Homemade Pesto (Chicken Caprese Sandwich)

I feel like this is very quickly turning more into a cooking blog than anything else, but alas, I keep making yummy things and I want to share them with the world.

I used to work right across from a CVS, and although it doesn’t sound like CVS would be a good place to grab lunch, they had a pesto caprese sandwich that was delicious and I would run across the street to grab one at least once every two weeks or so. Sadly, since CVS changed their food options and I no longer work near one, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to enjoy that lunch. So, when I found a recipe for homemade pesto, I knew exactly what I was going to use it for (with several modifications to make it healthier). And I’m glad I did!

This was pretty easy to make. I think my food processor is quickly becoming one of my favorite kitchen tools – it makes cooking so fast and easy! I’ve also learned that “marinating” chicken breasts in either lemon or lime juice and cooking them on the stove is a super fast and easy way to make really yummy and versatile chicken, so I did that here. I prefer thin-sliced chicken breasts cause they’re about one serving and they cook faster. I also used the technique for my guacamole chicken recipe.

I happened to put my sandwich on a whole wheat pita, because that’s what I had, but you can certainly put it on something else. In fact, I’d probably recommend it; the pita wasn’t quite thick enough for this sandwich. CVS used a baguette, which I think would be preferable.

Finally, although this sandwich wasn’t necessarily low cal, it was necessarily delicious so I think it was worth the slightly higher caloric value. And despite the (still moderate) calories, it’s full of protein and healthy fats so it’s still, by all means, a healthy lunch! Without further ado, I present to you the recipe (which makes one serving, as always):

Your choice in bread
For the chicken:
1 thin-sliced chicken breast
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp basil (I used dried)
For the sandwich:
1 oz fresh mozzarella
3 slices of tomato
For the pesto:
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/2 clove garlic*
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp plain greek yogurt

*I used a whole clove of garlic because I don’t like to waste, but there was a very strong garlic flavor. This was fine for me since I really love garlic, but the average human being will probably want to cut back a bit, which is why I recommend using half a clove instead.

1) Heat skillet sprayed with Pam (or you can use butter/oil) over medium heat. Place chicken breast in a plastic bag with lemon juice and shake/tilt/whatever to marinate for 1-2 minutes.
2) Pour contents of bag (chicken and lemon juice) into the skillet. Sprinkle one side of the chicken with half the dried basil, allow to cook for two minutes, and then flip and sprinkle the other side with remaining basil. Allow another two minutes to cook. I usually like to flip mine for one more minute on each side, just in case, but that may not be necessary. The juices of your chicken will run clear once it’s cooked. Remove chicken from heat and set aside.
3) Put fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan in a food processor. Blend. Because I’m impatient and there wasn’t much actually in the food processor I left mine rather chunky, but if you’re less hungry than I was or making more servings you can wait until it’s smooth.
4) Add olive oil to pesto mixture in the food processor and blend until combined.
5) Add greek yogurt to the bowl of the food processor and mix with pesto mixture, by hand (I used the scraping stick that came with my food processor, but a spoon would be fine too). I also removed the blades to do this because that made it much easier. It pretty much doubled the amount of pesto I had – so don’t worry if it seems like there’s not much there before this step.
6) Arrange the mozzarella on one slice of the bread (or half of the pita/baguette/whatever). Top mozzarella with chicken breast, and then with the slices of tomato. Spread pesto on the other slice of bread and then place it on top; this was easier than trying to spread the pesto on the tomatoes.

With Pam instead of oil or butter and low-fat mozzarella, this sandwich will end up being about 310 calories plus the calories in whatever bread you decide to use (my pita had 150).

Enjoy! 🙂

Chicken Pesto Front

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