Easy Basil Pesto Chicken Bake Recipe

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If you want a quick and easy, homemade, nutritious dinner that your whole family will gobble up, then you will love this recipe. This basil pesto chicken bake recipe is one of my family’s all-time dinner favorites, and we have it as a regular on our weeknight meal rotation.

Using just a handful of ingredients, you can get this delicious meal on the table from start to finish in just over 30 minutes with minimal prep time. This makes it perfect for a busy weeknight when you need something to feed your family fast, and you will likely already have most of these ingredients on hand. I usually double the recipe for our family of 7 and to have leftovers on hand for lunch the next day.

When I have time, I love to make a homemade pesto sauce with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. It’s actually a lot easier to make than you might think, and you can jar up the extra to keep on hand and use throughout the week for topping on different dishes, like over pasta or spread on sandwiches. More often than not, I will use store bought pesto that works just as well and makes it a cinch to pull this recipe together.

All you need is to layer your ingredients on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven until the chicken is cooked through. If you’re anything like me, you likely have little helpers that are eager to offer their assistance in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Ways that kids can help might include:

  • Pouring the pesto sauce over the chicken

  • Wash and slice tomatoes with a kitchen safe knife

  • Layer mozzarella cheese

  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top

Side dishes to serve with this entree could include pasta, baked spaghetti squash, a greens or caesar salad, and a sliced baguette with butter. My kids love the spinach tortellini from Trader Joes with the pesto chicken, too. The possibilities are endless, and you can mix and match to include your family favorites and the dinner table.

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 large baking dish

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders

  • About ½ cup of homemade basil pesto (recipe below) OR 3.5 oz. container of store-bought pesto

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, washed and sliced

  • 8 oz. fresh Mozzarella cheese, evenly sliced (you can also used shredded mozzarella cheese instead)

  • Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning

  • 2 Tb. Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

  2. Add chicken tenders to your baking dish in a single layer.

  3. Spoon pesto evenly over chicken tenders in baking dish. Make sure all to cover all the chicken with pesto.

  4. Top pesto layer with an even layer of sliced Roma tomatoes

  5. Add mozzarella cheese over sliced tomatoes

  6. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning over entire dish

  7. Top with a final layer of parmesan cheese.

  8. Bake for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe

As mentioned earlier, it really is easy to make your own homemade basil pesto sauce, which works deliciously for this dish. You can also keep the extra on hand in your refrigerator to add a burst of flavor to other meals or store in your freezer to use later.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (about 3 ounces)

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

  • ⅓ cup pine nuts (you can sub almonds, walnuts, or pepitas, too)

  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

  • 1 Tb. fresh lemon juice

  • ½ tsp. Sea salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add basil leaves, cheese, garlic, nuts, and lemon juice to a food processor or blender and pulse until ingredients are mixed through.

  2. With the food processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Continue mixing until well combined, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix to combine. Use to top chicken in basil chicken bake recipe or store in an airtight container in refrigerator for about 5 days.

That’s all there is to it!

I hope these recipes makes it easier for you to gather with your family for a delicious meal around the dinner table.

Cheers to an easy and delicious family meal - Happy Eating, friends!