I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with pesto! The obsession is so real that I always have ingredients to make pesto at home, and I never run out of basil. Because the store-bought pesto just does not do it for me.
I came up with this recipe last year, when all I had was pesto and some chicken thighs with me. And I decided to bake the two and see what happens. It was such a happy discovery! One of the most loved chicken recipes by not just me, but also my friends and family. This baked chicken with pesto is a clear winner.
Baked Chicken With Pesto Ingredients
The number of ingredients for this baked chicken with pesto is minimal. First up is boneless chicken thighs. I like using chicken thighs for baking as they remain succulent and juicy even after being exposed to a lot of heat (as opposed to chicken breast). Chicken things are also easier to cook and cheaper than chicken breast. So there is really no reason to not use it. The layering of the pesto sauce on the boneless chicken thighs gives way to juicy bites, that oozes out the pesto sauce with every bite. It’s divine!
For the chicken, make sure you clean it very well. The next step is to ensure that you dry it up. There should not be any water content in the chicken pieces before you marinate them, because baking will release it all and you will not get the desired results. So make sure you dab off every drop of excess water from the chicken pieces before you marinate or bake them.
Making the pesto sauce from scratch
For the pesto sauce, I have used Italian basil leaves. They are very easily available and grow abundantly on the Indian soil. I grow them myself and they are one of the best herbs in my opinion. Wash and dry the leaves well for the sauce. The traditional pesto sauce is made with pine nuts but I usually make mine using walnuts because they are cheaper and more abundant here. For the olive oil, make sure you use good quality extra virgin olive oil for the best taste.
Make sure you lightly toast the walnuts before you add them to the grinder. This adds a certain level of smokiness to the pesto and also prevents the walnuts from adding a bitter taste. It’s fine if you want to use a mortar or pestle to make your sauce as well. The pesto sauce need not be very fine in texture, and can have some leaves here and there. That’s how it is supposed to be. This is all you need to make this one of the most loved chicken recipes.
Why this recipe?
- Delicious and fuss free.
- Minimal ingredients
- Healthy and protein-rich
- Perfect for salads, pastas or even wraps/sandwiches
- Easy assembling
- The oven does most of the job
How to make baked chicken with pesto
This baked chicken with pesto is extremely easy to make! Just follow the few techniques mentioned above to get it absolutely spot on every single time.