Grilled Lemon Pesto Chicken Kebabs are lemon pesto marinated chunks of chicken skewered with tomatoes and zucchini. It’s a summer meal that’s ready in minutes!
I’m a pesto addict….how’s that for being straightforward? Sure, I love tomato based sauces too, but when I’m in the mood for a fresh, bright pesto sauce, there’s absolutely no substitute. And when I make a batch, it finds its way into so many things. Like pasta (obviously!), flatbread, and even sandwiches. I finally got around to using it as a marinade for these Grilled Lemon Pesto Chicken Kebabs, and let’s just say I wasn’t at all disappointed in the outcome.
Again, I state the obvious. 🙂
How easy is this meal? Ridiculously easy! Especially if you make a large batch of pesto sauce like I did and have it waiting in the wings for you. Pesto sauce always bails me out of a dinner rut, and this time was even more amazing because it was the marinade and the sauce. This chicken’s got a pesto double whammy.
This meal will go really quickly if you’ve got your pesto sauce made in advance like I mentioned. It also pays to make a double batch so you can freeze one for future pesto emergencies. I like to use my Spinach Walnut Pesto most of the time, and I substitute the spinach for fresh basil, arugula, or whatever types of greens that I’ve got on hand. If you’re strapped for time, just use your favorite store bought variety.
I always add a bit of lemon juice to my pesto, and I decided that I should add even more to the pesto marinade to give it that 1-2 citrus punch that always livens things up. It is summer, after all, so let’s get lively!
I cubed my chicken and marinated it in the pesto sauce for 2 hours and it was plenty flavorful. If you have your ducks in a row and marinate it for longer — say 4 hours or even overnight — it’ll be even better.
I chose to skewer the chicken with some sweet cherry tomatoes and zucchini slices, but you can also use red onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, or any other type of veggies that grill up quickly. There’s no need to go to the store…customize these skewers using whatever you’ve got!
I served these kebabs with orzo pasta and plenty more pesto sauce, and it was perfect. These Grilled Lemon Pesto Chicken Kebabs were a meal my kids were happy about eating too. Eating off of sticks is always more fun, isn’t it? 🙂
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves*
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons toasted walnut pieces
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3 medium), cut into 1" cubes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup pesto sauce, plus more for serving
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into ½" thick rounds
- 18 cherry tomatoes
- Place the spinach, garlic, lemon juice, walnuts, and parmesan into the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until roughly chopped. With the processor running, add the oil through the feed tube and process until it reaches the desired consistency. Taste, then and add salt and pepper, and process once more. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and place in a large zip top bag or bowl. Combine the pesto sauce with the lemon juice and pour over the chicken, tossing until evenly coated. Marinate a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the grill to medium high. Brush the grates with the canola oil.
- Skewer the chicken, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes on large metal or wooden skewers (I used metal). Grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Drizzle with extra pesto sauce, serve, and enjoy!
I marinated the chicken for 2 hours and it was very flavorful, but the longer you marinate it, the better it will be.
This meal is great served with orzo pasta!
Recipe by Flavor the Moments.