This one-pan pesto chicken and vegetables is the perfect weeknight meal! It comes together in about 20 minutes or so and you can throw in vegetables you have on hand. Use homemade basil pesto if you have it, but you can use a store-bought jar for a shortcut.

Be sure to watch my video for how to make pesto chicken below!

pesto chicken and vegetables in a pan

One of my favorite things to order when we go out is creamy pesto chicken, but it's actually an easy meal to make at home any time of the week.

This basil pesto chicken and vegetables recipe takes a one pan, a few familiar ingredients, and about 20 minutes to make. It is probably one of the juiciest chicken breast recipes I've tried! And the flavors are incredible.

The main flavor maker here is my homemade basil pesto (you can make it in advance in keep it in the fridge for all sorts of recipes including caprese chicken). But if you need a shortcut, you can use store-bought pesto. I like to finish this dish with a splash of lemon juice to brighten everything up!

ingredients for chicken pesto. Chicken cutlets, vegetables, cherry tomatoes, pesto, cream, basil and pine nuts

Here's what you'll need

  • Chicken breast cutlets (about 1 ½ pounds). No need to pay extra money for cutlets though, you can start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and simply cut them in half horizontally to create thinner pieces. This helps the chicken cook quickly and evenly without drying out, and it's also a great way to serve more people. (watch the video
  • Vegetables. I chose zucchini, red bell pepper, and red onions. These are three I often have in my fridge for all sorts of Mediterranean cooking (but you can use other vegetables you have on hand like asparagus or green beans).
  • Tomatoes. About 1 cup of any small tomato you like. I went with grape tomatoes.
  • Basil pesto and cream (⅓ cup of each). This is really where all the flavor and that little bit of liquid comes from. I used heavy cream, but you can use a nut milk if you like (I do think a little bit of cream really does make a difference).

How to make pesto chicken (step-by-step):

This easy pesto chicken comes together in one pan. You start by sauteeing the chicken briefly. Saute the vegetables next. Then, put them together with the basil and cream mixture and add the finishing touches. Here is how it goes (print-friendly recipe below):

  • Season and cook the chicken cutlets. A little kosher salt and black pepper on both sides of the chicken cultets, then sear them in a large skillet with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil (about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until fully cooked). Remove the chicken and set aside for now.
Cooked chicken cutlets in skillet
  • Cook zucchini, bell peppers, onions and grape tomatoes. Add a little more extra virgin olive oil to the same skillet if you need to. Add the vegtables. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Saute, tossing a few times, until the vegetables are cooked.
cooked vegetables in the skillet
  • Mix together the basil pesto and cream (⅓ cup of each) in a small bowl.
  • Put the chicken back in the skillet with the vegetables. Pour the basil and cream mixture on top. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let everything cook together for 1 or 2 minutes (you're only looking to warm up the pesto and cream mixture, you don't want it to cook too much). Remove from heat.
  • Add lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Garnish with some toasted pine nuts and a few basil leaves (optional).
cooked basil pesto chicken with vegetables

Serve it with

One obvious way to serve chicken pesto is with your favorite pasta. If you want to make some sauce for the pasta, feel free to double or triple the amount of basil pesto and cream mixture to toss it in.

You can also also serve this pesto chicken with your favorite grain (rice, farro or even couscous will work). And if nothing else, add a slice of your favorite crusty bread.

For a fun Italian-style dinner, start the meal with Panzanella salad!

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4.84 from 122 votes

Pesto Chicken Recipe with Vegetables

Suzy Karadsheh
pesto chicken and vegetables in a pan
One-pan chicken pesto and vegetables makes the perfect weeknight meal in 20 minutes! I recommend homemade pesto for this recipe, but you can totally use store-bought pesto for a shortcut if you need to.
Prep – 10 mins
Cook – 10 mins
Cuisine:
Italian
Serves – 6 people (up to)
Course:
Main Course

