Pesto Chicken Sandwich



One of David’s daily naps is from 12:00-1:00p and if I want to eat lunch at a table instead of sitting on the floor, it must be done during that hour. Since I started staying home, I try to have healthy options at the house for lunch. Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, it’s either a ceasar salad, or this pesto chicken sandwich.

Frankly, two options for lunch is a big step for me. For the majority of my childhood I had the same thing everyday for lunch. A ham sandwich, cheddar goldfish crackers and a lemonade. I’m sure my mom offered me different options but I just wanted a ham sandwich every day. Oddly enough, I now can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten a ham sandwich. I guess I over did it as a child.

My friend Allyson first made this pesto chicken for me a few years ago. She mixed it with arugula and skipped the bread, and it was just as tasty! I started making this pesto again a few weeks ago and I remembered how easy and flavorful this chicken is!

The recipe: Foster’s Pesto

2 cups firmly packed basil leaves

10 garlic cloves (yes 10)

3/4 cup etra-virgin olive oil

one 2oz jar (1/4 cup) pine nuts

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place the basil and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse a few times for a rough chop.

2. Add olive oil in a steady stream while food processor is on.

3. Add pine nuts, parmesan, salt and pepper and puree about a minute longer

Bake a couple chicken breasts, shred, and toss with pesto.

My favorite way to make this sandwich is to broil the bread to give it a little crunch. I also let some provolone/mozzarella cheese melt on one piece of the bread while it’s in the oven. Once the bread is  crispy, pile a decent amount of pesto chicken on one side, top with a slice of tomato, and then press the melty cheese over top.

This is great to make at the beginning of the week because the flavor really develops after the shredded chicken has been tossed with the pesto.

This would also be fantastic on ravioli or just smothered on bread!

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Comments (43)

  1. Sheila Perin says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    I read your pesto chicken recipe and it sounds delicious but where does the chicken come in? I didn’t see chicken listed in the ingredients but you called it chicken pesto.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Kate says
      Posted May 20, 2014

      Hi Sheila- it’s just tossed with shredded chicken, I updated the post to include that note!

  2. Divya says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    This is so scrumptious to just look at! I like the idea of broiling the bread with the cheese! Will try it next time im making a sandwich!


  3. Posted May 20, 2014

    Sounds delicious! I’m going to try this! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Posted May 20, 2014

    This looks delicious! I am looking forward to making this!

  5. Sarah Clark says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    Pesto is a delicious, light sauce. The sandwiches look amazing!

  6. Arijana says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    My 10 year old is in 4th grade. Since he started Kindergarten I’ve been packing him Ham and American sandwich. I’ve tried mixing things up for him but he refuses to eat it. Ham or nothing. He is so boring HA HA HA!

  7. Angela says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    I am a huge pesto fan. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have never actually made it before so I am excited to give it go. I make a sandwich very similar to yours, although I cook it in a pan like you would a grilled cheese. It browns up super good and the cheese gets all gooey.
    Yum, I am getting hungry just thinking about it!

  8. Emma says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    Yummmmm looks so good trying this out now!

Emma| With A City Dream

  9. Posted May 20, 2014

    Thanks for sharing. Sounds delicious! I’m working from home this summer and lunches have been a struggle already. I’m used to packing them!

    • Kate says
      Posted May 20, 2014

      this is great to have in the fridge! 🙂

  10. Susan says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    I just whipped up a bowl of chicken salad this morning to have a sandwich for lunch at work. I have been craving it and had a bit of leftover chicken in the fridge, but was torn (and rushed) about just how to season it. I wish I had seen this earlier – pesto sounds SO good! Guess it gives me an excuse to make another sandwich in a few days! 😉

  11. Dorothy says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    Do you think it would completely change the flavor if I skipped the pine nuts? I have everything but! Hmm…

    • Dorothy says
      Posted May 20, 2014

      PS: I let Kelli cut 5 inches off yesterday! Still getting used to it.

      • Kate says
        Posted May 20, 2014

        nice!! I don’t think the pine nuts will make a huge difference–try it!

        • Erin says
          Posted May 21, 2014

          Use walnuts instead of pine nuts; it’s cheaper. The flavor is still good.

  12. Posted May 20, 2014

    I know people think chicken is boring but I think it’s a great base for flavours. Lovely idea.

