Southwestern Pesto Chicken

I love pesto of all kinds.  It may just be one of my favorite types of sauce.  It originated in Genoa, Italy, and is traditionally made with basil, garlic, Parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper, pine nuts and olive oil.  Today, pesto can be made with just about anything.  The only requirements are some kind of nuts, some kind of a hard cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil.  The rest is up to you and your imagination.  I was feeling creatively lazy and had to come up with something quick and easy for dinner, because once again, I was pressed for time.  It seems I have been pressed for time all summer, but I digress.  Pesto!  That’s what the sauce will be for dinner.  Pesto is super easy to make, does not take long, and I think almost everything tastes better with pesto.  I decided to try something a little different with my pesto this time too.  I made a delicious Southwestern pesto that I used as both a marinade and a topping for my chicken.  I call it pesto with a punch.


I like open fire-roasted peppers and chilies.  I use them quite a bit.  They are super easy to  make.  Place your peppers directly onto the open flame if you have a gas stove or on the grill and cook until the peppers are completely black on the outside.  Then remove the pepper from the flame and place it in a plastic bag to sweat for at least 1/2 hour.  The blackened skin will just peel right off by rubbing it with your fingers.  Rinse off all the residue skin and use how you like it.  The blackened, charbroiled process really enhances the flavors and gives them a nice smoky taste.  Roasting Peppers


Southwestern Pesto Chicken


1 bunch cilantro, stems removed

1/2 pistachios

1 roasted poblano, seeds removed

1 TBSP garlic

1 tsp cumin

1-2 TBSP Romano cheese

salt & pepper to taste

2 TBSP lime juice

1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 tsp oregano


Put everything into the food processor and blend until everything has made a thick sauce or paste.  Use it as a sauce or a marinade to add to or with your favorite foods.


I rubbed some all over my chicken breasts and let them marinade for about 2-3 hours before grilling them up.  Then I use some of the leftover sauce (not used for the chicken at all) as a topping on my chicken.  I served it over red beans and rice with some grilled corn on the cob.  Vegan Dirty Rice and Andouille Sausage



A simple, quick and easy dinner is served.  Delicioso!




Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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