Paleo Pesto Chicken

I LOVE having the kind of friends that call you up spur of the moment and say, “Hey! I want y’all to meet my new girl…can we come for dinner tonight?!  You cook!  We’ll bring wine and dessert?!”  Seriously, those are my most favorite people in the whole world!  I panicked for about 20 minutes until I decided I’m just going to throw something together and hope for the best!

So, I made a chicken dish I’ve never made before… Under normal circumstances I would’ve made something I knew was a crowd pleaser… BUT… I was feeling a bit optimistic and went out on a limb.  I made a GREEN chicken dish for a girl I had never met before.  Yep.  That’s what I did.  GREEN.  PESTO.  CHICKEN.  I like colorful meals.  I can’t help it.  Maybe that was a bit much? But…she seemed to have enjoyed it…and her new beau went back for seconds or thirds!  They were adorable!  Our new favorite couple for sure! 🙂

So, here’s what I did!

Pesto Ingredients: Make this FIRST!

Yields: 1 cup

  • 2 cups fresh basil, packed tight
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste


Throw everything in a blender or food processor and blend away until it becomes saucy!  (It’ll be a little bit thicker than a sauce.) Taste your seasonings… Put it in a bowl and refrigerate until you need it.


Chicken and Sauce:

Yields: 4-6 people

  • 3-4 lbs chicken, breast or thighs (bone-in, skinless), washed and pat dry and seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides
  • 2 tbsp of fat (I use equal parts of butter and olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • couple pinches of cayenne pepper
  • salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees!

1.  In a large skillet on medium-high heat, melt your fat.  Add the chicken to the pan, what would be skin-side-down.

chicken cooking

2.  Let the chicken brown on both sides for about 5 minutes.

chicken cooking2

3.  Once the chicken has browned, put it in an oven safe dish.  Pour 1/2 cup of chicken stock on or around the chicken.  Cover with foil.  I covered mine so it wouldn’t dry out.  Bake for 25-30 minutes OR until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

chicken in pan for oven USE THIS ONE

4.  While the chicken cooks, make the sauce!  In a skillet or saucepan, whatever you prefer, add the remaining chicken stock and coconut milk.  Bring this to a boil on medium-high heat.  Whisk in the slurry (cornstarch and water).  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Continue whisking until everything is well incorporated.  TASTE the sauce.  Adjust the seasoning to your liking.  Let the sauce simmer until your chicken has cooked.

pesto sauce


finished plate



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