Quick and easy, Baked Pesto Chicken is the ultimate "win-win" dinner recipe! Ready in 30 minutes or less, this dish is flavor-packed and a recipe that you will want to add to your list of "go-to" healthy, and delicious main dishes.
4chicken breasts1/2 inch thick, boneless and skinless
7ouncesrefrigerated pestoor jarred
3-4Roma tomatoessmall, sliced
1.33cupsshredded mozzarella cheese
1/2teaspoonground black pepper
To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a rimmed baking sheet lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Place the chicken breasts on it and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
Top the chicken with about two heaping tablespoons of pesto and spread out evenly. Make sure all surface areas are covered.
Top the pesto with about 1/3 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese and spread out evenly.
Top each breast with 2 to 3 of the tomato slices and season the tomatoes with the remaining salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 18-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees.
I have listed a wide range in cooking times because of the wide range in the thickness of chicken breasts. If your breasts are thicker than one-half inch they will take longer to cook.I like to remove the chicken from the oven when the temperature reads around 160-162°F. The temperature will continue to climb to 165 degrees while resting. Chicken breasts are so large these days (mine were seven ounces each), I usually buy two for this recipe and then slice them in half horizontally. This yields four pieces that are about one half of an inch thick.If your breasts are thicker, you will need to pound them until they are the proper thickness. To do this, place one breast in a plastic storage bag and seal after removing as much air as possible. Then take a meat mallet or rolling pin and gently pound the meat until it is one-half inch thick. Repeat as needed with the rest of the breasts. When I have it I like to use my homemade basil pesto; refrigerated pesto is the next best thing, with jarred pesto coming in third. Jarred pesto still works and I have made this recipe with it plenty of times and it is still delicious. You can save on clean-up by lining your baking sheet with aluminum foil or a sheet of parchment paper before adding the chicken.If you are a fan of dark meat, swap out the chicken breasts with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. This recipe calls for Roma tomatoes and I think they work the best because they are not quite as juicy as other varieties. However, feel free to substitute whatever kind of tomatoes you have on hand, even cherry tomatoes work. Basil pesto is a versatile condiment and I usually always have a jar in my pantry. Try mixing it with pasta, adding it to mayonnaise to make basil pesto aioli or a homemade salad dressing, or use it instead of pizza sauce to top a homemade pizza. It's full of flavor and can be a lifesaver in the kitchen.Don't be shocked if you see a bunch of oil at the bottom of your pan after cooking the chicken. This is merely the olive oil from the pesto and won't hurt anything.