I've got a fabulous paleo pesto chicken salad recipe for you, and it is topped off with a quick, dairy free arugula pesto dressing. This is an easy and delicious paleo and Whole30 breakfast, lunch or dinner salad. I cannot wait you for to try this deliciousness!
Just wanted to let you know this awesome pesto chicken salad recipe is sponsored by my friends over at Lucini!
An easy paleo chicken salad recipe that's great as leftovers!
One of my favorite reasons for making nutrient dense and protein-filled Whole30 salad recipes is because they make for great leftovers.
All you need to do is leave the dressing on the side when storing it in the refrigerator, and it will last all week long! If you don't want to make your own shredded chicken, feel free to use a Rotisserie style chicken from the market!
I pride myself on creating sauces that can be used in a variety of different ways. That's one of the many reasons this dairy free arugula pesto is so fabulous.
I had a good amount leftover after using it in this paleo pesto chicken salad and have been drizzling it on my eggs in the morning and dipping roasted veggies in it. Delicious!
The very first Whole30 compliant extra virgin olive oil!
Lucini extra virgin olive oil has officially been dubbed as Whole30 compliant and certified, and what a dang honor that is.
Their pasta sauces have also been given that certification which makes for a really exciting plethora of Whole30 Italian inspired recipe ideas I now have...!
The olive oil has subtle almond notes and is plenty herbaceous. These are the flavors I have built the salad components around.
I love how bright this olive oil tastes. There are so many olive oils available on the market, and I have such comfort in knowing that with this one, I really am getting something that is made with high quality and also tastes SO GOOD!
Can I substitute out arugula for basil in the dairy free pesto?
You can absolutely use basil instead of arugula. I would recommend starting off with 2 cups of basil packed tightly and taste for any adjustments after using that amount first.
Also, if you would prefer to add parmesan into your pesto and don't want to keep it dairy free, feel free to use some and omit the nutritional yeast completely. I would add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese instead.
I love using arugula in the pesto because I only need to purchase one ingredient that is both the base of my salad AND my dressing. It's a double whammy.
I love basil pesto though, so if you want to go that route, you will not be disappointed!
Other Whole30 salad recipes:
How to make perfectly shredded chicken in the Instant Pot
One of the best things about owning an Instant Pot is having the ability to quickly and efficiently make perfectly cooked protein.
Ever since I started making shredded chicken thighs in the Instant Pot, I have not done it any other way. Let me tell you how it's done...!
Turn on the Instant Pot on manual. Add chicken thighs, water, salt, pepper and oregano. SET the pressure to HIGH and the timer for 12 minutes.
After the chicken has finished cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
Then, move the “sealing” nob to “venting” and let it release completely.
Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and shred using two forks on a cutting board. Set aside to cool.
That's all I write, folks! 🙂
Well, that pretty much wraps it up. It's time to get to making this vibrant dairy free arugula pesto sauce / dressing.
It is going to make your paleo pesto chicken salad so darn delicious and fresh-tasting. I absolutely cannot wait for you to try it!
Be sure to store the remaining dairy free pesto in an airtight container so you can use it for the next week on other dishes, veggies, eggs, etc.
I'm so excited to hear what you think. Happy cooking!
Paleo Pesto Chicken Salad (Dairy Free, Whole30)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups arugula packed tightly
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Lucini extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs SEE NOTES!
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups arugula or romaine lettuce lightly packed
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 persian cucumbers sliced thinly
- 6 radishes cut into matchsticks
- 4 soft boiled eggs quartered (SEE NOTES!)
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- pine nuts toasted, for garnish
- fresh chives finely chopped, for garnish
- In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic cloves. Pulse a few seconds at a time until they are minced. Scrape down the sides with a spatula if necessary.
- Add arugula, pine nuts, salt, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Pulse again multiple times until the arugula has all been incorporated and finely chopped, about 1 minute.
- Turn the food processor on high and very, very SLOWLY pour in the olive oil. Once it is all incorporated and it looks smooth throughout, it is ready! Set aside.
- Turn on the Instant Pot on manual. Add chicken thighs, water, salt, pepper and oregano. SET the pressure to HIGH and the timer for 12 minutes.
- After the chicken has finished cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Then, move the “sealing” nob to “venting” and let it release completely. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and shred using two forks on a cutting board. Set aside to cool.
- Add arugula to a big bowl or platter. If your pesto is thicker than you'd like to use as a dressing, feel free to whisk in a little bit of water (1 tablespoon at a time) until it is a little thinner. Pour desired amount of dressing on arugula and mix well with a utensil or your hands.
- Add the rest of the salad ingredients and a bit more dressing. Taste for seasoning / dressing adjustments and serve.
Hi! I’m Monica – recipe developer, matcha addict and lover of all things chocolate, kombucha and any & all puns. I am also the blogger, real food lover, & bonafide hustler behind the blog ‘The Movement Menu.’ I’m so excited to welcome you to my happy space, where my appreciation of creative recipes and healthy & mindful eats come together to inspire you to live a healthy, balanced life.