Grab some crackers or bread, a few basil leaves, and a blanket and head outside for a picnic with this pesto salad. This is a delicious spring meal that is still filling, perfect for an active day outdoors.
By Taylor Mathis and Sally James
If you plan on enjoying those May flowers brought by April showers, I suggest you take your food outdoors. How about a picnic? This Pesto Bacon Chicken Salad is a dish that is great for picnicking. Pack a container of the salad in your cooler. Add a container of sliced tomatoes and a small bag of fresh basil leaves. All you have to do is bring a loaf of bread and you have the ingredients for a delicious and filling Pesto Bacon Chicken Salad Sandwich. If you are more interested in a snack size portion at your picnic, bring a sleeve of your favorite cracker to accompany your container of chicken salad. Once at your destination, you can spread the beautiful pale green salad onto your cracker. If crackers are too much, there is nothing wrong with just grabbing a spoon and eating the salad straight from the bowl. Regardless of how you accompany it, this Pesto Bacon Chicken Salad makes a perfect spring meal!
- 8 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
- ½ pound bacon, cooked, drained and chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ⅔ cup Basil Arugula Walnut Pesto (See below)
- ⅓ cup finely chopped poblano peppers
- ⅓ cup finely chopped vidalia onions
- 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
- 4 cups packed washed basil leaves
- 3 cups packed washed baby arugula leaves
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- 1½ cups grated Parmesan Cheese
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1¾ to 2 cups extra virgin olive oil (depending on how thick you like your pesto)
- Place basil, arugula, walnuts, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and tabasco in work bowl of food processor.
- Pulse on/off until the ingredients are chopped together. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the basil and arugula mixture until the pesto comes together and thickens.
- Remove the pesto from the work bowl and chill until needed. Pesto can be divided and stored in the freezer and saved for a later use.
- In a large bowl add the chicken, bacon, mayonnaise, pesto, peppers and onions. Stir well to blend.
- Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Stir well to blend. Cover the chicken salad with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve over lettuce or as a sandwich.