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Basil Pesto Chicken Breast
with pesto pasta salad

Active: 35 min Total: 35 min
Basil pesto gives simple grilled chicken breasts and pasta salad a boost in summer flavor. Feel free to experiment with your pesto flavor by using different nuts and varying the amounts of cheese you use.


Grilled Chicken Breast with Basil Pesto:
  • Chicken breasts - 4 , halved
  • Cooking oil - 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Basil pesto sauce - ingredients listed separately
Basil Pesto Sauce:
  • Pine nuts - 1/2 cup
  • Basil, loosely packed - 4 cups
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , peeled
  • Parmesan - 2 Tbsp ((Plus more for serving))
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Olive oil - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  • Lemon - 1
Italian Pasta Salad with Mozzarella & Tomatoes:
  • Cherry tomatoes - 1 pint , halved
  • Fresh mozzarella - 1/2 lb , cubed
  • Fusilli (or other fun-shaped pasta) - 1/2 lb
  • Basil pesto sauce - ingredients listed separately
  • Lemon - 1/2 , juice of


  1. Chicken - Halve and then season & tenderize with salt & pepper. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
  2. Make pesto - Pulse pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic, parmesan, and salt in a food processor. Drizzle in olive oil until you get a sauce-like consistency. Squeeze in juice of 1/2 a lemon and season to taste with salt & pepper. (Can be done ahead of time and frozen up to 6 mos.)
  3. Tomatoes / Mozzarella - Prep as directed.

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  1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Salt heavily (that water should taste like the ocean!) and add pasta. Cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (118ml) of the salted pasta water.
  2. Toss pasta with reserved pasta water and enough pesto to coat (use remainder for protein). Next add in tomatoes, mozzarella, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Chicken - Grill pan directions: Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan with cooking oil, and then add chicken pieces. Sear on both sides for 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium, cover with foil, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until chicken reaches 165F (74C) degrees.
  4. Chicken - Grill directions: Preheat grill to 400F (163C) degrees, keeping one part on higher heat and another part on lower heat. Clean & oil grates and add chicken pieces to higher heat part. Sear on both sides for 2 to 3 minutes and then move to lower heat. Cook until 165F (74C) degrees, about another 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Reserve half of chicken for tomorrow night's dinner or a future meal (can freeze for up to 6 mos.) and enjoy tonight's portion with pesto sauce and pasta salad.



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