It is just hot all over this year. Seems like every time I turn on the news there is another area of the country having a heat wave. When the temperatures spike like this I tend to rely on my grill more and more for making dinner. That way I can get a tasty meal without heating up my house unnecessarily.
This weekend I made Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pesto. I adapted this version of grilled chicken from Giada De Laurentiis’ Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing in Giada’s Family Dinners. I made some changes to the original recipe like swapping out the chicken breasts for chicken thighs. I know everyone tends to think of chicken breast first but to me chicken breasts are way overrated particularly for grilling. Chicken thighs are much more flavorful and they aren’t as dry as chicken breasts. (All that and chicken thighs are cheaper, too!)
It was an easy recipe. I marinated the chicken in a very simple sauce while whipping up lemon basil pesto in my mini food processor. The only indoor heat generated was during the 3 minutes I used my toaster oven to toast the pine nuts. In the end I was rewarded with a flavorful and fresh twist on classic grilled chicken. Delish!
Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pesto
Prep Time: 8 minutes + 1 hour to marinate – Cook Time: 10 minutes – Makes: 4-6 servings
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 lemons
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 large clove of garlic, pealed
Place chicken thighs into a large resealable bag. Add 1/3 cup of olive oil, juice of 1/2 of a lemon, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Seal the bag and shake until well mixed. Place chicken in the bag in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours), turning the chicken occasionally.
Place zest of one lemon, juice of 1 1/2 lemons, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, basil, 1 clove of garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper into a mini food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Slowly add in 1/3 cup of olive oil and blend until smooth. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill chicken (discarding the marinade) until fully cooked, roughly 4-5 minutes per side.
Place cooked chicken on serving tray. Drizzle with Lemon Basil Pesto. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts over top as garnish. Serve and enjoy!
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