What if we told you there’s a sauce that is not only delicious, but also acts as the perfect nutritious binder for whole-wheat panko-crusted chicken? Made primarily from basil, olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese, pesto can be included in a well-balanced diet as a source of healthy fats, antioxidants and vitamins C and B6. Although many sauces have reputations for being high in bad fats and calories, this pesto chicken recipe is rich with health benefits and flavor. Here’s how to say goodbye to plain, flavorless chicken breast while staying on target with your healthy diet:
- Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken breast and about 1/2 cup tomato mixture)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 (6-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1-in. thickness
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 6 tablespoons spinach pesto (from Spinach Pesto Pasta with Shrimp)
- 3 cups multicolored cherry tomatoes
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle chickenwith 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side. Remove pan from heat.
- Combine panko, cheese and butter in a bowl. Spread pesto evenly over chicken in pan; top with panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Place pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until browned.
- Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add tomatoes; cook 6 minutes or until softened. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and vinegar. Serve with chicken.
Presto! You’ve just made a light, heart-healthy dish perfect for the summer months ahead. View the full recipe here for additional details, and happy cooking!