PESTO CHICKEN WITH BURST CHERRY TOMATOES (GF, DF, GRAIN-FREE, PALEO)


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For me, summer means a whole lot of pesto and a whole lot of tomatoes. They’re just the best summer foods in my opinion, I can’t get enough! I even started growing my own cherry tomatoes this summer in hopes that I can get even more of them in. I’m still waiting to see how they turn out since they’re not fully ripe yet but I have high hopes! For now, the farmers market cherry tomatoes are absolutely delicious.

With those summer flavors I love so much in mind, I developed my newest recipe: pesto chicken with burst cherry tomatoes. It features chicken breast coated in an almond flour breading, crisped with avocado oil in a skillet, and topped with sautéed cherry tomatoes and a delicious homemade dairy-free pesto. It seriously does not get better! Definitely try this one out for a healthy summer night recipe. I also recommend adding some burrata if you do eat dairy because it pairs perfectly!

Pesto Chicken with Burst Cherry Tomatoes Ingredients

Almond Flour: Almond flour is the main component of the dry mix that becomes the breading on the chicken. Almond flour is extremely versatile and won’t dry out like a coconut flour would. If you’d like to substitute, try subbing all-purpose flour for both the almond and tapioca flour.

Tapioca Flour: Tapioca flour compliments the almond flour and gives it a texture more similar to an all-purpose flour. I don’t recommend skipping it but if you do, the tenders will still come out. For a substitute, you can use arrowroot starch or cornstarch 1:1.

Spices: The spices you’ll need for this recipe include salt, black pepper and garlic powder. These are very simple seasonings you likely have on hand. Feel free to add any additional seasonings that you like such as smoked paprika or chili powder for a smokier taste.

Egg: The purpose of the beaten egg is to make the dry breading mixture stick to the chicken as it cooks on the skillet. There is no real way to substitute the egg as it’s key to that perfectly crisp breading.

Chicken Breast: I suggest using boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe, or boneless chicken tenderloins. The cooking time will depend heavily on the thickness of your raw chicken so be mindful of that and I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is properly cooked through to 165 degrees.

Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes sautéed with a bit of oil and salt serve as the perfect topping for the crisp chicken and partner with the pesto to make every bite bursting with flavor. If you aren’t a tomato person, I recommend using roasted red peppers as a substitute.

Basil: For the pesto, you’ll want to use fresh basil specifically, not dried. Be sure to only use the leaves and not the stems for the best texture. Reserve a bit of your fresh basil so you can top off the entire dish with a few leaves as well.

Hemp Seeds: While most pestos use pine nuts, this recipe uses hemp seeds. As a result, the pesto is a bit thinner and better for spooning on top of the chicken and tomatoes. You can definitely substitute the hemp seeds for pine nuts, or even walnuts.

Lemon & Garlic: A squeeze of lemon juice adds some acidity to the pesto. You can use bottled lemon juice of course, which equates to about 1-2 tablespoons. I also like adding some extra squeezes of lemon juice right on top of the chicken when it’s done!


How To Make Pesto Chicken with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Step One: Mix the almond flour, tapioca flour and spices in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, add the beaten egg.

Step Two: Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.

Step Three: One by one, dip the chicken in the egg, then the dry mixture to completely coat each piece of chicken.

Step Four: When the oil begins to simmer, carefully place the coated chicken in the pan. Cook on one side without moving the chicken for about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken, then flip and cook for another ~5 minutes before removing from the pan.

Step Five: Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness; chicken should have an internal temp of 165 degrees when it is fully cooked. If needed, continue cooking until it reaches that point. There should be a browned crust on both sides.

Step Six: Use a paper towel to clean some of the oil out of the skillet, and then add the cherry tomatoes. Cook until soft and bursting, about 10-15 minutes, over medium high heat. Stir occasionally and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Remove and set aside.

Step Seven: Make the pesto by combining all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. For best results, you can slowly pour in the olive oil as the other ingredients blend.

Step Eight: Serve the chicken with the tomatoes and pesto on top, topping off with fresh basil leaves. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, separating the ingredients for storage.

If you try out this recipe, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below if you love it. You can also snap a photo & tag @jenneatsgoood on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews help support this blog and make it possible for me to continue to create healthier recipes!


PESTO CHICKEN WITH BURST CHERRY TOMATOES

Recipe by Jenn Lueke
Servings

4-5

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Diet

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo

For me, summer means a whole lot of pesto and a whole lot of tomatoes. They’re just the best summer foods in my opinion, I can’t get enough! I even started growing my own cherry tomatoes this summer in hopes that I can get even more of them in. I’m still waiting to see how they turn out since they’re not fully ripe yet but I have high hopes! For now, the farmers market cherry tomatoes are absolutely delicious. With those summer flavors I love so much in mind, I developed my newest recipe: pesto chicken with burst cherry tomatoes. It features chicken breast coated in an almond flour breading, crisped with avocado oil in a skillet, and topped with sautéed cherry tomatoes and a delicious homemade dairy-free pesto. It seriously does not get better! Definitely try this one out for a healthy summer night recipe. I also recommend adding some burrata if you do eat dairy because it pairs perfectly!

Ingredients

  • CRUSTED CHICKEN & BURST TOMATOES
  • 2/3 cup almond flour

  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 + 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil, for cooking

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes

  • DAIRY-FREE PESTO SAUCE
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, packed (reserve some for topping)

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds

  • juice of 1/2 lemon

  • salt and pepper to tast

Directions

  • Mix the almond flour, tapioca flour and spices in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, add the beaten egg.
  • Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  • One by one, dip the chicken in the egg, then the dry mixture to completely coat each piece of chicken.
  • When the oil begins to simmer, carefully place the coated chicken in the pan. Cook on one side without moving the chicken for about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken, then flip and cook for another ~5 minutes before removing from the pan.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness; chicken should have an internal temp of 165 degrees when it is fully cooked. If needed, continue cooking until it reaches that point. There should be a browned crust on both sides.
  • Use a paper towel to clean some of the oil out of the skillet, and then add the cherry tomatoes. Cook until soft and bursting, about 10-15 minutes, over medium high heat. Stir occasionally and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Remove and set aside.
  • Make the pesto by combining all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. For best results, you can slowly pour in the olive oil as the other ingredients blend.
  • Serve the chicken with the tomatoes and pesto on top, topping off with fresh basil leaves. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, separating the ingredients for storage.

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