When you’re looking to add a little excitement and variety to the weekly chicken dinner routine, a quick pesto sauce made with fresh herbs is your answer. Skip the store-bought jarred stuff that lacks flavor, because you can quickly make it right at home in just 10 minutes.
Each piece of chicken gets generously coated with some of the basil and spinach pesto, and topped with freshly chopped tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and walnuts.
This baked chicken pesto recipe is a satisfying and healthy dish, that can be served alongside pasta, zucchini noodles or crispy roasted potatoes. The recipe makes a generous amount of basil pesto sauce that can be saved and added to others meals for an extra bump of flavor!
Pesto Chicken made with fresh basil, spinach, garlic, walnuts and Parmesan cheese to make each bite irresistible!
- 2½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, 4 pieces, pounded to ¾-inch thickness
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, (120ml), plus more for drizzling
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 1 cup basil, (30g, 1 ounce) packed
- 1 cup baby spinach, (30g, 1 ounce) packed
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- ¼ cup walnuts, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup diced tomatoes, ¼-inch dice
- Place oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Drizzle both sides of the chicken breast with olive oil. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place chicken in an ovenproof baking dish or skillet.
- Bake in preheated oven until the internal temperature of the chicken is no longer pink and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 15 to 18 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Place the basil and spinach in a resealable plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to lightly bruise the herbs and greens. Transfer to a food processor or blender.
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Toast garlic until the outsides are lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally, about 8 minutes. Peel garlic and add to food processor.
- Place walnuts in the same pan and toast over medium heat, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to food processor.
- Add ½ teaspoon salt to the food processor.
- Process pesto by pulsing five times to help break down the greens.
- Turn food processor on low speed, as it’s running slowly drizzle in ½ cup olive oil until a smooth pesto with some smaller pieces is formed, about 10 seconds from start to finish.
- Add the parmesan cheese to the pesto and process on low speed for 5 seconds.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Transfer pesto to a small bowl.
- Brush some pesto sauce on each cooked chicken breast. Transfer to a serving platter.
- Top chicken with chopped walnuts, tomatoes, and cheese. Serve extra pesto sauce on the side.