Sunflower Seed Pesto Chicken Pasta

Sunflower Seed Pesto Chicken Pasta

Fall is finally arriving here in Los Angeles.

We’ve dipped down into the low 70’s, rather than the typical low 80’s, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Fall makes me crave warm, comforting dishes.

Roasted meats, creamy pastas, squash of all kinds, and freshly baked bread.

Fall is such a fabulous time!

These slow-foods can take hours to make, so I have some quick & easy comfort-food recipes up my sleeve.

This is one of them 🙂

Sunflower seed pesto pasta with shredded chicken.

I mean, chicken & pesto are always a hit!

This is a 30-minute meal everyone will love.

Simply pan cook some chicken breasts in a mixture of olive oil and butter, shred into yummy morsels, & toss with some freshly cooked pasta.

Blend together a whole bunch of fresh basil, garlic, sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil for a fragrant herbaceous pesto & mix it all together.

Finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated high quality parmesan cheese & flaky maldon sea salt & eat it up!

Sunflower seeds are an awesome alternative to expensive pine nuts.

It’s not authentic, but it still tastes fab. Walnuts & almonds work here as well!

I love to balance this rich bowl of pasta with some veggies.

Pan sautéed zucchini, a simple side salad, or any other fresh produce you enjoy makes a perfect complement.

It’s a great way to round out the meal & fill up with nourishing veggies.

Health Tip:

  • Basil is an amazing natural antibacterial. It contains a variety of natural oils that kill pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, and S. aureus, which are common causes of food poisoning. Some researchers/anthropologists believe that humans began cooking with herbs and spices because of their antimicrobial properties. Since they helped us stay well, we developed a taste preference for them and continued to work them into our local cuisines.

Pesto Chicken Pasta- made with sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts!


Sunflower Seed Pesto Chicken

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 4


  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Freshly cracked salt & black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 lb dried spaghetti pasta
  • 2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Flaky Maldon sea salt, for serving


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts with salt & pepper. Add the butter & olive oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Swirl the pan to coat evenly and add the chicken breasts. Cook 6-8 minutes on each side, until the outside of the breasts are golden and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate, and let cool.
  • As the chicken cools, add the spaghetti to the pot of boiling water & cook according to package directions.
  • While the pasta cooks, make the pesto. Place the basil, parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, garlic, olive oil, salt, & pepper in a small food processor. Blend until smooth.
  • When the pasta is done cooking, drain & place in a large serving bowl. Shred the chicken breasts into bite sized strips and add to the bowl with the pasta. Pour the pesto over top & mix well by tossing with 2 large forks.
  • Plate each individual serving, sprinkle with extra cheese, fresh cracked pepper, and flaky maldon sea salt. Enjoy with a nice side salad.

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