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Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken

Creamy sun dried tomato pesto chicken is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. This flavorful recipe is dairy-free, and gluten-free, with a plant-based option.

Sun-dried tomato pesto, also known as red pesto or pesto rosso gives the chicken a really concentrated tomato flavor rich with umami notes.

Mixing the pesto with broth and coconut milk yields the creamiest sauce that pairs well with many other proteins beyond chicken.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil – to cook the chicken.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast – you can also use chicken thighs if preferred.
  • Tapioca flour/starch – to help thicken the sauce.
  • Chicken broth – to lighten up the sauce and add flavor.
  • Full-fat canned coconut milk – makes the sauce super creamy without giving it a coconut flavor.
  • Sun dried tomato pesto – unfortunately, all store-bought brands that I’ve found contain dairy, so I always make a batch of homemade.
  • Salt & pepper – to taste.
  • Basil – a great tomato flavor pairing, for a garnish.

How to Make Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken

Step 1. Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise or pound it thin between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Season each side with salt and pepper and sprinkle on the tapioca flour, using your hands to coat each piece.

Step 2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and add the chicken breasts (depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to do this in batches). Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, then transfer the cooked chicken to a covered plate.

Step 3. Pour in the chicken broth, then scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (all this flavor will infuse into the sauce). Whisk in the sun dried tomato pesto. Once smooth, whisk in the coconut milk and cook for another minute or two.

Step 4. Add the chicken back into the skillet and spoon the sauce over the top. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Top with fresh basil and serve.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this sun dried tomato pesto chicken using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No red pesto? – use another kind of pesto such as cilantro pesto, basil pesto, or arugula pesto.
  • No tapioca flour? – corn starch or all-purpose flour (use gluten-free if necessary) also work.
  • No chicken broth? – use veggie broth or white wine.
  • Not dairy-free? – use heavy cream instead.
  • Plant-based? – this sauce would also be delicious with white beans such as cannellini, great northern, or lima (also called butter beans). Use two cans or about 3 cups cooked.

How to Serve

This dish can be served on top of cauliflower mash, gnocchi, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, pasta, or rice. Or serve alongside broccoletti, crispy smashed potatoes, or something to sop up the sauce such as naan or crusty bread.

Top Tip

Make the red pesto ahead of time for an even quicker meal. You won’t use the whole batch for this recipe, so it turns into a multi-use sauce.

More Chicken Recipes

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken

5 from 4 votes
A bowl of creamy sun dried tomato pesto chicken on top of mashed potatoes.
Creamy sun dried tomato pesto chicken is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. This flavorful recipe is dairy-free, and gluten-free, with a plant-based option.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serving Size 4

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch can also use corn starch or AP flour
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup sun dried tomato pesto
  • 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • fresh basil to garnish

Instructions

  • Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise or pound it thin between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Season each side with salt and pepper and sprinkle on the tapioca flour, using your hands to coat each piece.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and add the chicken breasts (depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to do this in batches). Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, then transfer the cooked chicken to a covered plate.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, then scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (all this flavor will infuse into the sauce). Whisk in the sun dried tomato pesto. Once smooth, whisk in the coconut milk and cook for another minute or two.
  • Add the chicken back into the skillet and spoon the sauce over the top. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Top with fresh basil and serve.

Notes

If you’re not sure if the chicken is cooked all the way through, use a thermometer to check that the internal temp is 165ºF.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations
No red pesto? – use another kind of pesto such as cilantro pesto, basil pesto, or arugula pesto.
No tapioca flour? – corn starch or all-purpose flour (use gluten-free if necessary) also work.
No chicken broth? – use veggie broth or white wine.
Plant-based? – this sauce would also be delicious with white beans such as cannellini, great northern, or lima (also called butter beans). Use two cans or about 3 cups.
Not dairy-free? – use heavy cream instead.

One Comment

  1. Evie Ugrin says:

    5 stars
    The Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken as presented in this recipe is delicious.

    This is an example of another “inspired by anourishingplate.com. ” fun to make and filed under favorites.

    Thank you Lindsey.

    Evie Ugrin

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