Pesto Chicken Quinoa

This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!

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This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!This Pesto Chicken Quinoa recipe is absolute proof that tasty dinners (especially during grilling season) take little-to-no planning.  You see, we had a crazy busy day the other day.  With the longer days and later sunsets, we often lose track of time.  There are balls to be kicked in the backyard.  And there are sprinklers that need to be run through.  And, of course, there are games of keep-away that need to played.  When all that happens, you sometimes look down at your watch and go “Uh oh!  I forgot about dinner!”

This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!I quickly perused the freezer, and I found a pack of 2 frozen chicken breasts.  (We typically buy chicken breasts from our butcher when he puts them on super sale every couple of weeks.  Then we just divide them into smaller freezer bags at home.)  Ok, so that bag of chicken breasts went into a bowl of warm water to thaw.  I also spied with my little eye something green.  Pesto!

This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!In the early part of each Spring, I typically head to the garden center whenever I need fresh basil for a recipe.  I pick up one of the small basil starter plants, pick off whatever leaves I need, and then plop the plant into a pot.  Repeat this several times, and I usually end up with 4-5 basil plants in pots on the back porch.  Fast forward about 3 months, and those basil plants are huge.  That’s when I take an afternoon, pick off all of the leaves and make a gigantic batch of homemade pesto.  Much like the chicken, I then freeze that pesto in small sandwich bags (or ice cube trays) for later use.  Later arrived with this Pesto Chicken Quinoa.

This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!Pesto Chicken Quinoa

I slipped a bag of pesto into a bowl of warm water.  Then I turned my attention to the grill.  I got that bad boy fired up, and then I stopped to play a game of kickball with Robbie.  Once the grill was hot (and Robbie had completely run circles around his dear old Dad in the backyard), I was ready for dinner.  The chicken was lightly seasoned with just salt and pepper.  The grill did the rest – you really can’t beat that flavor from the grill, right?  In the meantime, I put some quinoa on the stovetop to cook.  If you don’t have any quinoa in the pantry, then rice or farro would be fine substitutes here.

This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!Once the quinoa was done, I stirred in some fresh pesto.  Add in the sliced grilled chicken, a bit of feta and some cherry tomatoes, and dinner was all done.  Plus, I still had time for a kickball rematch with Robbie in the backyard.  (He beat me again…that kid has a future as a professional kickball player!)

I hope you enjoy this Pesto Chicken Quinoa as much as we did.  It’s an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer.  Cheers!

Did you make this Pesto Chicken Quinoa at home?  Leave a comment, or better yet snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version!

This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!

Pesto Chicken Quinoa

This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 506kcal


For the Pesto Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • cup basil pesto homemade or storebought

For the Quinoa


For the Quinoa

  • Using a large saucepan, add chicken stock, salt and pepper; stir until well combined.
  • Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, stir until well combined. Cover and reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is fully cooked. (Note: This is a good time to grill the pesto chicken.)
  • Place cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice and olive oil; stir until well combined.
  • Add tomatoes, feta, green onions and basil; gently stir until well combined.
  • Top with pesto chicken and {optional} freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

For the Pesto Chicken

  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, or until completely cooked. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into strips.
  • Using a medium mixing bowl, toss chicken with pesto.
  • Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

This Pesto Chicken Quinoa is an easy recipe that really highlights all of the fresh flavors of summer!  Enjoy!

Looking for more tasty summer grilling recipes?  Check out these other favorites:

Served over grilled naan and tzatziki sauce, these Grilled Beef Kofta Kabobs are a delicious way to enjoy a summer night in the backyard!Grilled Beef Kofta Kabobs

Looking for a delicious and fun recipe to grill this weekend?  Put these Grilled Jerk Chicken Burrito Bowls on the menu!Grilled Jerk Chicken Burrito Bowls

Turn a classic western New York dish into burger form with these Garbage Plate Burgers!  Talk about grilled comfort food at its finest!Garbage Plate Burgers

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  1. 5 stars
    Lol…I actually forgot about breakfast the other day. When lunch rolled around, I was thinking how hungry I was and then realized I hadn’t eaten anything! Funny how that happens some times. I love anything with pesto and we always have quinoa on hand so this needs to happen soon! Looks like it would make a great lunch today 🙂

    1. Haha! I wake up excited to eat breakfast, so I can’t imagine ever forgetting breakfast! That and my morning cup (or two) of coffee. 🙂 I don’t think pesto quinoa would be great for breakfast, but it sure is an easy delicious lunch and/or dinner! Thanks, Dawn!

  2. 5 stars
    A perfect meal after dad’s has his bottom kicked in kickball by young son. A great recipe David and great tip on buying basil. We do the same with our store bought basil as it is grown in dirt and transfers easy. You know we’ve discovered that our sous vide is incredible for thawing things out. We likely use more for thawing than cooking.

    1. …and I thought I was good at kickball. Hah! Robbie ran circles around me. Thanks for sharing that sous vide tip. What a great trick for when I need to thaw things out quickly. Totally stashing that in the back of my mind for the next time I forget to pull things out for dinner!

  3. 5 stars
    I never forget about dinner, lol! 😉 We eat A LOT of quinoa in our house and I’m always up for a new recipe that includes it. This looks amazing, David! And so perfect for the long weekend coming up!

    1. Mixing a couple spoonfuls of pesto into quinoa is a great little trick, Marissa! (Even better if you happen to freeze little ‘pesto bombs’ so all you need to do is pull a couple out.) Yum!

