chicken with pesto and cherry tomatoes

Chicken with Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

I just picked what was probably the last of the cherry tomatoes and basil from my pots in the backyard. Fall is here, and temperatures don’t take long to dip below freezing in central Oregon. It’s fine with me; I’m totally over summer and ready for crisp fall days. My harvest, along with the fresh mozzarella in my fridge, inspired this colorful recipe for Chicken with Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes.

I made a batch of Pumpkin Seed Pesto, but you could use store-bought to make this recipe even easier than it already is. The great thing about using pesto is you have all the seasoning you need in one flavor-packed container. Chicken breasts simmered in white wine with a bit of lemon juice, topped with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and studded with cherry tomatoes, was a delicious choice for a busy weeknight.

I served it over some spinach – mostly because I was too lazy to make pasta, which, of course, would be lovely with it. You could also try some zoodles (zucchini noodles) or roasted potatoes as your side.

Chicken with Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

(4 -6 servings)

4 – 6 chicken breasts, approximately 5 ounces each

kosher salt

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup white wine

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)

1/2 cup prepared pesto, homemade or store-bought

6 – 8 slices fresh mozzarella

12 – 15 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 350º F

Slice the chicken breasts in half diagonally with a sharp knife, then pound them with a mallet so they are about the same thickness.

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add the olive oil, then place the chicken in the pan; make sure you leave a little space between them so they brown nicely.

Once they are golden brown on each side (this should take 4 – 5 minutes per side on medium-high heat), pour in the wine. Bring the wine to a boil and allow it to cook for a few minutes to reduce and burn off the alcohol flavor.

Add the lemon juice, then the cherry tomatoes and arrange them around the chicken. Spoon pesto over each chicken breast, distributing evenly. Tear up the mozzarella slices and arrange them over the pesto.

Cover and bake in the preheated 350º F oven for *30 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through, and the cheese nicely melted. The pesto baked with the wine and tomatoes makes a delicious sauce for pasta, potatoes, veggies, or crusty bread.

*I actually had this in the oven for about 45 minutes because I was picking Hailey up from rehearsal. It was still great, it’s very forgiving because the liquids keep the chicken tender. I think it would have been prettier had I taken it out after 30 minutes though. You might find you need even less time depending on how well your chicken cooked on the stove.

So true. As we head into cooler temperatures, remember all the rewards of home cooking. The satisfaction of preparing delicous whole foods, the money you save not eating out or having food delivered, getting to stay in when it’s rainy or cold, and the impact of true nourishment to keep your immune system healthy.

When we cook we rebuild our communities, strengthen the bonds within our families, and nourish our bodies and souls.

Dr. Mark Hyman

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