Pesto Chicken Tortellini and Asparagus
Pesto chicken tortellini and asparagus uses some pre-made ingredients to allow quick cooking with fresh and colorful vegetables.

Over the course of our marriage, Joey and I have developed a special ritual, where each of us tries to be the first one to ask, “What do you want to eat?” before every meal, as though the person who asks first is absolved from having to do any choosing.

I mean, the answer is nearly always, “I don’t know,” but we still try it every meal, every day, with very few exceptions.

He was a little shocked last week, then, when I said, “Hey, don’t worry about dinner tonight. I have an idea.”

I knew he was going to be stuck at the office late, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe and hopefully have it ready for him when he got home.

Well, let me tell you, it was a huge hit, and if you or someone you know is cultivating a vegetable garden this summer, this is a great recipe to try out.

This comes from the blog “Julia’s Album.” You can find the original at I added garlic salt and more pesto to my version.

Pesto Chicken Tortellini and Asparagus

Course: Main Course
Keyword: asparagus, basil pesto, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, tortellini


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts cut into strips
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped, divided
  • 1 pound asparagus stalks cut in half
  • 3/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup cheese tortellini fresh or frozen


  • In a large skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Season the chicken with garlic salt and add it along with 1/4 cup of the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan, sauteing for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Transfer the chicken and tomatoes to a plate, season the asparagus with garlic salt and add it to the pan (add a little more oil, if necessary). Also add the other 1/4-cup of sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Cook for another 10 minutes until the asparagus reaches your desired doneness (I like mine very tender, so I added about four tablespoons of water and put the lid on the skillet to steam cook it for a bit, too.)
  • While the asparagus cooks, cook the tortellini according to package directions and drain.
  • Remove the asparagus from the skillet, and cover it to keep it warm.
  • In the skillet, add the chicken, pesto and tomatoes. Stir continuously to allow the chicken to reheat and let the tomatoes release some juice.
  • Add in the tortellini and stir to combine.
  • Serve the chicken mixture along with a serving of the asparagus.

This had amazing flavor and was gorgeous on the plate. I also really liked that, while it looked complicated, it used enough pre-made ingredients that it was easy to put together. It was also awesome as leftovers later on, which I always appreciate about a recipe. 

Joey was extremely grateful to have dinner on the table when he got home and to not have to endure yet another discussion about what we wanted to eat.

The only problem is now that I’ve shown my ability to choose a meal, I have to be extra quick about being the first to ask Joey what he wants to eat. Otherwise, it may become my job every day, and I just don’t think I’m ready for that responsibility.

This piece first appeared in print on June 4, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.