Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken Recipe

Most of us probably know pesto through its most popular iteration: as a pasta sauce where fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil — and in some cases, lemon juice and parmesan cheese –  are blended to a paste. But in Liguria, where Italy's most luscious basil leaves can be found, pesto genovese is the finishing touch for a number of dishes that extend beyond pasta. It can be found as a dressing for a simple meal made up of green beans and potatoes and it's even called upon to dress up seafood dishes that are local to the region (via Saveur).

Catherine Brookes' recipe calls for pesto to be used as a marinade in a convenient, easy-to-prepare, one-pan meal made with skinless chicken breasts and an array of brightly-colored vegetables on a baking sheet pan. She makes no recommendations about the kind of pesto you might want to use for this; you may have a favorite brand which can easily be found in your local supermarket, or if you're lucky enough to know where fresh basil can be found, you can even consider making the pesto from scratch for this recipe. The sky's the limit with this gem of a condiment, and there is an Italian region that would agree.

Gather your ingredients

In order to make sheet pan pesto, you'll need skinless, boneless chicken breasts, three ounces (about a half jar) of store-bought or homemade pesto, eight ounces of plum tomatoes (about 16 small tomatoes), five ounces of green beans (about a heaping cup), a yellow bell pepper, and 18 ounces of baby or new potatoes (about 16 small potatoes). 

While the thought of using skinless, boneless chicken breasts may trigger the worry that you'll end up with bone-dry meat, fear not. If you have time to spare, you can brine the meat in a bowl of cold water with a couple tablespoons of salt dissolved in it for half an hour before cooking (stick the bowl in the fridge to keep the chicken temperature safe and low). 

Even without brining, though, the oil in the pesto is likely to keep the cut moist and flavorful. 

Start roasting the potatoes

Begin by preheating the oven to 410 F then tossing your baby potatoes in a bit of oil (extra-virgin olive oil would do nicely here) and salt. Once you've tossed the spuds in a mixing bowl, transfer them to a baking sheet, then pop into the prepared oven for 20 minutes.

If your grocery doesn't happen to have any baby or new potatoes handy, you can use chopped up red potatoes instead, because both varieties are thin-skinned and contain low quantities of starch. Fingerling potatoes, which are long and slender, are also thin-skinned and can work well as a stand-in for baby potatoes in this dish (via Fine Cooking).

Prepare your vegetable mix

While the potatoes are roasting in the oven, chop up the bell pepper, and snip both ends off the green beans. Put all the vegetables into the bowl you used earlier for the potatoes (saves you from having to wash up; there's no need for you to rinse it out first even), then add the tomatoes along with a little more of the oil you used earlier for your potatoes. Add salt and toss all the vegetables together with your hands, not too differently from the way you might toss a salad.

Layer the vegetables and chicken on the sheet pan

Once the potatoes have been in the oven for 20 minutes, add your chopped vegetables to the bottom of the baking pan, then lay the chicken breasts on top of that. Coat the top of each chicken breast with pesto, and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the breasts are cooked through. You might want to remove whatever juices you find at the bottom of the pan before serving this flavourful one-pan dish. It's delicious — like an un-thickened gravy — so you can serve it spoon it over the vegetables, save it for another use, or discard it. 

Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken Recipe
5 from 24 ratings
This convenient, easy-to-prepare, sheet pan pesto chicken recipe is made with skinless chicken breasts and brightly-colored vegetables on a single baking sheet.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
45
minutes
Servings
4
servings
Single Serving, sheetpan chicken pesto with vegetables on plate
Total time: 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 16 baby potatoes
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 16 small plum tomatoes
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ (6-ounce) jar pesto
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 410 F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss the potatoes in a little oil and salt.
  3. Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet and bake them for 20 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, chop the bell pepper and snip the ends off of the green beans.
  5. Add them to the mixing bowl that had the potatoes in it, then add the tomatoes and a little more oil and salt and mix everything together with your hands.
  6. After the potatoes have been cooking for 20 minutes, add the vegetables to the baking sheet.
  7. Top the vegetables with the four chicken breasts.
  8. Coat the top of each chicken breast in pesto.
  9. Return the sheet pan to the oven for another 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 781
Total Fat 34.4 g
Saturated Fat 6.5 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 113.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 73.0 g
Dietary Fiber 11.2 g
Total Sugars 8.4 g
Sodium 1,868.6 mg
Protein 46.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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