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Grilled Pesto Chicken with Fresh Tomato Pasta

This Easy Grilled Pesto Chicken with Fresh Tomato Pasta is a simple and delicious dinner idea. Fresh and flavourful.

If you’re looking for a fresh, flavourful and easy dish for dinner, this Pesto Chicken is a great option! This juicy grilled chicken is paired with a plate full of pesto pasta with fresh tomatoes and bocconcini cheese. So good. This recipe includes homemade and short-cut tips for pesto!

a bowl of pesto chicken with pasta and fresh tomatoes

About this pesto chicken recipe:

Basil + chicken + barbecue = delicious. This recipe is especially delicious if you use all your fresh garden basil, and make a batch of pesto – the flavour from homemade pesto is unreal! The chicken in this recipe is flavourful with tastes of delicious basil and garlic. And the pasta with fresh tomatoes and bocconcini cheese carries the same pesto flavour, making a delicious combination!

a top down image of a bowl of pesto chicken with pasta and fresh tomatoes

Marinade the chicken with pesto sauce:

By adding the pesto sauce before grilling and letting the chicken marinade in the pesto, it has a chance to infuse the chicken with flavour, and it also makes it so moist and flavourful! Let the chicken marinade for at least 1 hour, or even overnight.

a bowl of pesto chicken with pasta and fresh tomatoes

Serving this dish:

After the chicken is grilled, I like to slice it first then add/drizzle a little extra pesto over the top of the chicken breast right before serving. Also, when you’re ready to serve the chicken and pasta, you can set out some parmesan cheese, more fresh basil, pine nuts and extra pesto to garnish individual dishes. I know in our family, we each like to add extras to our plates.

a close up of a bowl of pesto chicken with pasta and fresh tomatoes

The leftovers are delicious!

As an added bonus, the leftovers make a great lunch! Add any leftover chicken and toss it with the pasta and you have lunch the next day. If you have extra pesto, stir a little more in. You can heat up the leftovers, or serve them cold like a pasta salad.

Pesto Tip:

For this recipe you can use a homemade pesto like my Basil Pesto Recipe in this post. If you want a delicious and SUPER easy pesto shortcut, use a pre-made pesto. We love the jar of pesto from Costco (Kirkland brand), and honestly, this is what I use most of the time.

a bowl of pesto chicken with pasta and fresh tomatoes

Pesto Chicken Recipe Tips:

  • Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breast. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chicken cutlets, filets or even turkey filets.
  • Pesto: You can make homemade pesto or use your favourite pre-made pesto.
  • Tomatoes: I like to use cherry tomatoes because they’re so flavourful and hold their shape well when sliced. But you can use any type of tomato.
  • Pasta: Use 1 lb of your favourite dried pasta. We love spaghetti noodles! But you can use penne, fusilli, fettuccini…you could even use zucchini noodles (zoodles)!
  • Cheese: I like to use small balls of bocconcini cheese. But you can also use bite sized squares of mozzarella cheese.
  • Extra Seasoning: Pesto is quite salty, so I don’t add extra salt. If you like fresh ground black pepper, add a few grinds to the finished dish.
  • Marinating Tip: For maximum flavour let the chicken marinate in the pesto for at least 1 hour, or even overnight. I like to put the chicken with the pesto into a ziplock bag, this makes it easy to mix and massage.
  • Make Ahead: This chicken can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead of time. Mix the chicken with the pesto, then cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Then remove and bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes before you barbecue.
  • Extras: You can offer parmesan cheese, more fresh basil, pine nuts and extra pesto to garnish individual dishes.
  • Leftovers: Store any leftover in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Meal Prep Tip! Double the recipe and serve the leftovers as pasta salad the next day!
a bowl of pesto chicken with pasta and fresh tomatoes
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Pesto Chicken with Fresh Tomato Pasta

a bowl of pesto chicken with pasta and fresh tomatoes

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This Easy Grilled Pesto Chicken with Fresh Tomato Pasta is a simple and delicious dinner idea. Fresh and flavourful.

  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Marinating Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Barbecue

Ingredients

Units Scale

Homemade Pesto (makes about 1 cup):

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • a few grinds of fresh ground pepper

Pesto Chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto sauce (see tips)

Fresh Tomato Pasta:

  • 1 lb of your favourite pasta (dried pasta)
  • 2 cups fresh grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 (200 g) container mini bocconcini cheese
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Instructions

Homemade Pesto:

  1. Using a food processor, blend together the basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese and pepper until it is a rough paste.
  2. Then while the processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil (through the tube at the top), until combined. The pesto should be a semi-thick paste.
  3. If the pesto is too dry, just add more olive oil.

Pesto Chicken:

  1. Combine 1/2 cup pesto with the chicken breasts, making sure to mix and massage well. You can even poke the chicken with a fork so the pesto gets inside. If you feel like there’s not enough pesto, add more.
  2. Let the chicken marinate in the pesto for at least 1 hour for maximum flavour (the longer you leave it, the more flavourful the chicken will be). You can even let it rest in the fridge overnight (just cover and store – see tips).

Grilling the chicken:

  1. When you’re ready to grill, on a medium-high heat grill, add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and grill for another 5 minutes. Turn again and finish on the grill for another 5 – 7 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside (the internal temperature should be 165 degrees F).

Making the Fresh Tomato Pasta:

  1. While the chicken is grilling, you can start the pasta.
  2. In a large pot of heavily salted water, boil the pasta according to package directions, until it is tender.
  3. Drain well and toss the pasta with the pesto.
  4. Then add the tomatoes, bocconcini cheese and fresh basil.
  5. Season with fresh ground pepper.
  6. Serve with the grilled pesto chicken and enjoy!
  7. Tip: On your table, you can offer parmesan cheese, more fresh basil and extra pesto to add to individual plates if that’s what everyone likes!

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Have a delicious day!

Pesto Grilled Chicken with Fresh Tomato Pasta {A Pretty Life}

Please note this post was originally published in 2014. I have since updated it with new images and helpful recipe tips!

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