Friday, May 24, 2024

Pesto Chicken Meal Prep Recipe


Meal prepping has never been easier with this Pesto Chicken Meal Prep recipe! It provides you with a healthy lunch all week long as it’s made with hearty chicken, homemade pesto, quinoa, and fresh vegetables like asparagus. The mozzarella and tomato salad adds a lot of big flavor too! 

The chicken bakes up quickly, and the sides are easy to prepare, making it the perfect weekly meal prep for those busy bees.

Meal prep pesto chicken and sides in a meal prep container

Lunches on the go, anyone?! We’re often taking our lunches out on the town working from coffee shops or Forgotten Star Brewery in Minneapolis. But regardless of your weekday schedule, this pesto chicken meal prep is nutrition-packed and an easy way to keep you full till dinnertime. 

To make this easy recipe, start by marinating and baking your chicken. Then roast your asparagus, cook the quinoa, and prep the salad. All that is left to do is assemble and enjoy delicious and nutritious meals for the entire week!

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: We like using chicken breasts for this recipe because they are lean, easy to cook, and high in protein.
  • Pesto: We used homemade pesto sauce in this recipe, but store-bought will work as well. 
  • Roasted Asparagus: You’ll love how the asparagus tastes when it’s roasted! It brings a nice depth of flavor to this simple chicken recipe.
  • Quinoa: we love fluffy quinoa, but you can always swap for rice.
  • Mozzarella pearls: These little balls of cheese add a creamy and tangy element to the dish.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Juicy and sweet, cherry tomatoes make a great addition to this tasty, quick lunch.
  • Balsamic vinegar: This vinegar adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the salad dressing.
  • Red onion: Adds a nice crunch and bite to the salad.
Chicken in pesto being mixed in a bag before cooking.

Make These Meal Prep Bowls Your Own

The best thing about meal prep chicken recipes is that there are so many different ways to swap and add ingredients, keeping it new and exciting each week. This is especially nice if you don’t like eating the same thing over and over again.

What other veggies would taste good with pesto chicken?

  • Zucchini: Cut into rounds or half moons and roast alongside the asparagus. 
  • Roasted Broccoli: Roast with the asparagus or steam and add to the quinoa.
  • Bell peppers: Sautéed bell peppers would add a nice pop of color and sweetness to the dish. 
  • Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms would add a savory and earthy flavor to the dish. 
  • Black beans: Add some protein and texture by mixing in a can of black beans. 

What if I don’t have quinoa?

If you don’t have quinoa, you can always swap it for brown rice or basmati rice. These Mashed Sweet Potatoes would also be a great option!

Pesto chicken in a bowl ready to be combined with asparagus

How to Make this Pesto Chicken Meal Prep

  1. Marinate the chicken in pesto sauce for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. On a different baking sheet, roast the seasoned asparagus at 375°F for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Place the quinoa and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Then, cover and turn the heat down to low. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has absorbed.
  6. Add the mozzarella and tomato salad ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix.
  7. Assemble your bowl, adding more pesto to the chicken and topping with toasted pine nuts and parmesan. 
  8. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days for delicious meals throughout the week!

here’s a tip!

For best results, marinate the chicken overnight to infuse it with flavor. You can also make a double batch of the pesto and freeze it for future use.

Pesto chicken and sides in a meal prep container ready to be taken to lunchPesto chicken and sides in a meal prep container ready to be taken to lunch

Can I cook the chicken ahead of time?

For sure! Use cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken for a quicker meal prep. Simply assemble the bowls and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days.

How to Store

This pesto chicken meal prep can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Pesto chicken and sides in a bowl ready to be eatenPesto chicken and sides in a bowl ready to be eaten

Ingredients

Pesto Chicken

  • 16 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup pesto we used homemade

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa uncooked
  • 2 cups water

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

  • 1/2 cup mozzarella pearls
  • 10 oz. cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 medium red onion very thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions 

Pesto Chicken

  • First, preheat oven to 375°F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

  • Prep chicken by placing chicken breast into a gallon-size bag and pouring on pesto. Close bag and give your chicken a good shake, making sure it’s covered in pesto. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate (option to do this the night before and let sit for 12-24 hours).

  • Once marinated, transfer chicken breast to baking sheet. Make sure you put all that excess pesto on top of the chicken breast. Bake at 375°F for about 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your breasts.

  • Remove from oven, let cool, and slice into cubes.

Roasted Asparagus

  • Prepare asparagus by placing spears on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

  • Bake at 375°F for about 10-12 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook your asparagus, no one likes mushy spears!

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

  • Begin by slicing cherry tomatoes in half. Place them into a medium-size bowl.

  • Add in mozzarella pearls, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sliced onion, salt, and pepper.

  • Mix and set aside.

Bowl Assembly

  • This recipe serves 4, so separate everything out into 4 portions.

  • Serve with more fresh pesto on top of the chicken, toasted pine nuts on top of the asparagus, and a sprinkle of parmesan on top of the entire thing.

Tips & Notes

  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 421kcal Carbohydrates: 41g Protein: 36g Fat: 14g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 7g





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