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 pour of rain.

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

As a matter of fact, join me on January 14th, 2021 for a live cooking session right on the Perdue Farms Facebook page!

Yield: 6-8

Grilled Pesto Chicken

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.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Inactive Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 4-6 chicken breast (boneless & skinless)
  • 2 fistfuls or 0.5 0z fresh basil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 large lemon (juice of 1/2 a lemon + reserve the other half for grilled lemon garnish)


  • 4 Roma tomatoes (chopped)
  • fresh basil 
  • grilled lemon



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry.
  3. Place torn basil, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil inside the food processor.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Smear over both sides of chicken and let marinate for 2 hours.
  6. Preheat a grill pan to medium heat.
  7. Prepare the pan with melted ghee.
  8. Grill chicken about 3-5 minutes per side.
  9. Try not to move the chicken until you are absolutely sure that the grill lines are set and then flip over.
  10. Brush the grill pan with additional ghee between batches of chicken to avoid sticking.
  11. Remove the chicken, and grill the other half of the lemon in the same pan. This step takes about 3-5 minutes.
  12. Place chicken in a flat aluminum sheet pan and finish cooking in the oven for about 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer placed in the center registers 165°F.
  13. Top chicken with fresh chopped Roma tomatoes, fresh basil and grilled lemon.


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

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

Oh, and just for fun, take a look at these before and after pictures of my pesto chicken. I guess my food photography has improved. Talk about a makeover!

Original 8/29/12
Updates 7/2/19 + 1/12/21

  • 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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