Grilled Pesto Chicken

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I love the fact that I can pick fresh herbs from my garden and use them as dinner time inspiration.  That was the primary inspiration for this Grilled Chicken Pesto Recipe.  Not because I wanted chicken. Not because I even wanted pesto.  It’s because, I needed to use up some of the basil that was growing so quickly after the recent down our of summer rains.

And if you’re reading this right now and wondering if you really another chicken recipe, I’m going to stop you right there and let you know, “Yes, absolutely you do”.

This is not just any chicken recipe. This is chicken wrapped in fresh flavor with a few simple ingredients. Chicken, salt, pepper, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, lemons and basil.

Those are the kind of ingredients that you don’t need a label for. Honestly, simple ingredients make the best recipes. Instead of traditional pine nuts, I used walnuts in this recipe.

If you’re going to make a healthy chicken recipe, might as well go all the way. Walnuts are loaded with omega 3-s and have been shown to decrease inflammation, help with weight control and even decrease the occurrence of some cancers.

So if you needed a reason to pay a little extra and swap your peanuts for walnuts, there you go.
The key to cooking the pesto chicken or chicken pesto just right is using the right kind of pan. Of course, you can also use an outdoor grill.

I like how the cast iron grill gives the perfect grill lines every single time. Serve the grilled pesto chicken on top of fresh greens, along grilled vegetables, as part of a gf sandwich or as part of a Greek salad.

I’ve even served this healthy chicken recipe right along some simple shirataki noodles.

This is the perfect option for a guilt-free chicken dinner.



Grilled Pesto Chicken

A simple easy recipe for pesto chicken using healthy healthy walnuts and fresh plum tomatoes. This healthy chicken dinner is going to be your new favorite.

  • Author: Lisa Leslie-Williams
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Cuisine: American


46 chicken breast (boneless & skinless)

2 fistfuls fresh basil

4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup olive oil

4 plum tomatoes

1 tsp salt

fresh cracked pepper to taste

1 lemon (juice of 1/2, reserve other half)

*vegetable oil for brushing cast iron pan

4 chopped roma tomatoes for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry.

Place basil, walnuts, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil inside the food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Smear over the chicken and let marinate for 1 hour.

Preheat iron grill to medium heat.

Brush with vegetable or other oil of choice.

Grill chicken about 5-6 minutes per side.

Try not to move the chicken until you are absolutely sure that the grill lines are set and then flip over.

Brush the pan with more vegetable oil between batches of chicken to avoid sticking.

Remove the chicken and grill the other half of lemon in the same pan. This step takes about 3-5 minutes.

Place chicken in a flat aluminum sheet pan and finish cooking in oven for about 10 minutes or until the center of the chicken is no longer pink.

Top chicken with fresh chopped roma tomatoes and garnish with grilled lemon.


This recipe requires 1 hour marinating on the chicken. Don’t skip this step.

Keywords: chicken pesto, pesto chicken, healthy chicken recipe

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Oh and just for fun, take a look at these before and after pictures of the pesto chicken. Talk about a makeover!

Original 8/29/12
Republished 7/2/19

  • Comments ( 3 )

  • avatar
    Kelly @ Semi Homemade Mom

    I love how you used walnuts, I use sunflower seeds in my pesto and it still tastes great! Pine nuts can be so expensive. I just started a new link party, Show and Share Wednesday, if you’d like to link this up:

    • avatar
      Lisa -The Domestic Life Stylist

      Hey Kelly,

      It sure does taste great. Almonds are good too. The lemons add a little bit of a pop. I’ll stop by and give you a visit.

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