  13. Lauren says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    Pesto and chicken is of my favorite summer lunches. I’ll have to try broiling the bread next time!

  14. Katie B in NE says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    Thanks for the pesto recipe, i have always wondered what is in this recipes. Looks delish!

  15. Posted May 20, 2014

    That chicken looks amazing!!! Put that on some nice warm ciabatta…yummm

    • Kate says
      Posted May 20, 2014


  16. Posted May 20, 2014

    Now I’m craving bread.
    But I’m not allowed to eat gluten for a while………..
    Woah. I love your blog, but this just looks to good.
    Imma be leavin’ this place.

    Lots of love!

  17. Posted May 20, 2014

    Sounds delicious!

  18. Maria says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    THANK YOU for this recipe! My baby girl naps at the same time as David, and like you, I try to eat at the kitchen table and not next to her play mat on the floor at lunchtime. This is perfect and definitely something I can make ahead of time, so I can savor every bit of that hour for eating (and not spend half of it trying to make/figure out what to eat!)

    Thank you again!

  19. mandi says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    I saw this post today and just knew I had to make it for dinner! To make it even simpler, I purchased an oven roasted chicken from the deli at the supermarket and just shredded that Quick, easy and scrumptious!

  20. Shea L. says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    This looks so good!! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    XoXo Shea L.

  21. Kelly says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    This sounds delicious, yum!

  22. Janine says
    Posted May 20, 2014

    This recipe sounds great and is making me quite hungry!

    Janine Maral from

  23. Jennifer G. says
    Posted May 21, 2014

    That looks yum but I would probably do it as a lettuce wrap. Also if cream cheese is your thing try the pesto in it and it’s Yum on crackers, burgers, etc!!!

    • Jennifer G. says
      Posted May 22, 2014

      We are gluten free!!

  24. Emma says
    Posted May 21, 2014

    This sounds so tasty, I’ll definitely be trying out the recipe

  25. ash says
    Posted May 21, 2014

    This sounds so good! I never eat chicken salad b/c I hate mayo!! I have pinned this & am super excited to try it~ Thanks!!

  26. W Freeland says
    Posted May 21, 2014

    Kate – How many chicken breast did you use? My turned out way more green than the sandwich you pictured. I was just wondering so I can strecth the pesto longer for other things. Thanks!

    • Beth says
      Posted May 22, 2014

      I used two and I think we could have used 3 or 4 because it was really oily…I liked the flavor a lot though…might cut the pesto by half next time though.

  27. Kara Koreis says
    Posted May 21, 2014

    Yum! I made this for lunch yesterday and had it again today. So good! I used the premade pesto from Costco, delicious and a huge jar of it for $7. Way better than any jarred pesto I’ve had. Tastes just like I made it fresh.

  28. Julia says
    Posted May 22, 2014

    Kate!!! At first I was worried this was like chicken salad and I was going to cry! But no. It’s not! I can’t wait to try it.

  29. Beth says
    Posted May 22, 2014

    My husband made this last night since I had to work late. He didn’t realize I had fresh basil so he used dried basil. He also used two chicken breasts too. I think it was a little on the oily side or maybe we didn’t use enough chicken but it had a great flavor. Will make it again!

  30. Lizzy says
    Posted May 28, 2014

    I made this early in the week and it was so good! I could not find pine nuts at my grocery store and didn’t want to go store hopping but it was still good! Thanks, this will be easy to make and last a few days during the week this summer. Trying to come up with a few lunch ideas to avoid falling into the fast food trap. I wrapped mine in fiber wrap and added some spinach, arugula and pepper jack cheese yum.

  31. Posted July 23, 2014

    I always intend to have somethig healthier for lunch, and when it comes down to it, grabbing a handful of chips or cookie is faster, easier, and what I always do. Must break this habit!!

  32. Mautone says
    Posted September 1, 2014

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  33. Alyssa says
    Posted April 5, 2016

    Dang it Kate!! I heard you talking about this on your snapchat and now I’m hungry. This looks sooo amazing. I can’t wait to try it!

  34. Kandi says
    Posted April 5, 2016

    How much pesto does the recipe make? I would probably just use jarred but I wouldn’t know how much to use!