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Pesto Chicken Parmesan Recipe

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Pesto Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Pesto Chicken Parmesan is a delightful twist on the classic Chicken Parmesan, combining the aromatic flavors of basil pesto with the savory taste of Parmesan cheese. This dish is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, offering a burst of flavor in every bite. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making this delicious recipe from scratch.

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1. Introduction to Pesto Chicken Parmesan

Pesto Chicken Parmesan is a fusion of two beloved Italian dishes: Chicken Parmesan and Pesto Pasta. By incorporating the fresh, vibrant flavors of basil pesto into the traditional Chicken Parmesan, this recipe creates a mouthwatering meal that is both satisfying and easy to prepare. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe will impress your family and friends.

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2. Ingredients Needed

To prepare Pesto Chicken Parmesan, you will need the following ingredients:

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Chicken Breasts

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Pesto Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (for coating)

Other Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

3. Preparing the Chicken

Flattening the Chicken Breasts

Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound the chicken to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. This ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and absorbs the flavors of the pesto and Parmesan.

Seasoning the Chicken

Season the flattened chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. This simple step enhances the overall flavor of the dish.

4. Making the Pesto Sauce

Traditional Basil Pesto Recipe

In a food processor, combine the fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse the ingredients until they are finely chopped. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Store-Bought Alternatives

If you’re short on time, you can use store-bought pesto sauce. Look for a high-quality brand with fresh ingredients for the best flavor.

5. Assembling the Dish

Coating the Chicken with Pesto

Brush each seasoned chicken breast generously with the prepared pesto sauce, ensuring an even coating on both sides. The pesto adds a rich, herby flavor that pairs perfectly with the chicken.

Adding Parmesan Cheese

In a shallow dish, combine the panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Dip each pesto-coated chicken breast into the beaten eggs, then dredge it in the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

6. Baking the Pesto Chicken Parmesan

Preheating the Oven

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it to prevent the chicken from sticking.

Baking Instructions

Place the coated chicken breasts on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the melted butter over the top of each piece to help them brown and crisp in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is golden and crispy. An instant-read thermometer should read 165°F (74°C) when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.

7. Serving Suggestions

Pairing with Pasta

Serve the Pesto Chicken Parmesan over a bed of al dente pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, tossed with a light olive oil and garlic sauce. This combination makes for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Adding Vegetables

Complement the dish with a side of roasted vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or bell peppers. A fresh green salad with a lemon vinaigrette also pairs beautifully with the rich flavors of the chicken.

8. Variations and Customizations

Different Pesto Variations

Experiment with different types of pesto, such as sun-dried tomato pesto or arugula pesto, for a unique twist on the classic recipe. Each variation brings its own distinct flavor to the dish.

Alternative Cheeses

While Parmesan is traditional, you can also use other cheeses like Pecorino Romano, Asiago, or even a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan for a gooey, melty finish.

Gluten-Free Options

To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and flour. Ensure that all other ingredients, including the pesto, are also gluten-free.

9. Tips for Success

Ensuring Crispy Parmesan Crust

To achieve a perfectly crispy crust, make sure to press the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture firmly onto the chicken. Drizzling melted butter over the top before baking also helps in achieving a golden-brown finish.

Preventing Dry Chicken

Avoid overcooking the chicken to keep it moist and tender. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness, and let the chicken rest for a few minutes after baking to retain its juices.

10. Health Benefits of Ingredients Used

This recipe includes several nutritious ingredients. Basil is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Parmesan cheese provides calcium and protein, while chicken is an excellent source of lean protein. Olive oil adds healthy monounsaturated fats, and garlic offers immune-boosting properties.

11. Conclusion

Pesto Chicken Parmesan is a delicious and versatile dish that brings together the best of Italian cuisine. The combination of basil pesto and Parmesan cheese creates a flavorful and satisfying meal that is sure to become a family favorite. Follow the steps and tips provided in this article to create a perfect Pesto Chicken Parmesan and enjoy it with your loved ones.

12. FAQs

1. Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts? Yes, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Adjust the cooking time as needed, as thighs may take slightly longer to cook through.

2. How can I make the dish ahead of time? You can prepare the pesto and bread the chicken in advance. Store the breaded chicken in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.

3. Can I freeze Pesto Chicken Parmesan? Yes, you can freeze the breaded and unbaked chicken. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. Bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

4. What can I use instead of pine nuts in the pesto? You can substitute pine nuts with walnuts, almonds, or cashews for a different flavor profile in the pesto.

5. How do I store and reheat leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through to maintain the crispy texture.

Source: amandacooksandstyles.com

Yield: 4

Pesto Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Pesto Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Pesto Chicken Parmesan is a delightful twist on the classic Chicken Parmesan, combining the aromatic flavors of basil pesto with the savory taste of Parmesan cheese. This dish is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, offering a burst of flavor in every bite. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making this delicious recipe from scratch.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
  • ¾ cup Breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Basil
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ⅓ cup Pesto Sauce
  • ¼ cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes see notes
  • 4 slices Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter


  • Butterfly chicken breasts by cutting them in half (like opening a book).

  • In a small bowl combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and basil.

  • Press chicken into the bread crumb mixture on each side to fully coat.

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter and oil. Once the skillet is nice and hot, add the chicken and let cook for about 3-4 minutes until golden on bottom.

  • Flip chicken over and cook another 3-4 minutes until bottom is golden and chicken is cooked through (juices should run clear and temperature is at least 165 degrees).

  • Turn heat down low. Evenly spread pesto on top of each piece of chicken. Cover with one slice of mozzarella cheese and sprinkle sun-dried tomatoes on top. Cover and allow cheese to melt.

  • Serve pesto chicken with cooked pasta, a fresh salad or your favorite side dishes. Enjoy!

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