We transform boneless chicken breasts and a variety of vegetables into a scrumptious and colorful appetizer. Our quick, flavor-packed Pesto Sauce (see page 251) is a winning solution to jazzing up these Pesto Chicken Skewers. Serve them as a festive party appetizer or have 2 or 3 skewers as an entrée, served over rice or alongside Crispy Baked Baby Potatoes (see page 170).
- Bamboo skewers
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 yellow squash
- 1 large zucchini
- 16 ounces small white (button) mushrooms
- 1 batch Pesto Sauce, divided (see page 251)
- Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 1 hour before preparing (to prevent charring).
- Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat.
- Chop the chicken breasts, yellow squash, and zucchini into uniform 1-inch cubes.
- Thread a cube of chicken onto a soaked skewer, then a cube of yellow squash, a whole mushroom, and finally a cube of zucchini. Repeat to thread another set of the ingredients on the same skewer. Finally, add a third cube of chicken to top the skewer off. Repeat until you’ve made 10 skewers and you are out of cubed ingredients.
- Brush the skewers with ½ of the Pesto Sauce.
- Place the pesto skewers on the grill, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip, and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the opposite site, just until the vegetables are tender and slicing into a cube of chicken reveals no pink.
- Using a clean brush, brush the remaining ½ of the Pesto Sauce over the cooked skewers before serving.
HELPFUL TIP: These can also be cooked under a broiler set to high by placing the oven rack in the second-highest position. Broil for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Pesto is known for being extremely high in fat and calories thanks to the generous amount of oil it contains. We replicate the same balance of bright basil, toasty pine nuts, sharp garlic, and salty Parmesan with only ⅓ of the olive oil. Now, you can enjoy a full serving of pesto pasta without the guilt!
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Place the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat to toast, shaking the pan to keep them moving, until golden brown and fragrant. Transfer the toasted pine nuts to a food processor.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, except the Parmesan cheese, to the food processor, and pulse in short bursts for 2 minutes to finely grate the pine nuts and combine everything into a sauce.
- Add the Parmesan cheese to the food processor, and pulse for 15 more seconds, just to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.
HELPFUL TIP: Pine nuts can usually be found in a small packet in the baking section of your grocery store. Walnuts or blanched almonds can be used in place of the pine nuts (you should still toast them in step 1); however, the pine nuts really give pesto its classic flavor.