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Grilled Chicken Skewers
with roasted red pepper and eggplant pesto pasta

Active: 30 Total: 50
If you or anyone in your household prefers vegetables "hidden" this meal is for you. The pesto for this flavorful pasta salad is packed with veggies, but they are blended into a smooth rich sauce. If you made the pesto earlier in the week, this meal should be a breeze to prepare.
Smarts: If you're short on time, feel free to skip the skewers for the chicken and just cook it on the stovetop or slice it into strips to place directly on the grill.
Cooking methods: This recipe includes instructions for using the grill or stovetop. Select your preferred method.
Tags

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Walnut Pesto:
  • Bell peppers, red - 1
  • Eggplants, Chinese or Japanese - 3/4 lbs (sub Italian eggplant)
  • Garlic - 1 clove
  • Walnuts - 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice - 2 tsp
Chicken Skewers:
  • Garlic - 1 clove, chopped
  • Brown sugar - 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce, low-sodium - 2 Tbsp
  • Vinegar, apple cider - 2 Tbsp (sub balsamic vinegar)
  • Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
  • Chicken breast, boneless and skinless - 1 lb, cubed
  • Skewers, metal or bamboo - 12
Pesto Pasta:
  • Pasta, any fun shape - 8 oz
  • Basil - 8 leaves, chopped
  • Eggplant and Red Pepper Pesto (ingredients listed separately) - ~1 cup

Nutrition Facts

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Choose Cooking Method

Prep

  1. Pasta - Boil pasta according to package directions. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Garlic (portion for chicken) - Chop garlic. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Marinate chicken - Whisk together garlic (portion for chicken), sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and cooking oil. Slice chicken into cubes. Be sure that the cubes will fit onto your skewers. If you don’t have skewers, you can also just slice the chicken into long thick strips to place directly on the grill. Combine chicken with marinade and tenderize with a fork. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to a day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  4. Roast vegetables - (Skip if roasted ahead for Tuesday.) Fire up the grill or turn on the oven’s broiler. Core stem out of peppers. Pierce eggplants all over with a fork. Brush peppers and eggplants with some cooking oil. Place over direct heat on the grill or broil on a sheet pan for 6 minutes each side. When peppers are charred and eggplants are soft, place them in a mixing bowl and cover with a plate to help steam off skins. When cool enough to handle, scrape flesh out of eggplants and peel skins off of red peppers. (Discard skins.) This video shows you how to roast peppers. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  5. Make pesto - (Skip if made ahead for Tuesday.) Combine flesh of eggplants, peppers, garlic (portion for pesto), and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is combined and smooth. Finish with lemon juice and season to taste with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  6. Skewers - If using wooden / bamboo skewers, soak in water for 10 minutes.
  7. Assemble skewers - Thread chicken onto skewers. (Using two skewers together can make it easier to flip the skewers as they cook.) (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  8. Basil - Chop basil.

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Make

  1. Season chicken skewers with some salt and pepper.
  2. Heat grill to 400F / 204C, keeping one part of the grill with direct heat and one part with indirect heat. Clean grates and brush with some cooking oil.
  3. Add chicken skewers to direct heat on the grill and turn to sear on all sides. Move to indirect heat and close the lid. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes total. (Note: Remove a piece of chicken and check it for doneness if unsure.)
  4. If pasta was made ahead, reheat it in the microwave. Combine with pesto. Season with some salt and pepper. Top with fresh basil.
  5. Serve chicken skewers with pasta on the side. Enjoy!

Prep

  1. Pasta - Boil pasta according to package directions. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Garlic (portion for chicken) - Chop garlic. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Marinate chicken - Whisk together garlic (portion for chicken), sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and cooking oil. Slice chicken into cubes. If using skewers, be sure that the chicken pieces are the right size to fit on the skewers. (You can also just skip the skewers and saute the chicken in a skillet.) Combine chicken with marinade and tenderize with a fork. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to a day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  4. Roast vegetables - (Skip if roasted ahead for Tuesday.) Fire up the grill or turn on the oven’s broiler. Core stem out of peppers. Pierce eggplants all over with a fork. Brush peppers and eggplants with some cooking oil. Place over direct heat on the grill or broil on a sheet pan for 6 minutes each side. When peppers are charred and eggplants are soft, place them in a mixing bowl and cover with a plate to help steam off skins. When cool enough to handle, scrape flesh out of eggplants and peel skins off of red peppers. (Discard skins.) This video shows you how to roast peppers. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  5. Make pesto - (Skip if made ahead for Tuesday.) Combine flesh of eggplants, peppers, garlic (portion for pesto), and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is combined and smooth. Finish with lemon juice and season to taste with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  6. Assemble skewers - Thread chicken onto skewers. (Using two skewers together can make it easier to flip the skewers as they cook.) (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  7. Basil - Chop basil.

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Make

  1. Season chicken skewers with some salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a grill pan over medium heat (if you aren’t using skewers, just heat a wok or skillet to saute the chicken). Brush pan with some oil. Add chicken skewers to heated grill pan and turn to sear on all sides until chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total. (Note: Covering the skewers with a lid or foil as they cook can help speed the process along and help the chicken to cook evenly.)
  3. If pasta was made ahead, reheat it in the microwave. Combine with pesto. Season with some salt and pepper. Top with fresh basil.
  4. Serve chicken skewers with pasta on the side. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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Increase your nutrition smarts


Reviews

Ratings

Original (23)
No ratings yet.
Gluten-free (0)
Paleo (2)
Vegetarian (6)

Most Helpful

Chicken was delicious. I added pasta water to my pesto until it was more sauce. Lots of salt added to this one, and then it was yummy!

By: Carrie
Posted: Jul 25, 2021
Diet: Original
1 Helpful

21 reviews

This review is made with the context that I changed it quite a bit. The store did not have halloumi so I bought some vegan sausages instead. I didn't make kabobs but rather grilled the sausages whole and sliced the mushrooms and sautéed them separately. I then sliced the sausages and threw them into the finished pasta along with the mushrooms. I also added a little bit of milk to the eggplant pasta sauce which cut some of the bitterness.

By: Julie
Posted: Oct 03, 2021
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

Wish I would have seen that I needed to marinade the chicken ahead of time. So, that part really didn't turn out.

By: Laura
Posted: Sep 09, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Delicious, made the pesto ahead and didn't bother to skewer the chicken. The pasta was great and chicken was great, they were kind of an odd flavor pairing but it worked out in the end.

By: Kayla
Posted: Aug 18, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Made the zucchini noodles with just regular basil pesto from the store, which was very good. Didn't think the chicken was amazing, but we just sauteed it so maybe the grill would be better. Also added corn on the cob on the side.

By: Elissa
Posted: Aug 03, 2021
Diet: Paleo
0 Helpful

Overall I really liked this. It was a lot of work for a weeknight, but not as much as I expected based on reviews. The chicken flavor was great. I liked the pesto too, though it needed quite a bit of salt. I’ll make this again - it was tasty and reheated well - but I think I’ll try more red pepper in the pesto next time.

By: Melissa
Posted: Jul 29, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

To much work in my opinion. I also feel like I dirtied every dish imaginable making this in the stovetop.

By: Becky
Posted: Jul 28, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful