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August 4, 2023

Arugula White Bean Salad with Pesto Chicken

Sturdy white beans and peppery arugula get dressed in a simple vinaigrette and topped with grilled pesto chicken. An easy and beautiful salad to put together when you’re craving something fresh!

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Arugula and White Bean salad with Pesto chicken on a serving platter
Photography by Gayle McLeod

An Easy White Bean And Pesto Chicken Salad With Arugula

A salad can be many things. A salad’s primary duties include crunchiness, freshness, and creaminess. They like to be dressed in a tasty sauce, and do well with an added protein. For this salad scenario we’re adding creamy white beans to crunchy arugula dressed in a tangy vinaigrette. Topping it all off is our favorite simple way to flavor grilled chicken–with a big scoop of fresh pesto. Slice some Crusty Bread and roast crispy Rosemary Potatoes for a delicious and easy meal.

arugula, 4 raw chicken breasts, pesto, white beans, lemon juice, dijon, sugar, salt, olive oil and shallot in prep bowls

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Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Chicken Pesto Salad With Arugula And White Beans

  • Chicken breasts – We call for boneless and skinless chicken breasts, but you could really make this with any and all pieces of the chicken.

  • Easy vinaigrette – Lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and salt get emulsified with olive oil.

  • Canned white beans – Cannellini or great northern are perfect.

  • Arugula – We love arugula for this salad, it’s peppery and crisp and stands up to the vinaigrette and pesto. You could use spinach or other lettuce greens if you have them around.

lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and salt being whisked in a bowl
olive oil being whisked into a bowl with lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and salt
shallots, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and salt mixed together in a bowl
drained canned white beans tossed in a vinaigrette made of olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, shallots and salt

How to Make White Bean Salad With Pesto Chicken

  • Make the pesto chicken. Put the chicken breasts and pesto in a medium bowl, and toss to coat the chicken.

  • Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Stir in the chopped shallot.

  • Dress the beans with the vinaigrette in a separate medium sized bowl.

  • Preheat the grill on medium-high. Brush the grates with oil.

  • Grill the chicken. Place the chicken on the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5-6 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.

  • Assemble the salad. Add the arugula to a serving platter in an even layer. Top with the marinated beans and sliced chicken, then drizzle with the remaining dressing and remaining pesto to serve.

chicken being coated in pesto sauce in a glass bowl
grilled pesto chicken on a grill

How to Store Leftover Salad And Chicken + Tips

  • This is one of those salads that does best the day that it is prepared. If you have leftover beans and chicken, you could use either (or both!) to compose salads throughout the week, but once arugula is dressed it doesn’t have a long shelf life.

  • If you’d like this salad to be vegetarian, you could make some perfect Six-Minute Eggs and throw in some grilled broccoli coated in pesto.

  • Like many salads, this pesto chicken salad recipe is infinitely customizable. Got some cherry tomatoes in the garden ready to be picked? Slice them in half and throw them in! Roasted veggies from another meal laying around? Add them to the bowl! You catch our drift?

arugula and white bean salad with homemade dressing topped with pesto chicken

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Arugula White Bean Salad with Pesto Chicken

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 414

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup pesto, homemade or store bought
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill grates
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (from 1 medium shallot)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini or great northern, drained and rinsed
  • 5 ounces arugula

Method

  1. Place ½ cup of the pesto and the chicken in a medium bowl, toss to coat.

  2. Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Stir in the shallot.

  3. In a second medium bowl, combine the white beans with half of the dressing.

  4. Preheat the grill on medium-high. Brush the grates with oil.

  5. Place the chicken on the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5-6 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.

  6. Add the arugula to a serving platter in an even layer. Top with the marinated beans and sliced chicken, then drizzle with the remaining dressing and remaining pesto to serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories414
  • Protein26 g
  • Carbohydrates17 g
  • Total Fat27 g
  • Dietary Fiber5 g
  • Cholesterol50 mg
  • sodium546 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Arugula White Bean Salad with Pesto Chicken

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • hope

    can i bake the chicken instead of grilling?

    Sure!

  • Chelsea

    Hi! Would you be able to recommend an indoor grill like the one in the photo ?

    This is the Cuisinart venture Portable Gas Grill

  • Laura

    I made this for dinner tonight with one of our homegrown chickens. Both the husband and myself were very pleased with the results! So freaking delicious!! Can't wait to do this again for dinner.

    Thanks Laura, we are so happy you loved it!

  • STELLA

    Amazingly good.
    Shrimp and rotisserie chicken in pesto, let marinate for an hour. Plate greens first, some dressing, top with chicken one side shrimp other beans in the middle. I forgot shallots oh well!

    Thanks Stella! We are so happy you loved it!

  • Carl

    This was so Good! Thank you!

    Thanks Carl! So happy you loved it!

  • Kay

    SO GOOD! My new favorite summer meal!

    Thanks Kay, we are so happy you love it!