This pesto chicken sheet pan dinner is the perfect weeknight meal! Chicken is marinated in a flavorful spinach pesto and baked alongside red potatoes for a healthy dinner the whole family will love.
Table of Contents
- This recipe is…
- Homemade Pesto
- Store Bought Pesto for Pesto Chicken
- Chicken Pesto Recipe Ingredients
- How to Make Baked Chicken Pesto
- What to Add to Pesto Chicken and Potatoes
- How to Serve Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies
- How to Store and Reheat Chicken with Pesto
- Meal Prepping One Pan Pesto Chicken
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Favorite Pesto Recipes
- Baked Chicken Pesto and Potatoes Recipe
This sheet pan dinner may look ordinary, but let me assure you, it is anything but! The delicious, nutrient-dense pesto brings the chicken thighs and red potatoes to life. This dinner is flavorful, well balanced, and really, really easy to pull together.
Pesto is bright, herb-y, and salty (it’s actually one of my VERY favorite flavor boosters). When the chicken is coated in the pesto, it takes on all of those flavors and (because the pesto has a good amount of oil in it) also gets really nice and crisp.
The star of this pesto chicken sheet pan dinner is a winter-friendly and hidden-veggie-filled spinach pesto! We normally think pesto in the summer because basil is the main ingredient, BUT did you know you can actually replace the basil with an equal amount of spinach (or even arugula, kale, or another herb like cilantro) and end up with a pesto that’s just as tasty, and even more nutrient-dense? It’s true!
Store Bought Pesto for Pesto Chicken
If you’re short on time (or just don’t want to take on the task of making your own pesto), feel free to use store-bought. When shopping for store-bought pesto, you’ll want to look for one that has pretty pure, simple ingredients (think: herbs, pine nuts, parmesan, oil, and salt).
Can you use pesto straight from the jar?
You can absolutely use pesto straight from the jar! There isn’t anything raw in pesto, so there’s no reason to cook it before sneaking a little taste!
Chicken Pesto Recipe Ingredients
For the Spinach Pesto
- 3 packed cups of fresh spinach
- ½ cup of raw walnut halves
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- ½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
For the Sheet Pan Dinner
- 1 ½ pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 ½ pounds of red potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ¾ teaspoons of coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
How to Make Baked Chicken Pesto
- Prep – preheat the oven to 375°F, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Season and bake the potatoes – place the potatoes on the baking sheet and toss them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ¾ teaspoon coarse sea salt, and black pepper. Spread the potatoes across the pan and bake for 20 minutes.
- Make the pesto – while the potatoes are cooking, make the pesto. Add the spinach, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a food processor, and pulse until the mixture is a coarse, sandlike texture. Then, add the lemon juice to the food processor, turn it to high speed, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Keep the food processor running for an additional minute, until the pesto is nice and smooth.
- Coat the chicken in pesto – coat the chicken thighs with a ⅓ cup of pesto and 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt.
- Add the chicken to the pan and bake – remove the potatoes from the oven, and add the chicken to the pan. Bake the potatoes and chicken together for 25 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and the chicken is fully cooked through.
- Serve and enjoy – remove from the oven, serve with additional pesto, and enjoy!
What to Add to Pesto Chicken and Potatoes
Because this is a full meal all on its own, you don’t actually *need* to add any sort of extra side. If you’re looking for a green veggie add, though, roasted green beans would be delicious!
How to Serve Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies
Plate the chicken and potatoes together next to the rest of the pesto (for dipping). Simple and delicious!
How to Store and Reheat Chicken with Pesto
Store your leftover pesto chicken thighs and potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored this way, it’ll last for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze this pesto chicken recipe?
I actually don’t recommend freezing your chicken and potatoes. Potatoes tend to get watery and lose a lot of their creamy texture when frozen. This meal is best eaten the day its made (or within about a week of storing).
Meal Prepping One Pan Pesto Chicken
This pesto chicken and potato bake is a really great one to meal prep! Go ahead and bake it all the way through, then package it in lunch (or dinner) sized portions. To reheat, simply pop it in the microwave (a skillet or oven will work too) until warmed through.
Frequently Asked Questions
… CHICKEN AND POTATOES! Aside from that, though, pesto is really delicious on veggies (roasted pesto broccoli would be delish), bread, or as a topping on a lunch bowl or your morning scrambled eggs!
There’s never a bad way to eat pesto in my opinion. If you’re new to the flavors, this is a really great recipe to start with, though!
You can absolutely cook with pesto! That’s exactly what we’re doing for this recipe, and I think it’s pretty clear that the results speak for themselves!
Yes! You can definitely use pesto without cooking. My mom used to make this really delicious cold pesto pasta dish (almost like a pasta salad) that combined cold, cubed chicken, pasta, pesto, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. It’s one of my very favorite pasta dishes to this day!
Baked Chicken Pesto and Potatoes
For the Spinach Pesto:
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Clean the potatoes then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the potatoes on the baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, and black pepper. Spread the potatoes across the pan and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the pesto. Place the spinach, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has a coarse, sandlike texture. Then, add the lemon juice to food processor, then turn it to high speed and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Keep the food processor running for an additional minute, until a smooth consistency is achieved.
- Coat the chicken with 1/3 cup pesto and 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven, then add the chicken to the pan. Bake for 25 minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and chicken is fully cooked through. Remove from oven and serve with additional pesto.
- You can substitute an equal amount of arugula or kale for the spinach in this recipe.