There’s nothing like a meal prepared straight from your own vegetable garden. Ok, so I didn’t grow a pasta tree or raise the chicken, but the pesto was made from our homegrown basil and parsley, and the salad is served over a bed of our fresh spinach. Even if you don’t have a garden of your own, these ingredients can be picked up fresh and delicious right from your local farmers market. If you’re in the Ottawa area, check out the Lansdowne, Nature Museum, Metcalfe, or Manotick, Farmers Markets.

Anyone growing vegetable gardens this summer? Let us know what you’re growing and cooking up from your own backyard!


Serves 4-6



For the pesto

1 cup packed basil leaves

1/3 cup packed parsley leaves

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/3 cup pine nuts

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1/3 cup olive oil

For the salad

1 box fusilli pasta (or pasta of choice), cooked according to package instructions

1 large tomato, or 1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 cup peas (thawed frozen peas work well)

2 cups spinach leaves

4 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts



  1. Add all the pesto ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Once pasta is cooked and cooled, add all except for ¼ cup of the pesto to the pasta and mix until well coated.
  3. Chop the tomato (or halve the cherry tomatoes) to desired size and mix into the pasta along with the peas.
  4. Cut cooked and cooled chicken into long strips. Set aside.
  5. Place a handful of spinach leaves on each plate and top with a large spoonful of the pasta salad. Top with the chicken strips, and spread about a tbsp of pesto along the chicken strips.