3-Ingredient Pesto Chicken

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Pesto creates a savory, refreshing, herbaceous flavor. Meanwhile, the chicken is tender, juicy, and baked to mouthwatering perfection. Combined, this 3-ingredient pesto chicken is a satisfying dinner loaded with protein and nutrients. 

Baked chicken pesto recipes dinner. 3 ingredient meal!

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    What can I expect? 

    It’s a “one-pan” meal. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil on top, and add your seasonings. Then, all you have to do is pop it in the oven, and you’re done. 

    Even if this is your first time baking raw chicken, it’s guaranteed to come out perfectly tender and full of flavor. Don’t worry about drying it out! It will be juicy on the inside and golden on the outside. 

    It’s not hard to see why this 3-ingredient pesto chicken is one of our favorite recipes. It requires minimal prep time, dirties up a single pan, and bakes in 45 minutes or less. It’s healthy. The flavor is incredible, and it pairs perfectly with all your favorite side dishes. This pesto chicken is a must-have recipe for your weeknight dinner lineup. 

    Is 3-Ingredient Pesto Chicken healthy? 

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      Let’s look at the main ingredients:

      • Chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on)
      • Avocado oil
      • Pesto

      Avocado oil is a natural, nutritious food source with a list of its own health benefits. 

      But what about chicken thighs? And the chicken skin? Aren’t they both fatty and unhealthy?  

      Neutral Eating has a practical stance on dark meat and chicken skin: 

      If you’re going to eat meat, make full use of the animal. Eating the whole animal is sustainable, nutritious, and humane.

      Both dark meat and chicken skin are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, protein, and natural fat energy. And the stuff is delicious. Doing right by the animal means you get to eat it all. Enjoy the dark meat. Enjoy the skin! Learn more about the Neutral Eating Food Philosophy here.

      But what about pesto? Is it healthy? 

      Made with nutritious ingredients including garlic, pine nuts, basil, and hard cheese, pesto is full of vitamins, antioxidants, and natural fat energy. But if everyone consumed dairy and nuts all the time, farming and harvesting would become abusive and unsustainable…

      Let’s be mindful of our dairy and nut intake. Buy products that are sourced from natural ingredients and made using sustainable methods, and try to limit intake. 

      3-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Tips

      1. Use a meat thermometer

      Place a meat thermometer in a chicken thigh after 30 minutes of cooking. Continue to bake until it reads 170 F. This ensures the chicken is cooked all the way through and is safe to eat. 

      2. Serve it with all your favorite sides

      Turn this chicken into a complete meal by serving it over shirataki rice or cauliflower rice to soak up any extra juices and pesto sauce. Or, pair it with sides like roasted radishes (aka low carb potatoes), asparagus, or veggies for a filling, low-carb dinner. 

      3. Check your pesto ingredients

      Pesto is healthy when it’s made with the right ingredients. Next time you’re buying a jar, take a second to read the ingredient list. Look for items you recognize and can easily pronounce. Avoid seed oils like sunflower seed oil, soybean oil, or canola oil. Or, make your own pesto at home! 

      4. Meal prep

      This 2-ingredient pesto chicken is quick and easy to prepare, which makes it a great option for meal prep. Store the extra chicken in a glass container with a lid in the fridge. To reheat, place a cut of chicken on a plate, spoon some extra pesto on top, and put it in the microwave. We suggest a microwave cover to avoid splatter. 

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      Feasting on bold, flavorful food and staying healthy are not mutually exclusive. Fill your kitchen with foods that taste good and are good for you.

        3-Ingredient Pesto Chicken

        Print Recipe
        2-Ingredient Pesto Chicken
        Prep Time:10 minutes
        Cook Time:30 minutes




        • Preheat oven to 400 F.
        • Pat chicken thighs dry and place in oven safe baking dish.
        • Drizzle with oil and lightly cover with salt and pepper.
        • Add the pesto and massage it into the chicken.
        • Optional: For more flavor, let marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
        • Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes until golden brown (until internal temperature reaches 165 F).
        • Take out of baking dish to rest (so it doesn’t keep cooking).
        • Pour over juices to serve.
        • Optional: Sprinkle with parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (vegan)
        • Optional: Sprinkle with lemon



        Please let us know how it turned out! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #neutraleating
        Recipe from Neutral Eating: https://neutraleating.com/2-ingredient-pesto-chicken
        Servings: 4
        Author: Neutral Eating

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