This easy recipe for pesto chicken is ideal for weeknight dinners. It’s healthy, keto and delicious!
The idea for this pesto chicken recipe came from my desperate need to use up some leftover homemade pesto sauce.
You see, whenever I have leftover fresh basil leaves (for example, after I make basil frittata), I use them to make homemade pesto sauce. And then I desperately search for ways to use it. Pesto sauce keeps for a few days in the fridge, and for about a month in the freezer, but it doesn’t last forever. And it’s way too delicious to throw out!
So a few weeks ago, staring at the chicken breasts in my fridge and trying to decide what to do with them, it occurred to me that I could use my basic recipe for juicy baked chicken breast and adjust it to include pesto.
This pesto chicken was delicious. As it turns out, pesto goes incredibly well with chicken (as does tarragon, by the way)! I also love how easy this recipe is. It’s just perfect for a weeknight dinner. I have made this recipe a couple more times for some fine-tuning before posting it here, and it was a big success both times.
What pesto to use in pesto chicken?
You can use homemade pesto sauce as I do. Store-bought pesto sauce is fine, but make sure it’s made with olive oil. I find it infuriating that so many commercial pesto sauce brands use vegetable oil instead of olive oil. It’s not as healthy, and it’s also not as tasty!
What should I serve with pesto chicken?
Pesto chicken goes really well with roasted cherry tomatoes. You can roast them in the same 450°F oven for about 15 minutes. Sometimes I make microwave spaghetti squash (I mix in some olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper) or zucchini noodles and use that as a bed for the pesto chicken.
What about leftovers?
Leftover pesto chicken keeps okay in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. Although as with most chicken recipes, leftovers are not as good as when served fresh. I prefer not to reheat them, so as not to dry the chicken out. So I slice them and use them to top a salad for my lunch the next day. If you’d like to reheat the leftovers, do so gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
- 4 (8 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Avocado oil spray
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup pesto sauce homemade or store-bought
- 8 thin tomato slices (from 2 medium tomatoes)
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
- Place the chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish. Spray them with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven. Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto sauce on the top of each chicken breast. Arrange 2 tomato slices on top, and sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella.
- Return the chicken to the oven. Bake until cooked through and cheese is melted, about 5 more minutes. If your baking dish is broiler-safe, you can finish by broiling for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese.