Tara Riedel: Grilled Chicken with Pesto and Basil (Recipe)

Tara Riedel: Grilled Chicken with Pesto and Basil (Recipe)

One of my favorite dishes to eat in the winter is Chicken Parmesan. I appreciate the warm comfort that a dinner table brings. I missed this dish so much but I felt it was a bit heavy on these hot summer days. So, I created a new version of Chicken Parmesan with Pesto.

Roasted chicken with basil pesto should be on your dinner menu this week. It’s grilling season, so we’ll be making grilled chicken instead of pan-frying chicken. This reduces the calories and heaviness of traditional chicken parmesan.

First, we’ll season the chicken breasts with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and lemon pepper seasoning. Do this first and set aside or marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator for best flavor. You can use your favorite chicken seasoning for this part. I enjoy lemon seasoning because it goes great with pesto.

Pesto is a bright green, herbaceous sauce that originates from Italy. It is made from pine. You can get it from Trader Joe’s. Pesto is the star of the show here, so if we’re going to fail at anything in life, we’re not going to fail at making this pesto.

If any of you know me, you know that I am a real estate agent, farmer’s market vendor, and single mom. Sometimes (all the time), I’m tired, and I opt to buy pesto.

No harm done. Don’t stress yourself and go check out the different options from your nearest grocery store. Life is short…it’s okay to buy pesto and not make it from scratch. If you are a high achiever in life, please check out the pesto recipe below.

Pesto ingredients (makes 1-1/2 cups pesto)

2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

2 large garlic cloves

1/4 cup lemon juice (2 small lemons)

Salt 1/2 teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Zest of 1 lemon


Place all these ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. That’s it. I made pesto. Congratulations!

Dinner ingredients


Chicken breast


Your favorite cheese to melt on the chicken


Now it’s time to fire up that grill. While the grill is heating up, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients for dinner. Take your tomatoes and cut them into cubes for topping. Prepare the cheese to put it on the chicken until it melts.

Grill the chicken on both sides. When the chicken is cooked, you can add the cheese. After the chicken is cooked, we remove it from the grill and place it in a serving dish. Top with pesto and fresh chopped tomatoes. Dinner is served.

Pesto is a great sauce for many things. You can use this recipe to make a sauce for some summer pasta, pizza sauce, and salad dressing.

Tara Riddle is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Select. She also works at the Carson City or Black Rock Bison Farmers Market.

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