This Pesto Chicken is juicy and delicious, cooked with flavorful basil pesto and sweet cherry tomatoes. It’s a simple dish that tastes amazing, goes well with most sides, and will surely impress anyone you serve it to.
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Hi I’m Dina, the blogger behind SimplyHomeCooked.com. Today I’ll be sharing how to make this delicious pesto chicken recipe. It’s one of those summer classics that never gets old. Juicy, sweet cherry tomatoes sauteed with fresh and herbaceous basil pesto. Golden brown and juicy chicken breasts with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. The flavors work so well together, and it tastes bright and oh so delicious. I’d serve it with this healthy pasta with broccoli for an amazing combination.
Why This Chicken Recipe Works?
This Pesto Chicken is bright and bursting with flavor. Besides taste though, this recipe is so easy to make and is a one-pan wonder. It’s versatile enough for lots of variation, too. Salads, soups, pasta, and so many other dishes go with these sweet, salty, and herby flavors. You can make it ahead or just prepare it the night of since it takes less than half an hour. You and your family will love how convenient it is. Toss in a tomato mozzarella salad and some crusty garlic bread and you’ll have dinner gold!
This recipe is so simple with clean ingredients.
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Basil Pesto: Store-bought or homemade
- Cherry tomatoes
- Extras: Olive oil for cooking the chicken. Salt and pepper for seasoning.
How to Make Pesto Chicken
So simple just follow these steps.
- Step 1- Cut and season the chicken. Slice the chicken breasts into halves to create thinner cutlets. Then season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Step 2- Heat the oil. Now add the olive oil to a skillet and bring the heat to medium high. Then add the chicken.
- Step 3- Cook and let it rest. Cook the chicken on both sides, then transfer it to a plate and cover it with foil to rest.
- Step 4- Blister the tomatoes. In the same pan, toss in the cherry tomatoes and stir them gently for about 1 minute, just until they look blistered.
- Step 5- Add the pesto and chicken. Now add the pesto and chicken back in. Stir until everything is combined. Add more pesto on top of the chicken if you prefer more.
For best results follow these tips
Tip 1- Use chicken cutlets: By cutting the chicken breasts in half horizontally, they are thinner and of uniform thickness. This means quicker, more even cooking.
Tip 2- Add extra pesto for sauce: If you plan to serve Pesto Chicken with pasta, double or triple the amount of basil pesto and add some cream to create enough sauce for full coverage.
Tip 3- Avoid overcooking: It’s easy to overcook thin chicken cutlets, so keep an eye on them so they don’t dry out.
Tip 4- Only saute the tomatoes for a minute: You want the tomatoes to keep their shape and not get mushy, so only cook them until they begin to blister.
Tip 5- Grill the chicken: If you want to add some char to this chicken dish, use an outdoor grill instead of the stovetop.
Add-ins and Variations
Ramp up the flavor.
- Add Vegetables: Enjoy this Pesto Chicken with diced zucchini, red bell pepper, red onions, asparagus, spinach, or green beans for a healthier, veggie-filled dish.
- Try grape tomatoes: Grape tomatoes aren’t as juicy as cherry, but they can easily substitute in this recipe.
- Add nuts: Try a little crunch with some toasted pine nuts, walnuts pieces, or any nut you like.
- Make it creamy: This is great for a thick sauce, especially if you’re serving it with pasta. Just add some heavy cream, or the nut milk of your choice.
- Add citrus: This dish is amazing with some added zing, so add some lemon juice and zest.
- Substitute another protein: You can use boneless chicken thighs, or other proteins like shrimp or pork, if you want. Cook times and temperatures may vary though.
This Pesto Chicken is low-carb, gluten-free, and keto-friendly. It packs lean protein in with healthy fats and can also be dairy-free with a vegan pesto sauce.
To know when your chicken breasts are fully cooked, they will have an internal temperature of at least 165 °F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also check by seeing if the juices from the chicken run clear.
Make it a meal!
- You can serve this tasty Pesto Chicken with pasta, like spaghetti or penne.
- It also goes well over a bed of rice, couscous, or quinoa.
- Start with an Italian chopped salad or soup, then use warm, crusty bread to mop up the leftover sauce when you’re done.
- Or to keep it light, just enjoy this dish on its own.
Making Pesto Chicken in Advance
Store: Store this Pesto Chicken in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze: Once the chicken has cooled, place it in a freezer ziplock bag or container. You can also freeze the pesto. It’s best to do this in ice cube trays so you can use only as much as you need. They will both last about 4 months. Tomatoes can become mushy when frozen and thawed, so best to use those fresh.
Reheat: From the fridge, just reheat the Pesto Chicken on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through. If it’s been frozen, allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before heating.
More Chicken Recipes To Try
- Caprese chicken and zucchini
- Healthy chicken parmesan
- Lemon chicken
- Grilled lemon rosemary chicken
- Air fryer chicken wings
- Slice the chicken into halves, so you end up with thinner cutlets. Then season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Now add the olive oil into a skillet and bring the heat to medium high.
- Cook the chicken on both sides, then transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
- In the same pan, toss in the cherry tomatoes and stir them gently for about 1 minute just until they look blistered. Then add in the pesto.
- Now add the chicken back in. Stir until everything is combined. Add more pesto on top of the chicken if you prefer more.
Store: Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze: Once the chicken has cooled, place it in a freezer ziplock bag or container. You can also freeze the pesto. It's best to do this in ice cube trays so you can use only as much as you need. They will both last about 4 months. Tomatoes can become mushy when frozen and thawed, so best to use those fresh.
Reheat: From the fridge, just reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through. If it's been frozen, allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before heating.
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