  4. hi david
    i always find quinoa a bit bland so i like your idea of adding pesto to it. this meal looks delicious, and i’d love to tuck in right now beside you. OOh that sounds a bit risque:-) We’re actually having a cool day here today – must be about 17C! Brrrrr
    keep well

    1. I’m with ya, Sherry! I do find that toasting quinoa in a dry skillet for 5-6 minutes adds more flavor, but I agree that it sometimes can still be boring. Try stirring in some spoonfuls of pesto next time! Even if it’s cool, this recipe will remind you of warmer summer days. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Love this dish, David – simple dinners like this are always good! Quinoa is such an underrated ingredient, and I adore it! Pesto and chicken work so well together too. This is a reminder I need to get my act into gear and better organise my freezer!!!

    1. Yes! On summer days when there are plenty of kickball games to be had, a quick and easy dinner is so valuable. This one is super easy, and I don’t really have to plan too much in advance. And, yes, I should probably pull everything out and organize our freezer, too. I know where all the important stuff is – but I bet there are some things lurking in the corners that I forgot about! Haha. Thanks, Alex!

    1. Quick and tasty meals is what it’s all about during the summer…and if they happen to be grilled meals? Then all the better! This is a great recipe for leftovers, too. In fact, that’s how we ate a lot of it!

  6. 5 stars
    Perfect summer meal. Pesto is savior on some days you know. we are in the same situation David, We are not used to with the longer days as when we have never seen a sunset on 9PM So losing track is our daily routine these days 😉
    Well, Have a great day ahead!

    1. Pesto really is a versatile ingredient to keep on hand. You can do so much with it! That must be a really strange feeling moving to a place with longer days. (Of course, we have to pay it back with the shorter winter days.) Either way, hope the early summer is off to a great start for you guys up there! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve been loosing track to time too. Wish I could say it was because I was running through the sprinklers or kicking balls in the yard. 😉 It’s more about the later sunsets, which I love. Recipe is fantastic. So healthful, satisfying and tasty! ~Valentina

    1. Haha! To be fair, there’s more than kickball and running through the sprinklers. We got 2 puppies about a month ago, so life has been a wee bit hectic here. Fun, but hectic! Thanks so much, Valentina!

  8. 5 stars
    Like you David I’ve always got Basil growing. Although I have to keep mine on the kitchen windowsill, so unlike yours mine is inside not outside. I love making my own pesto and Lynne and I both love quinoa too so I’ll need to give this a go. Great recipe. Thanks David, hope you guys are keeping safe over there!

    1. Homemade pesto really is delicious! I love making huge batches and then keeping it in the freezer. Mixing a couple spoonfuls of pesto into quinoa is a delicious base for all sorts of recipes…I love adding some grilled chicken on top of this one. Yup, we’re all safe here. Going a bit bonkers, but we’re safe. Hope you are, too! (Safe that is…not going bonkers. Haha.)

  9. 5 stars
    I love those busy day where you totally lose track of time! That’s how you know you’re doing summer right :). (I know it’s not technically summer yet but the longer days make it feel like it is!) This sounds like such a yummy dinner. Pesto makes everything better!

    1. Yes! You know it’s summer when you look at the clock and it’s already 7:30. (Of course, the flip side is the winter when you look down and it’s only 4:30…) We’ve hit 90°F here, so as far as I’m concerned, summer has arrived. Granted, that’s almost a record high for this time of the year, but that just means more summer days! Hope you’re staying cool(ish) over there in the desert, Kelsie!

  10. 5 stars
    This looks AMAZING David! I absolutely love meals like this that are so fresh, healthy, and delicious, yet come together quickly because we’ve thought ahead and have delicious meal components (like your homemade pesto!) ready to use on a packed day. I can sooo relate to dinner becoming an afterthought on a busy spring/summer day when we have so many fun activities to do with the kids! I’ll definitely make this meal next time dinner sneaks up on me!

    1. I’m all about the freezer to stock up on meal components. Pesto is one of my favorites, and we freeze it in little “pesto bombs” (i.e. ice cubes) so we can pull a couple out at moment’s notice. Mixing that pesto into quinoa made for a delicious base for all sorts of recipes. Thanks so much, Shannon! Hope you guys had a great long weekend out there in Cali!

  11. 5 stars
    Dude! Love how y’all set your priorities! Yup yup running after balls and through sprinklers always comes first! Robbie is one lucky dude to have parents like y’all – playing with him and feeding him this deliciousness! THIS is my kinda eating! We are going through a quinoa and Israeli Cous Cous phase currently and this meal has my mouth watering! Gosh I wish I wasn’t stuck at work right now – it’s bad enough it’s our first day back after 2 months of remote work but now am gonna be thinking of making this for the next 8 hours!!!!

    1. Haha! Well, to be fair, Robbie helps set the priorities around this house…and that means soccer (with our huge oversized soccer ball) always wins! So try mixing a spoonful or two of pesto into that quinoa or cous cous – it adds SO much flavor, and it’s a great base for all sorts of recipes. (Heck, it’s good enough to serve by itself!)

      Also, I hope the return to the office was successful. Glad things are opening back up down there.

    1. I’m with ya on the pesto, Sammie! Pesto is such an easy way to boost the flavor to all sorts of recipes. Stirring it into the quinoa here was a really tasty (and easy) recipe idea. Thanks so much!

    1. Pesto is a great ingredient to keep on hand for all sorts of recipes! Try stirring a couple of spoonfuls into quinoa or rice. It’s so good!

    1. Well isn’t that a fortuitous mistake! I’ve gotta say that pesto mixed with quinoa is delicious. Give it a shot with that rogue bag of quinoa and lemme know what you think! 🙂

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