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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Gluten-Free Penne with Lemon-Cumin Chicken and Pesto


Gluten-Free Penne with Lemon-Cumin Chicken and Pesto



Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Gluten-Free Penne with Lemon-Cumin Chicken and Pesto


    For The Chicken:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 4- ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • For The Pesto:

  • 1 ½ packed cups fresh mint leaves (about 1 large bunch)
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ‚Öì cup chopped walnuts (toasted)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from ½ large lemon)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound gluten-free brown rice penne


  1. For the marinade, in a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes until smooth. Add the chicken and toss until coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (It can also be made in a resealable plastic bag.)
  2. For the pesto, in a food processor, blend the mint, spinach, Parmesan, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until chunky. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl.
  3. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Spray the grill lightly with vegetable oil cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest before slicing into 2-inch pieces.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium-high heat and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Transfer the pasta to the bowl with the pesto and toss gently to coat, adding reserved pasta water to loosen if necessary. Add the chicken and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
25 grams
12 grams
18 grams
Saturated Fat
3 grams
24 milligrams
228 milligrams
3 grams
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