Pesto Chicken with Caprese Salad
Pesto Chicken with Caprese Salad is filled with all of summer’s fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, this pesto-marinated chicken is perfect!
Cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese are tossed with a bright, acidic dressing. Then, spooned over pesto-marinated chicken.
This super easy take on Caprese chicken will quickly become one of your favorite things to serve in the hot summer months (and maybe all the way through winter!).
The classic Caprese recipe with layers of tomato slices, slices of mozzarella, and a basic drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper are delightful on their own. Mimicking the colors of the Italian flag, the classic Caprese salad is the perfect way to enjoy summer’s fresh ingredients!
But, adding in boneless chicken breasts coated in a delicious pesto marinade takes the ordinary salad and turns it into an easy chicken dinner idea!
We all need easy dinner ideas, and often we find them on social media. TikTok is quickly becoming a go-to resource for easy recipe ideas. Do you use it to search for easy chicken recipes or another great option for fresh flavor??
Pesto Chicken with Caprese Salad
First, start by gathering your ingredients:
- Skinless Chicken Breasts – feel free to use chicken thighs if that suits your fancy
- Creamy Mozzarella Balls – I like the “bocconcini” the baby ones
- Grape Tomatoes
- Fresh garlic
- Balsamic Vinegar & Red Wine Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Pesto – either a homemade pesto or your favorite store brand will do just fine!
Of course, you can make your own homemade basil pesto using a food processor. Add some garlic, pine nuts, and salt to the machine and blitz until pulverized. Add in your fresh basil, and stream in some olive oil while the food processor (or blender!) is running. Stir in some parmesan cheese or romano cheese, and enjoy anytime. Keep in the fridge with a pool of oil on top to keep it from oxidizing.
Next, let’s make the chicken
You’ll start by taking your pesto and creating a marinade with some olive and a good glug of balsamic vinegar. Let your chicken marinade for up to 24 hours in this, then remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook.
You can either grill the chicken or bake it.
If you’re baking your chicken, you can do so on a half-sheet pan at 425˚ for about 15 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.
Whether grilling or baking be sure to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees f.
Juicy chicken can be achieved in the oven when you follow some simple tips!
- Season your chicken well. I like to use either a marinade or a store-bought seasoning blend.
- Bake at 425˚ – a higher temperature than you might be used to for chicken recipes.
- Use an oven-safe meat thermometer (like the Meater!), and keep close tabs on the temperature. Once it reached 160˚, you can remove it from the oven. The carry-over cooking will happen while it rests.
- Let it rest at least 5-10 minutes before cutting into it!
It doesn’t hurt to give the baked chicken an extra drizzle of olive oil or melted butter to help enhance the juiciness!
If you’re into meal-prepping chicken, this is a great way to feed the whole family during a busy week.
Just store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Now, let’s make the tomato salad.
Y’all! This tomato salad is so so good! You can make it at the beginning of the week and eat it on all kinds of things throughout the week.
Dice up 1-2 shallots, depending on how large the shallots are and how much tomato salad you are making. You want at least a couple of tablespoons of the onions in the bottom of your bowl.
Drizzle in some red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. This will help mellow the onions, and take away their harsh bite while you dice the tomatoes.
Slice up cherry or grape tomatoes, actually, any tomato will do! I like to slice mine all in different ways. Some into quarters, some in half, etc. Gives a variety of tomato textures to the salad.
Add your tomatoes on top of the shallots.
Next, you’ll grate a garlic clove or two on top. The microplane is the best tool to use when you want to disperse fresh garlic throughout your dish finely! it just melts into everything.
Pro Tip: As garlic sits the spice level goes up, If you are worried that the garlic “bite” will be too much, just slice the garlic clove in half, and plop it into the salad. When you mix it all around it will give off its garlicky flavor without the harsh bite.
Drizzle in some balsamic vinegar and little olive oil.
Tear in as many fresh basil leaves as you like. I like each bite to have a little piece of basil, so I add in a lot!
Give your tomato salad a really good mix so everything is coated in garlic, shallots, vinegar, and oil. Add in a sprinkle of salt and black pepper here, too!
Now, if you want to be really fancy, pour in a container of drained baby mozzarella balls. Let them marinate with the tomatoes, before adding to your chicken!
Assembling the Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad
On a large platter, lay out your delicious chicken. (You can also use cold chicken if you’re a big fan of cold salad dinners!)
Spoon the Tomato Mozzarella salad on top of the chicken.
Bring the whole dish to the dinner table, and serve this full meal with a drizzle of balsamic glaze!
This is the easiest meal for a summer’s night dinner. It’s all in one if you want it to be.
But, you could also serve it with big hunks of garlic bread to soak up all the pesto dressing!
Pesto Chicken with Caprese Salad
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: main dish
- Method: oven-baked
- Cuisine: italian
- 2–4 Chicken Cutlets (Thin Sliced Chicken Breast)
- 2 TBS Pesto
- 2 TBS Olive Oil
- 1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 pounds ripe, cherry tomatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced (I use a microplane, and grate the garlic cloves)
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons torn basil leaves
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 ounces Baby Mozzarella Balls (Boconccini)
- Balsamic Glaze
- Extra fresh basil leaves
- Blend the pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar together in an airtight container. Add in your chicken, and turn to coat each piece. Allow to marinate for up to 8 hours.
- Bake your chicken at 425˚ for 20 minutes, or until and internal temperature reaches 165˚.
- Mix all of the tomato salad ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and store in the fridge. You can make this salad up to 3 days ahead of time.
- Add in the drained baby mozzarella balls 30 minutes before serving.
ASSEMBLING THE SALAD
- To large platter, add your cooked chicken breast, then spoon the tomato mozzarella salad on top. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and extra basil!
Keywords: Pesto Chicken with Caprese Salad