Kale Pesto Grilled Chicken
This Kale Pesto Grilled Chicken is a super easy meal that is budget friendly too. With only a few basic ingredients, you can make a delicious summer feast the whole family will love.
When it comes to condiments, pesto is one of my favourites. Not only is it incredibly easy to make, but it is incredibly easy to buy store-bought versions with really clean ingredients, and it can be used as a sauce, dip or dressing making it really convenient to have on hand. When I started to learn more about nutrition I became very aware of the ingredients in the products I was buying, reading the ingredients list on every label, and when it came to condiments I realized that almost all of my favourite condiments (ketchup, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, honey mustard) were filled with added sugars, salts and preservatives that I just didn’t’ want in my kitchen anymore. So, in an effort to eat better I made it my mission to find the best condiments I could to help make dinners flavourful but keep them as simple as possible, which is exactly why I became such a fan of pesto.
If you’ve never had pesto before, it is a classic Italian basil sauce, made by combining fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, cheese and olive oil. Although the classic version is made with fresh basil, there are many other variations today using different combinations of greens, but the base of the ingredients remains the same. With summer produce in season and kale in abundance, I decided to whip this hearty leafy green into a pesto sauce for a simple BBQ’d chicken dish.
For the best kale pesto, try and get your hands on the freshest kale you can find. I was able to get some from a local farm stand, Hendrick Farm, but you could try a local farmer’s market too. Of course, grocery store kale will work just as well, just be sure to look for kale with bright green leaves to ensure your pesto is full of flavour.
This Kale Pesto Grilled Chicken makes a great weeknight dinner, makes great leftovers, and is just one of the many ways to add more greens to your diet.
Kale Pesto Grilled Chicken
I added a little fresh grated parmesan to my pesto, but this can be omitted for a dairy-free pesto. I also served my chicken with zucchini noodles, but it would also pair incredibly well with potatoes, rice or a simple salad.
Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
- 4 chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
Kale Pesto Ingredients:
- 2 cups kale, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small cloves garlic (or 1 large)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan (optional)
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
- Begin by preparing the pesto. Add kale, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, and sea salt to a food processor and puree until well combined. If you are adding parmesan, add it at this time and pulse the food processor to combine it with the kale mixture.
- Drizzle olive oil slowly in batches to help the pesto bind, you can add more if needed. You want to add enough that it becomes thick and creamy, but not too much that it becomes runny.
- Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper, an extra squirt of lemon if needed, and set aside.
- Prepare to cook the chicken. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper generously on each side and drizzle chicken with a little splash of olive oil (1-2 tsp.) to ensure they don’t stick to the grill.
- Add the chicken to the grill, cooking on both sides for about 5 minutes, until tender and cooked through with an internal temperature of 165°F.
- To serve, spread the kale pesto over each chicken breast. Chicken can be enjoyed with zucchini noodles, potatoes, rice or over a light salad.