I'm in love with this bright and fresh basil pesto marinade. It has a generous hit of garlic, red pepper flakes, and fresh lemon to create a zesty chimichurri-like combination. I scoop it on top of pretty much everything - grilled pesto chicken, seafood or fish, tofu, beef, and veggies! You name it!
What's on that plate?
I often get asked the question, "what did you serve with that chicken"? I have an Arugula or Rocket salad green there on the right. It's dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and some parmesan. Then, on the left, I have Orzo, which is rice-shaped pasta. I love Orzo. It's ideal for salads and sides. I dressed it with a bit of melted butter, sliced green onions, salt, and pepper.
The pesto part of this pesto and lemon grilled chicken:
This recipe is perfect for using that last few tablespoons of jarred pesto you have in the back of your refrigerator. I'm sure I have at least a few knocking around back there. Or you can make your own pesto in about 5 minutes and use part of it for this grilled chicken dish and the rest of it for pasta, pizza sauce, garlic bread, or roasted veggies.
Video! (and recipe card down below)
Are you going to grow your own basil this year?
If you’d like to learn how to prune your basil to double the growth all season long - then click here for our easy step-by-step tutorial. Chris teaches you exactly where to snip the stalks to double, triple, quadruple the growth.
We grow a just a few basil plants. Do you think we go overboard? You be the judge:
It's crazy! But it's great for basil pesto chicken.
The basil goes bonkers if you prune it right. We're always asked about where to buy the seeds. We usually go with a few trusted companies I'll link below:
Looking for a great pie to serve with this dish? You might like: Easy Key Lime Pie - Perfectly Tart and Sweet.
Pesto and Lemon Grilled Chicken
- 4 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic or to taste
- 2 large lemons fully zested (about 2 ½ tablespoons), then squeezed (about ½ cup juice )
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Combine all together in a large jar with a tight-fitting lid, or a sturdy zip lock bag, or a non-metallic bowl. This will make about 2 ½ cups.
- Before adding your protein or veggies, save back about ½ of the marinade to baste while cooking, or reserve to top after your dish is plated. You'll probably have enough to use for another purpose (use on pasta, pizza, etc).
- In the remaining marinade, add your protein or vegetable of choice and let rest for the recommended length of time: chicken about 1-2 hours, seafood, and fish no longer than 30 min, veggies 30 min, firm tofu (pressed dry) 1 hour, and beef 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Grill until cooked through, set aside, and let rest, then slice and spoon or brush with reserved marinade.