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This Baked Pesto Chicken with zucchini is a delicious and easy dish that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner. With flavorful pesto sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, and fresh veggies, this baked pesto chicken recipe is sure to become a family favorite. It’s a simple one-pan meal that’s both satisfying and healthy.

top view orange skillet with baked pesto chicken topped with cheese annd fresh tomatoes
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If you’re looking for a healthy yet cheesy chicken recipe, look no further! Searing the chicken first adds a nice golden-brown crust before finishing it off in the oven with zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Top it all off with gooey melted mozzarella for a dish that’s easy and delicious. Serve this baked pesto chicken breast with Sauteed Green Beans, Baked Balsamic Asparagus, or just with simple sliced tomatoes for a complete meal your whole family will love.

recipe Summary

  • Bursting with fresh flavors: The bright, herby pesto sauce paired with melty mozzarella cheese and juicy baked chicken is an irresistible flavor combination.
  • Easy one-pan meal: With simple prep and easy cleanup, this pesto chicken bake is a convenient weeknight dinner option.
  • Loaded with veggies: Zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers make this a nutritious, well-rounded meal in one dish.
  • Versatile and customizable: Use store-bought or homemade pesto sauce. Add extras like sun-dried tomatoes or olives. Swap out veggies based on your preference.
baked chicken breast with pesto tomatoes zucchini and then topped with melted cheese

Ingredients Needed

This pesto mozzarella baked chicken breast recipe with zucchini, uses simple ingredients that pack in tons of flavor. You’ll need:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Use 4 medium-sized breasts. You can also use chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • Pesto sauce: You can use a pesto from the grocery store for convenience or my homemade basil pesto recipe for the freshest flavor.
  • Vegetables: Zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper add nutrition and taste great roasted with the chicken.
  • Olive oil: For sautéing the chicken and veggies. You may also use avocado oil.
  • Mozzarella cheese: Shredded mozzarella melts beautifully over the pesto chicken.
  • Seasonings: Just salt and pepper are needed to enhance the other flavors.
ingredients to make pesto chicken in a skillet with zucchini and mozzarella

How To Make Baked Pesto Chicken

  1. Season the chicken: Season the boneless, skinless chicken breasts all over with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Coat with pesto: Spread 2 tablespoons of the pesto sauce evenly over the top of each seasoned chicken breast.
chicken seasoned in pesto sauce
  1. Sear the chicken: Preheat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Sear the pesto-coated chicken for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. Transfer seared chicken to a plate.
  2. Prep the veggies: In the same skillet, toss the chopped zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, diced bell pepper, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
pesto chicken breast sauteed in a pan
  1. Bake the chicken and veggies: Return the seared chicken breasts to the skillet, nestling them among the veggies. Transfer the skillet to a preheated 375°F oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  2. Add pesto and cheese: Remove skillet from oven and spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of pesto over the chicken and veggies. Top evenly with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  1. Bake again to melt cheese: Return skillet to oven and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and bubbly.
  2. Rest and serve: Let rest for 5 minutes before serving your chicken pesto bake with mozzarella.
spoon taking out a baked pesto chicken breast topped with melted cheese from skillet

Expert Tips

  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches the safe internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Don’t move the chicken too much when searing. Let it get a nice golden crust before flipping.
  • If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, just transfer it to a baking dish before moving it to the oven.
  • Let the baked chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to reabsorb back into the meat.

FRequently Asked Questions

How do I know when the chicken is fully cooked?

The best way to tell if chicken is cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. Fully cooked chicken breasts should reach an internal temperature of 165°F. You can also do a simple cut test – make a small slit in the thickest part and ensure the juices run clear and the meat is opaque throughout.

Can I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts?

Yes, you can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the breasts in this recipe. The cooking time may vary a bit, so keep an eye on the internal temperature.

Should I cover the chicken while baking?

There’s no need to cover the chicken while it bakes. Leaving it uncovered allows the tops to get a nice browned color from the broiler when adding the cheese at the end.

How can I make this recipe ahead?

You can prep the pesto chicken ahead by searing the chicken and cooking the veggies, then refrigerating them separately until ready to bake and combine. The baking step is quick so it’s best done right before serving

close up baked chicken breast in a skillet with melted cheese and fresh tomatoes

Serving Suggestions

I love serving this baked chicken breast with pesto with simple roasted or stovetop vegetables or any side dish with an Italian flair! Here are some of my faves:

Storage Recommendations

Leftovers of this cheesy pesto chicken bake make for great meal prep! Here’s how to store and reheat:

  • Refrigerate: Once cooled, transfer the baked chicken breasts and roasted veggies to an airtight container. They’ll keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: This dish freezes very well. Let any leftovers cool completely, then transfer portions to a freezer-safe airtight container or bag. Freeze for up to 2-3 months.
  • Reheat: For best results, let frozen portions thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. To reheat, place chicken and veggies in an oven-safe dish and bake at 350°F until heated through, about 15-20 minutes. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave, but go slowly and stop to check every 30-60 seconds to prevent overcooking.
a single baked pesto chicken breast in a round white plate with zucchini and tomatoes

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5 from 1 vote

Baked Pesto Chicken Breast

By: Rena
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
baked chicken breast over a skillet with pesto, veggies, and melted cheese
Baked chicken breasts made with flavorful pesto sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, and fresh veggies. Simple, tasty, and juicy chicken dish that's ready in

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 tbsp pesto sauce, divided
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 3 -4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Rub each with half of the pesto sauce.
  • Preheat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Sear the chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl stir the zucchini, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.
  • Add the coated veggies to the skillet next to the seared chicken.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 175F.
  • Baste the chicken and veggies with the remaining pesto sauce and sprinkle with the mozzarella.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Notes

  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches the safe internal temp of 165°F.
  • Don’t move the chicken too much when searing. Let it get a nice golden crust before flipping.
  • If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, just transfer it to a baking dish before moving it to the oven.
  • Let the baked chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to reabsorb back into the meat.

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 33gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1041mgPotassium: 840mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 963IUVitamin C: 82mgCalcium: 195mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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