Freshen up the flavor of grilled chicken breasts with pesto and a tangy lemon aioli.


  • 4 (4 oz) chicken breasts, raw boneless skinless
  • 1 (10 oz) jar store bought pesto
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 loaf Italian, French, or Ciabatta bread sliced (you will not need the whole loaf)
  • 8 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup Balsamic reduction (store bought or make your own*)

Lemon Aioli

  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • Salt to taste


  1. Marinate the chicken: Place chicken breasts, 2/3 jar of pesto and oil in a gallon freezer bag. Mix together and then place on a plate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  2. Make the Lemon Aioli: combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a small bowl until well blended. Set aside.
  3. Grill the chicken: Preheat the grill. Once the grill is preheated, place the marinated chicken on the grill. Close the lid and let the chicken cook until an internal temperature of 165F. It will take about 5-8 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken breast. Always cook to the internal temperature. Remove from the grill and place on a cutting board. Wipe down the grill plates with a damp cloth and leave on. Slice the chicken into strips.
  4. Assemble the paninis: set out 4 slices of bread on a cutting board or a clean countertop. Lay chicken slices on the bread (one chicken breast per piece of bread), then layer on the cheese, tomatoes, basil leaves, and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Take 4 more slices of bread out of the bag. Spread about a tablespoon of pesto on the slice of bread and then place pesto side down onto one of the four sandwiches on the cutting board or counter. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.
  5. Grill the paninis: Place the paninis on the grill, two at a time, and close the lid gently so the top does not slide off the sandwich. Let grill for about 5 minutes to get grill marks and to crisp up the bread. Remove paninis from grill and place on cutting board. Put the other two sandwiches on the grill and gently close the lid. Slice the two paninis on the cutting board in half on the bias and set on separate plates. Repeat with the other two paninis.
  6. Serve with the lemon aioli. Serve immediately and enjoy!


  • To make your own balsamic reduction: Put 1 cup of balsamic in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Let it reduce until it thickens. It will take about 10 minutes and you should have about ¼ cup of balsamic reduction.
  • You can make the pesto chicken through step 3 and use the chicken atop a salad or put it in a pasta. For a quick and easy pasta use either a penne or bowtie pasta- you want about 8 ounces fully cooked. Cook to package directions. While pasta is cooking heat 1 tbsp of oil in a sauté pan, add 1 tbsp minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. You can use the leftover pesto that you did not need for the marinade and add to the pan with about 1 cup of heavy cream. Stir to blend. Add about ¼ cup of shredded parmesan cheese and stir. Once the sauce starts to thicken, take it off the heat. If you have any fresh basil, you can add that as well as salt and pepper to taste. Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta and serve immediately.


Poultry Recipes