Pesto Chicken

A tasty way to use up leftover roasted chicken. Serve hot or cold. 

Pesto Chicken

Got leftover roasted chicken? Try this recipe for pesto chicken. You need some time to marinate the chicken, but other than that, it comes together pretty quickly. This recipe is based on 1 pound (454 g) of leftover chicken; simply increase or decrease the ingredients if you have a different amount. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Marinating Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: Italian, North American
Keyword: Chicken, Dinner, Leftovers, Supper
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 pound cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 tsp of La Bomba antipasto, or more to taste optional
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
  • 2-3 cocktail tomatoes, thinly sliced


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice. or more, to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil


  • Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate. Let marinate for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally to distribute the marinade. 
  • Remove chicken from the refrigerator about 1 hour before cooking so it can come to room temperature. You can stop here and just serve the chicken as is, or continue for a hot dish. (See Notes, below.)
  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C). 
  • If you are using La Bomba, add it to the pesto and stir. (See Notes, below.)
  • After the chicken has been at room temperature for an hour, add the pesto/La Bomba to it and stir well to coat the chicken. Place the chicken in an 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) shallow baking dish.
  • Sprinkle Parmesan on top of chicken, then lay tomato slices on top to cover the chicken.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until chicken is heated through and tomatoes start to dry out a bit. You can also broil for a few minutes to roast the tomatoes a little more. 
  • Remove from the oven. Serve chicken with a slotted spoon over rice or pasta. (See Notes, below.)


  • The marinated chicken is really good as is and would work well in a chicken salad or wrap. You can toss a little La Bomba with it to spice it up if you like.
  • La Bomba is a spicy antipasto spread. Although 19 years old, this blurb from the Globe & Mail describes it very well. And, yes, the Allessia brand is still around. It’s the variety I buy. 
  • Because pesto is very oily, there may be a fair amount of oil in the bottom of your baking dish.  Do not worry about this. The oil keeps the chicken moist but does not make it greasy. This is why I recommend a slotted spoon for serving. You can toss some of the oil with your rice or pasta if you like.

Image of chicken by Larisa Balatskaya |

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