What pesto did I use?

My homemade Basil Pesto with Lemon would always be my first choice for this salad. If you don’t have basil to make homemade pesto, this is my favorite pesto from the store and the salad will definitely be delicious with either of these pesto options.

Can you make the salad with leftover chicken?

If you’re lucky enough to have leftover rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken, just use about 4 cups diced chicken to make the salad.

Chicken Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad process shots collage

How to make this salad:

(Scroll down for complete recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. You can use diced rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken, but if you’re starting from scratch, trim four small chicken breasts and cut in half lengthwise.
  2. Poach the chicken breasts in barely simmering chicken stock about 20 minutes and then drain and let cool.
  3. Whisk together the vinaigrette, pesto, Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), and some fresh ground black pepper to make the dressing.
  4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into large bite-sized pieces.
  5. Marinate the chicken in about 1/4 cup of dressing for a few hours in the refrigerator.  (If you don’t have a few hours, even 30 minutes marinating will increase the flavor.)
  6. After the chicken has marinated, make the noodles. Cut the end off the zucchini and cut a lengthwise  slit in each (so noodles will be cut apart.) Then use one of the three methods for making zucchini noodles to turn the zucchini into noodles.
  7. To assemble the salad, stir the rest of the dressing (or as much as you’d like) into the noodles.
  8. Then stir in the marinated chicken with dressing and sliced green onions.
  9. Season with salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste and serve.

Chicken Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad square thumbnail photo

More Delicious Recipes with Pesto:

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken 
Chicken Pesto Salad
Roasted Summer Squash with Pesto and Parmesan
Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese
Baked Salmon with Pesto and Tomatoes 

Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken finished salad in bowl with plates and forks on side

Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken is a tasty combination with pesto-marinated chicken and a pesto vinaigrette.



  • 4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, well trimmed and cut into 2 lengthwise pieces (see notes)
  • 14 oz. chicken broth + about 1/2 can water
  • 1/2 cup diagonally sliced green onion
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini (about 10 inches long)
  • salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup purchased Vinaigrette Dressing (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup pesto (see notes)
  • 2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or use any all-purpose seasoning of your choice)
  • fresh-ground black pepper to taste


  1. If you’re cooking the chicken, trim chicken breasts of any visible fat or undesirable parts and cut each breast in half lengthwise.
  2. Put the chicken stock + half the can of water in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer.
  3. Add the chicken and poach for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is firm.
  4. Then drain chicken into a colander placed in the sink and let it cool.
  5. While the chicken cools, whisk together the vinaigrette dressing, pesto, Spike Seasoning, and black pepper to make the dressing.
  6. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into large bite-sized chunks, put in a Ziploc bag (or plastic container with a snap-tight lid), add about 1/4 cup of the dressing, and let chicken marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (or at least 30 minutes if you don’t have a few hours.)
  7. When you’re ready to assemble the salad, slice green onions diagonally to make 1/2 cup sliced green onions.
  8. Cut both ends off the zucchini and cut a slit lengthwise part way through each zucchini.  (This makes separate noodles instead of big long strings of noodles.)
  9. Then use one of the three methods for making zucchini noodles to turn the zucchini into noodles.  (I used the Spiralizerwith the medium noodle blade.)
  10. Put the zucchini into a salad bowl that’s big enough to hold all the ingredients and toss with the remaining dressing (or as much dressing as you prefer.)
  11. Add the marinated chicken, dressing from the Ziploc bag, and green onions, and stir gently to combine.
  12. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper and serve.
  13. This wasn’t bad at all after it had been in the fridge overnight, although it was best freshly made.


You can also use 4- 5 cups diced leftover chicken to make the salad. I like to use Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (affiliate link) and Basil Pesto with Lemon for this recipe, but it's also delicious with my favorite pesto from the store.

To make this salad Paleo, make Basil Vinaigrette with homemade vinaigrette to replace this dressing.

This recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 287Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 1267mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 28g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
This Zucchini Noodle Salad is suitable for any phase of the original South Beach Diet and other low-carb diet plans. For South Beach and low-carb diets, be sure to choose a vinaigrette with less than 3 grams of sugar per serving, the lower the better. The salad can be made with basil vinaigrette instead pesto and that would make it Whole 30 or Paleo.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one! Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2014. It was updated with more information in 2021.

Pinterest image of Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken

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    9 Comments on “Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto and Chicken”

  1. Oh, this is really delicious ! You’re right – it tastes great on everything! Was so tired of pesto and we have sooooo much basil! Thank you

  2. Thanks Alyssa, so glad you like it!

  3. Perfect use for zucchini noodles and love the way you turned the pesto into a dressing!

  4. 2newfies, just looked at it and that's a different brand of one of the same little tools that I have only mine is called a vegetti. Fun1

  5. I will have to check that out! Glad you are liking the zucchini ideas!

  6. I got something from Amazon called a Gogogu – mostly because I love the name! I made zucchini noodles alfredo with your inspiration, and my husband liked it!
    He also really liked your zucchini crust pizza. I told him I was serving it as the vegetable. He thought pizza as a veggie was a great idea!
    Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

  7. Thanks Bec. I am having so much fun with the Spiralizer too.

  8. zucchini noodles are probably the most fun I've ever had eating a veggie! 😉
    This dish looks awesome, Kalyn!