Easy Baked Pesto Chicken
When I first made this Easy Baked Pesto Chicken back in 2010, I’m not sure I ever imagined it would become one of the most popular recipes on the blog. But now it’s been pinned 625K+ times and the recipe has been viewed 2.5 Million times! So when I decided recently I wanted to update the photos I decided I would keep the original photo below close to the top of the post so people would recognize it.
I for the inspiration for Easy Baked Pesto Chicken when I was looking in The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook for a recipe my friend Bonnie had recommended. That happened to be in the summer, and when it’s summertime at my house there’s fresh basil on the counter, I’m freezing basil for winter, and I’m making Basil Pesto with Lemon, so it’s not really surprising that a recipe using pesto would catch my eye.
If you don’t have any basil growing, you can certainly make this ultra-easy main dish with purchased basil pesto, which is what the recipe in the book called for. If you have more fresh basil, or more basil pesto left in your jar after you make this, look after the recipe for some other ideas using pesto.
And here’s a fun little story about this recipe. Late last year I started working out with a fantastic trainer named Wendy. Then one time when I showed up at the gym she told me she had gone to get the recipe for her kids’ favorite chicken dish, and it turned out to be a recipe from my blog! So just in case you’re wondering if this can be kid-friendly, Wendy says her kids love Pesto Chicken and gobble it up for dinner. (She serves it with pasta for the kids, but I’d serve with Cauliflower Rice for a tasty low-carb meal.)
Cover the dish with foil and then bake at 375F/190C for 25-30 minutes, or just until the chicken is barely cooked through. (Don’t cook too long at this stage, or the chicken will be overcooked when the cheese is melted and browned.)
Easy Baked Pesto Chicken
(Makes 4 servings, recipe adapted slightly from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook.)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
1/2 cup basil pesto (I used my homemade Basil Pesto with Lemon, but you can use purchased basil pesto.)
2 oz. (1/2 cup) grated low-fat mozzarella cheese (or more if you like it cheesy!)
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken pieces, then cut each chicken breast lengthwise into 2 or 3 pieces. (I cut the larger ones into 3 strips and the smaller ones into 2 strips.)
When chicken is barely cooked through, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted. (If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it when you take the chicken out.) After I melted the cheese for 5 minutes I switched my oven to broil and broiled for 5 minutes more, just long enough to get the cheese lightly browned.
Serve hot. There will be some flavorful juice in the bottom of the dish when this is done, so you may want to serve with rice, Cauliflower Rice, or quinoa to soak up the juice.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Find More Recipes Like This One:
More Recipe Ideas Using Basil Pesto:
Basil Pesto with Lemon and Ten Ideas for Using Basil Pesto from Kalyn’s Kitchen
5 Easy Ways to Use Basil Pesto from Kitchen Gadget Girl Cooks
Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pesto Yogurt Dip ~ Melanie Makes