Pesto Chicken Salad & “Whole 30” Recap

I just finished my first attempt at the Whole 30 program from the Whole 9Life Blog. While I’ve been pretty legit Paleo for the past few months, the holidays kinda crept up on me and I was a leeeettle lenient on myself while I was home in New Hampshire. I’m sorry, but somethings just have to be enjoyed and I had a hard a$$ time saying no to the amazingness of Grafton Villages 4yr Aged Cheddaaah (this sh*t is DELISH I tell you) regardless of my semi-lactardedness. Plus one of my besties works at Lindt Chocolate and insists on leaving me with BARS upon BARS of their Excellence Bars whenever I see her (whatta BEEYATCH, I know ;p ). Cheese + excessive chocolate = “puffy” Emily. I was a bloaty mess come New years Day. Hottsy totsy. Don’t judge me!

I got back to Cali the second week of January after the holidays, and after running the Disney World 1/2 Marathon, and I cracked down in the food department. I really liked the idea of the Whole 30 cuz of the rules, I neeeeeed boundaries. I’m bad at that game. Sometimes I just need to be told what the eff to do. “No Emily, you may not go eating a so-called ‘handful’ of Enjoy-Life chocolate chips after dinner every night just because they are soy/dairy/whatever free.” I needed to kick my crazy choco-habit. So I dove headfirst into 30 days of psychopaleomode. Hoo. RAH.

Honestly, it was pretty kick ass. I felt great, my energy levels were rockin’ and I definitely noticed a difference in my stomach and the fact that my pants buttoned easily without giving me the finger plus that really attractive side muffin-ness that we all love. So yea, Whole 30 went pretty well I would say. Now the true test is not having it completely BACKFIRE like woah, because I am prettyyyy convincing to myself when I think one glass of wine, or one almond flour chocolate chip cookie won’t be a problem. And they really aren’t. It’s when I, you know, chug a glass or two of wine and think “hmm an almond flour chocolate chip cookie sounds delish” and after chugging another glass of wine, that one cookie in my wine sloshing belly is joined by a few of his friends. Stupid cookies. Stupid chocolate. Must. Resist.

Here’s a yummy take on chicken salad that’s great alone or on top of some organic greens. Just stay away from the almond flour cookies. They’re evil.

Walnut Pesto Chicken Salad:

For pesto:

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1tsp coconut oil
  • 1c Walnuts, chopped
  • 2c basil (washed), packed
  • 1/2c Extra Virgin olive oil

For shredded chicken:

  • 1lb Chicken breast
  • 1/2lb chicken thighs
  • Chicken stock or water


  1. Rinse and pat dry all of the chicken (those quantities of white vs. dark meat are just what I happened to have on hand, but just figure on 1.5lbs of chicken in general).
  2. Put the chicken in a sauce pan and add just enough water or chicken stock to cover the meat.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer with a cover for about 45 minutes.
  4. In a small skillet, sauté the garlic in the coconut oil for one minute. Add in the walnuts and toast for barely one minute and remove from heat.
  5. Add all of the pesto ingredients to a food processor and whip it. Whip it real good.
  6. When the chicken is done remove it from the liquid and pull apart with two forks to get it all shredded and add to a bowl.
  7. Slowly add the pesto mixture to the chicken and stir to incorporate. Depending on how pesto-y you want it, you may have some left over if you don’t want the chicken totally drenched in pesto. This is an excellent excuse to dip other foodstuff in yummy pesto. Yay.
  8. Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “Pesto Chicken Salad & “Whole 30” Recap

    • Oh my goodness thank you so much! I have sadly not kept up with posting my recipes in the past few months. But this warmed my heart to have see it being perused! Happy cooking to you!
      Take care & be well.

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