This easy pesto chicken recipe is low carb and healthy oozing with fresh flavours. To make it into a family meal fit for kids , just boil some pasta or rice and serve it along.
You of course have the option of making the recipe even more easier by using a shop bought pesto from the jar, but this pesto sauce has a bit of a spicy nutty flair because of the added cumin seeds.
This pesto chicken recipe made in the slow cooker gives it a melt in the mouth texture.
Call it the crock pot chicken pesto pasta for the kids or a low carb, keto friendly chicken dish for those on a diet.
Ingredients needed to make pesto chicken
You can make this recipe using just two ingredients if you wish that is :
⇒ Pesto sauce
⇒ Chicken ( legs, breasts or thighs)
I have made homemade pesto sauce, as there was fresh ingredients readily available in the house and I have it my own twist.
The ingredients you need to make pesto sauce are:
⇒ Basil leaves ( optional, i had fresh leaves of the plant to added a few)
⇒ sundried tomato
⇒ Pine nuts
⇒ cumin seeds
⇒ olive oil
How to make pesto chicken ( Stepwise method with images)
This is a slow cooker pesto chicken recipe, but you can easily make this in the oven. More cooking tips shared in the FAQ section below.
In a blender add the sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic, cumin seeds, salt and olive oil
Blend it into a smooth paste
Add the paste to chicken pieces.
Smear the sauce evenly into the chicken and slow cook on high for 3 hours. After 3 hours open the slow cooker and add capsicums. Cover and cook for another hour on high until done.
Serve slow cooked pesto chicken with any side of your choice or add boiled pasta with cheese for a kids-friendly pesto chicken pasta dinner.
Cooking Tips and FAQ’s
1. You can marinate the chicken with pesto sauce and bake it instead of slow cooking
2. Use any type of chicken piece you wish to use. Breasts, legs and thigh pieces go best.
3. Soak the sundried tomatoes in hot water for few minutes to soften hard tomatoes.
4. Sundried tomatoes already have added salt. Do not go over board on salt.
5. Sundried tomatoes already have added salt. Do not go over board on salt.
5. Add the vegetables when the chicken is more than have way cooked. This way you will not have overcooked veges.
6. Add a bit of chilli flakes to the pesto sauce for a spicy kick.
How to make baked pesto chicken?
If you do not have a slow cooker, no problem, just follow the recipe as it is but instead of using a slow cooker, bake it in the over at 180 degree Celsius ( 350 F) for about an hour.
You can also grill ( broil) it at 180 degrees Celsius (350 F) for about 40 minutes turning it once in a while to prevent once side from burning or getting too dry.
This type of baked chicken pesto tends to be a little more drier than the slow cooked version.
What to serve with pesto chicken?
There are so many side options to serve this healthy dish with.
If you are on a low carb diet serve it with zucchini noodles, sweet potato mash, quinoa or eat on its own.
For kids serve with mashed potato, pasta and rice.
How to make pesto chicken more healthy ?
This dish is healthy as it is but if you are looking at ways to make it more wholesome and nutritious add vegetables to it just the way I added the capsicum.
You can add zucchini, sweet potato, snap beans etc.
Just make sure not to over cook the vegetables as mushy veges don’t taste as good.
Other options and pesto combinations
A classic Italian pesto sauce recipe is made of basil, pine nuts, hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano and of course garlic and olive oil.
The biggest advantage of homemade pesto is that by using the basic form of ingredients like seeds, herbs, garlic and olive oil you can actually make your own flavoured pesto sauce condiments galore.
What I love about these quick 5 ingredient sauces is that they are easy to make and can be used to cook just about any dish.
During our trips to Italy I bought jars of different flavoured pesto blends. That made me think and put the experimental cooking gown on and try few combinations at home.
I experimented with different types of sauces based on a basic pesto sauce rule.
That is use a type of herb, nuts or seeds, cheese and oil combination.
Below is a chart with some pesto sauce ideas to try: