Pesto Chicken + Veggie Skewers

Pesto Chicken Skewers Nutritiously Rooted

I love pesto. And I try to make it as often as possible because, in my opinion, it goes with everything! The great thing about pesto is that is can be pretty versatile as well. You can swap the pine nuts for cashews, like I did in this recipe because I had cashews on hand, and you can make it vegan by using nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese. It’s really up to you. Both versions taste great! Check out this post for my original homemade basil pesto recipe. Or check out the recipe below:

Pesto Recipe

PESTO INGREDIENTS

Makes about 1.5 cups. This recipe can be made vegan + paleo by using nutritional yeast instead Parmesan cheese. 

  • 1 tightly packed cup fresh basil leaves, large stems removed
  • ¼ cup pine nuts OR cashews
  • Juice from ½ small lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic, peeled + chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast [I use the Bragg’s® brand] OR ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Pesto Ingredients

PESTO DIRECTIONS

In the bowl of a food processor, add basil, pine nuts OR cashews, garlic, lemon, lemon zest, salt + pepper. Process until finely chopped. Scrape down sides of bowl if needed. Then, while food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Process until thoroughly combined. Last, add nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese and run food processor until all ingredients are well combined. Scoop into a storage container or mason jar and store in fridge until needed. Will store well for up to one week.

* for the skewers you will use half of the pesto mixture to marinate your chicken and the other half to baste your chicken while it’s being grilled. If you have any other leftovers you can use it as a dipping sauce for your skewers!

Pesto

I love veggies, too! The more color the better. For my Pesto Chicken + Veggie skewers I chose to use:
  • yellow summer squash
  • zucchini
  • red bell pepper
  • orange bell pepper
  • red onion
  • 2 small sweet potatoes [not pictured]
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks [not pictured]

 

Skewers - Veggies

When it comes to chopping up your veggies for skewers you want to think about a couple of things:

[1] cut up the veggies into similar sizes so they will cook at a similar rate

[2] soften your harder veggies [i.e. sweet potatoes] ahead of time so they will be cooked evenly along with your softer veggies [full directions below!]

 

Skewers - Veggies Chopped

Three prep steps to keep in mind to make dinner simpler + quicker [pictured below]:

[1] chop veggies + fruit, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, sea salt + black pepper.

[2] cube chicken + marinate in homemade pesto mixture.

[3] soak wooden skewers in water to prevent burning.

 

Pesto Chicken Skewers Before Assembly

These babies are ready for the grill! Check out the full recipe + directions below.

And remember that a lot of stuff can be done ahead of time to make dinner that much simpler. You can chop all your veggies ahead of time, chop the chicken, make the pesto and get your chicken marinating. Then all that you have to do is assemble your skewers and grill.

 

Pesto Chicken Skewers Assembled

Pesto Chicken + Veggie Skewers

servings: about 6 [makes approximately 18 skewers]

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 summer squash, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped [any color of bell pepper will work great]
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped [any color of bell pepper will work great]
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, skin scrubbed, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks [canned will work, but fresh tastes so much better!]
  • about 1.5 pounds organic chicken thighs or 6 thighs [large pieces of fat removed], chopped into bite-size pieces
  • about 1.5 cups homemade basil pesto, halved
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, for veggies
  • pinch sea salt + black pepper, for seasoning veggies
  • about 18 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least one hour

DIRECTIONS

Add skewers to bowl of water and let soak for at least one hour to prevent burning when placed on the grill. Make homemade pesto [directions above or at this link]. Add chopped chicken thighs into bowl and add ½ of pesto mixture. Stir to coat all chicken well, cover with lid and let marinate in fridge for one hour. You can marinate overnight as well. Store other half of pesto in fridge until ready to use. Add washed sweet potatoes to boiling pot of water for 10-15 minutes until softened. Set aside and let cool. Wash + chop the following into similar bite-size pieces: summer squash, zucchini, red and orange bell pepper, red onion. Once sweet potatoes are cooled, chop into similar bite-size pieces. Add all veggies, sweet potatoes and pineapple chunks into large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt + pepper. Stir to coat and season all veggies. Set aside until ready to assemble skewers.

TO ASSEMBLE:

In any order that you prefer, add chicken and veggies to skewers, leaving about 2 inches at the bottom of each skewer for handling. Make sure to puncture ingredients as close to the middle as possible to prevent them from falling off the skewer when cooking.

TO GRILL:

Add skewers to hot grill. Baste one side of the skewer with leftover pesto mixture. Grill for about 10 minutes. Flip skewers, baste second side of skewer with additional pesto. Let cook for another 8-10 minutes. Chicken should be cooked through and veggies slightly softened. Remove from grill and enjoy!

Pair these delicious Pesto Chicken + Veggie skewers with any of your favorite sides. We had organic grilled corn on the cob with them last week and it was the perfect summertime dinner!

Pesto Chicken + Veggie Skewers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: about 18
Ingredients
  • 1 summer squash, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped [any color of bell pepper will work great]
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped [any color of bell pepper will work great]
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, skin scrubbed, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks [canned will work, but fresh tastes so much better!]
  • about 1.5 pounds organic chicken thighs or 6 thighs [large pieces of fat removed], chopped into bite-size pieces
  • about 1.5 cups homemade basil pesto, halved
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, for veggies
  • pinch sea salt + black pepper, for seasoning veggies
  • about 18 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least one hour
Instructions
  1. Add skewers to bowl of water and let soak for at least one hour to prevent burning when placed on the grill.
  2. Make homemade pesto [directions above].
  3. Add chopped chicken thighs into bowl and add ½ of pesto mixture. Stir to coat all chicken well, cover with lid and let marinate in fridge for one hour. You can marinate overnight as well.
  4. Store other half of pesto in fridge until ready to use.
  5. Add washed sweet potatoes to boiling pot of water for 10-15 minutes until softened. Set aside and let cool.
  6. Wash + chop the following into similar bite-size pieces: summer squash, zucchini, red and orange bell pepper, red onion.
  7. Once sweet potatoes are cooled, chop into similar bite-size pieces.
  8. Add all veggies, sweet potatoes and pineapple chunks into large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt + pepper. Stir to coat and season all veggies. Set aside until ready to assemble skewers.
  9. TO ASSEMBLE:
  10. In any order that you prefer, add chicken and veggies to skewers, leaving about 2 inches at the bottom of each skewer for handling. Make sure to puncture ingredients as close to the middle as possible to prevent them from falling off the skewer when cooking.
  11. TO GRILL:
  12. Add skewers to hot grill. Baste one side of the skewer with leftover pesto mixture. Grill for about 10 minutes. Flip skewers, baste second side of skewer with additional pesto. Let cook for another 8-10 minutes. Chicken should be cooked through and veggies slightly softened. Remove from grill and enjoy!

Pesto Chicken Skewers Nutritiously Rooted

 

Let me know what you thought of this recipe in the comments below!

 

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Angela Freed

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