This quick and easy pesto chicken recipe with melty mozzarella, zucchini, and bursting tomatoes is cooked on the stove in one pan and takes just 30 minutes from start to finish.
This recipe is brought to you by Delallo Foods
If there’s one pantry staple every cook should have in their kitchen, it’s a jar of pesto. It’s just so versatile! One jar has all the flavor you need: a little garlic heat, the herbaceousness of basil, oil for texture and coating, a cheesy nuttiness, and just the right balance of spice. Add it to noodles to make pesto pasta (obviously) or stir it into rice for an extra flavor boost. And if you need a quick snack or app, there’s nothing easier than mixing a few dollops of jarred pesto with more olive oil to create a dipping sauce for sliced sourdough.
Today we’re creating a complete pesto chicken dinner that’s ready in 30 minutes. Ah, the beauty of having a jar on hand (but hey, kudos to you if you have time to make homemade pesto). Like my Chicken Caprese and Dijon Chicken, in this recipe, we cook thin-cut chicken cutlets so they cook in half the time as full chicken breasts. In the same pan, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes are cooked just until tender, set aside, then added back to the pesto-glazed chicken with chunks of melty mozzarella oozing on top. The flavor is all there. The nutrition too. The only thing left that’s needed is for you to dig in.
What’s In This Pesto Chicken Recipe
Come summer my basil bounty runneth over and that’s when I make my homemade basil pesto. It’s so good. But if I don’t have time or the wherewithal, having a jar of pesto in the cupboard is a mealtime lifesaver. In this chicken dinner, the oomph of flavor comes from one of the pantry staple ingredients I always have on hand, DeLallo’s Simply Pesto Traditional Basil. Made with handpicked Ligurian basil, this easy-to-reach for pesto sauce is blended with olive oil, crunchy pine nuts, cashews, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Pecorino Romano. It shines with the fresh herb and garlic flavor one expects from traditional pesto, but with the convenience of coming from a jar.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Fast and Easy Pesto Chicken:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or cutlets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Delallo Private Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Delallo Simply Pesto Traditional Basil
- Fresh basil
How to Make Pesto Chicken
Prep the chicken breasts. If using full boneless chicken breasts, cut them into cutlets so they cook faster and more evenly. Use a thin, sharp knife to slice the chicken breast in half lengthwise to make two thinner scallops. This is my favorite knife for the job.
Season the chicken generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. First, pat the cutlets dry with paper towels so they sear, not steam. Season both sides of the chicken breast to add flavor. All it takes is a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to get the job done.
Set the chicken aside. We’re cooking everything in the same pan so let’s do the veggies first and chicken last. This way the chicken is nice and warm to help the cheese melt.
Cook the Zucchini and Tomato
Season the zucchini and tomato. Drizzle the veggies with Delallo’s Private Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I like this olive oil best for this job because it has a light, fruity flavor that won’t overwhelm the dish.
Cook the vegetables in olive oil just until the tomatoes begin to burst. In this step, we’re just softening the vegetables since they’ll continue cooking with the chicken when combined at the end. Cook for 3-5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Set the veggies aside and cover to keep warm.
Sear the Chicken Breast Cutlets
Cook the chicken breasts in a combination of olive oil and butter. Butter is what gives the seared chicken its golden glow. Olive oil raises the butter’s smoke point so it doesn’t burn. Using the two together makes the perfect seared combination.
Cook the chicken breasts. Thinner chicken cutlets cook quickly. Sear on the first side for 4-5 minutes, flip, and cook for 2-3 minutes. THe chicken will continue cooking in the next step.
Spread the Chicken Breasts with Basil Pesto
Spread the tops of the chicken with Delallo Simple Pesto Traditional Basil. I usually use about half of the jar of Delallo pesto here. The warmth of the chicken warms the pesto and infuses flavor into the chicken. The smell is heavenly.
Top the pesto-topped chicken with mozzarella. I tear the mozzarella slices into smaller bits so they melt faster. Use shredded mozzarella if you prefer.
Bring This Pesto Chicken with Veggies Together
Add the vegetables back to the skillet with the chicken, reduce the heat, and cover with a lid. This stage is all about warming the separate components together and melting the mozzarella. Keep the heat on low so the chicken doesn’t overcook.
Garnish with more fresh basil leaves and more pepper if desired. Then serve it up, baby.
What to Serve With Pesto Chicken
- Easy Buttered Parmesan Noodles
- Easy Lemon Rice
- The Best Garlic Bread
- Rosemary and Garlic Butter Smashed Potatoes
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Quick and Easy Pesto Chicken
- 1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 4 chicken cutlets
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt , divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground s black pepper , divided
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 small zucchini , sliced into coins
- 3 tablespoons Delallo Private Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil , divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 6 ounce jar Delallo Simply Pesto Traditional Basil
- 4 slices fresh mozzarella
- fresh basil leaves
- If using full boneless chicken breasts, use a thin, sharp knife to slice the chicken breast in half lengthwise to make two thinner scallops. Pat the cutlets with a paper towel then season both sides with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Set aside.
- Add the tomatoes and sliced zucchini to a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with the rest of the kosher salt and black pepper and toss to coat.
- Bring a large heavy bottom skillet or cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the tomatoes and zucchini to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the zucchini just begins to soften and a few tomatoes start to burst. Give the veggies a stir and a flip as they cook. Transfer to a pan and cover to keep warm.
- Add the remaining olive oil and butter to the skillet to melt. Add the chicken cutlets and cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom side. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Dollop and spread a few tablespoons of the pesto onto the chicken breasts. You'll likely have extra so save for another use. Tear the fresh mozzarella into pieces and top each of the chicken breasts with the cheese. Add the reserved tomatoes and zucchini back into the skillet, nestling around the chicken. Set the heat to low and cover with a lid. Warm the dish until the mozzarella is melted. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and more black pepper if desired.
More Pesto Recipe Ideas
- Arugula Salad with Pesto Shrimp, Parmesan, and White Beans
- Pesto Pasta Salad with Peppers and Peas
- Easy Homemade Pesto Pasta Recipe
- Creamy Avocado and Pesto Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- Pesto Pizza with Balsamic Chicken and Peaches
This post is sponsored by DeLallo Foods. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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