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Lemony Pesto Chicken tossed with Quinoa Fusilli

Almost everyone is familiar with Pesto alla Genovese, the green garlic-and-basil sauce that's one of the symbols of Italian cuisine. Here jar pesto is combined with fresh lemon and white wine to make a simple and delicious pasta and chicken meal that's loaded with protein and high in fibre.
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast(s)
½ lb quinoa fusili pasta, dry
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
1 tsp lemon peel, fresh
¼ cup pesto, prepared
¼ tsp hot red chili pepper flakes
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup basil leaves, fresh
¼ cup Asiago cheese, fresh, shredded
12 basil leaves, fresh (optional garnish)

Food Safety

Before you start, wash all surfaces and your hands with soap and warm water, and remember to wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards after they touch raw meat or eggs. Avoid cross-contamination by using a different cutting board for your meat and other ingredients. Make sure you’re cooking to safe temperatures and chilling any leftovers within two hours. For more food safety tips, visit our Food Safety at Home Section.


  1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces about ½ inch (1.25 cm) square and set aside.

  2. Bring unsalted water to boil. Add quinoa fusilli, stir and boil for 13-15 minutes until al dente. Time pasta to finish close to when chicken is done. Drain when ready to toss pasta.

  3. Heat olive oil over medium high heat for one minute. Reduce heat to medium and add chicken pieces and brown five minutes on both sides.

  4. Mix white wine with fresh lemon juice, lemon peel, pesto, crushed chile and salt in a small bowl. Pour over browned chicken and toss to coat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes, or until pasta finishes cooking.

  5. Chiffonade basil leaves into ribbons to make ¼ cup (60 mL). To serve toss hot quinoa fusilli with the minced fresh basil and shredded Asiago cheese. Toss until cheese melts. Mound on serving platter. Garnish with additional fresh basil leaves.

Helpful Tip

Quinoa is a highly nutritious grain that has been growing in South America for over 5000 years. It is very high in vegetable protein (12-15%), contains less carbohydrate than most cereals and is gluten free. Quinoa is particularly high in fibre and in unsaturated fats. The well-balanced mix of amino acids makes it comparable to milk's nutritional value.

Nutrition Info

Per 210 g serving Amount
Protein36 g
Fat15 g
Saturated Fat4 g
Carbohydrate44 g
Fibre4 g
Sugar3 g
Cholesterol75 mg
Sodium400 mg
Per 210 g serving % Daily Value
Vitamin A8
Vitamin C10
Vitamin B637
Vitamin B1226