Equipment

  • Large skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lb chicken breast cutlets
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 zucchini cut into half moons
  • 1 red bell pepper cored and cut into strips
  • ½ red onion sliced
  • 1 cup about 5 oz grape tomatoes
  • cup basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • cup cream
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Toasted pine nuts for garnish optional
  • Fresh basil for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • Pat chicken breast cutlets dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. (Boneless skinless chicken breasts can be used, simply cut them in half horizontally so that you have thinner pieces. Watch the video to see how I do this).
  • In large cast iron skillet, heat a little bit of extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tbsp) until shimmering but not smoking in a cast iron skillet. Add chicken to the heated skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning over once. Remove from the skillet and set aside for now.
  • If needed, add a little bit more extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Add zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and grape tomatoes. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes or so, tossing occasionally, until the veggies have softened.
  • In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, mix together the basil pesto and cream.
  • Add the chicken back to the skillet. Pour the pesto and cream mixture in. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a minute or so.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat, add lemon juice and lemon zest. Add pine nuts and fresh basil for garnish. Serve hot with your favorite grain or plain orzo pasta.

Video

Notes

  • Chicken breast cutlets are simply chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have been cut in half horizontally so they are thinner for even and quick cooking. If you can not find chicken breast cutlets, you can simply use chicken breast meat and cut them in half as described. 
  • To serve with your favorite pasta, feel free to double or triple the amount of basil pesto and cream mixture to make a bit more sauce for your pasta. 
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a tight-lid container for 2 nights or so. You can warm it up stove-top over medium-low heat briefly (you may need to add a little liquid to help it). 
  • Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils and spices. 

Nutrition

Calories: 245.8kcalCarbohydrates: 4.6gProtein: 25.7gFat: 13.3gSaturated Fat: 4.6gCholesterol: 91.8mgSodium: 269.2mgPotassium: 570mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 2.5gVitamin A: 1192.5IUVitamin C: 33.2mgCalcium: 43.8mgIron: 0.7mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Your comment about using almond milk is so helpful, thank you! For those of us who are lactose intolerant, these hints allow us to try so many wonderful recipes and this one sounds like a winner!!

  2. I plan on making this tonight was the store brought pesto I need to use up. I do not want to use cream. With store bought pesto what do you recommend instead? Thanks so much!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this recipe this evening for my wife and me and it was SO good! I actually cut the chicken portion in half and it worked out to our preferred 2-to-1 veggie to meat plate coverage. I can picture this with tuna steaks or grilled portobellos. Looking forward to experimenting!

    Thanks for the great recipe.

  4. 4 stars
    This is the third or fourth recipe I've used from the site and they've all been wonderful. My Other Half used to do most of the cooking but he's recently relinquished control to me, in an attempt to lose weight. So now I'm scouring the internet for easy recipes that I can follow and that aren't too heavy on the calories.
    I've generally tried to follow the recipe completely but, on this occasion, I didn't have any cream, so I substutied cream cheese (Philadelphia style) and a dash of milk - oh, and I forgot about the onions! That was quite by accident but the end result was delicious - the only downside was that we ate the lot, no leftovers for meal prep!!
    I will definitely be making this again - and, next time, I'll be sure to add the onions. May still use cream cheese though - it works.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this last night, this recipe was so easy and delicious!! The whole family had to have second servings. Perfect for a gluten free paleo family. Thank you for this amazing recipe.

  6. This was SO GOOD! Made it tonight. I don’t normally use red onions, but always make recipes as written the first time. I wouldn’t change a thing. A friend said she doesn’t like basil ?, but I think you could easily drop the pesto and basil and sub in some Marsala. With a family of 6, I really appreciate easy one-pan recipes (the orzo of course required a second pan).

    Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Suzy, I gotta say that I've been trying many of your recipes and we LOVED LOVED LOVED all of them!!!! They are so flavorful, healthy, quick and easy to make! I made this quick pesto chicken two nights ago was truly delicious (I made the Easy Fish en Papillote last night and OMG!). We pair it with rice and voila 🙂 I am definitely make it again next week :-))))

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe for pesto chicken was out of this world good! I loved all the and textures in this meal. My husband really enjoyed it as well!

  9. 5 stars
    I can’t believe this yummy pesto chicken took so little time to make! It looks amazing and my family loves pesto. I am gonna try this soon.

  10. 5 stars
    We love this easy recipe! It is a hit with the whole family, and our favourite kind of flavours. We had some basil growing so used homemade pesto. Delicious!

  11. 5 stars
    Made this last week and It was a big hit with my family. They are asking when we are going to have it again. Thank you!