Why Pesto?

I love to use pesto in my cooking.  It’s one of my favorite healthy grille bastes because it’s so easy to make, delicious, and truly good for you – especially when you add spinach which gets the hidden extra nutrients in there.  Pesto is one of the best no hassle healthy meal components there is and it can be used for a variety of things, not just chicken, including grilled salmon etc – as you can see here.   Also, keep in mind it’s always economical and time efficient to make a large portion and freeze it for a variety of future meals in a second!  This allows you to save time and money, while being healthy and fun!

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Melanie Mediate | Pesto ChickenGrilled Chicken with Spinach Basil Pesto

Total Time:  23 min
Prep time:  about15 min  /  Cook time:  8 min
Makes about 2-4 servings  /  Difficulty Level:  Easy


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast (preferably organic, preservative free)
  • about 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted* (in sauté pan over medium heat constantly shaking pan-about 2 minutes)
  • about 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin good quality olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan


Heat a grill pan on medium high heat.  Lightly oil the grill pan.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.  Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Melanie Mediate | Spinach PestoCombine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a processor.  Lightly pulse.  With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy.  Add salt and pulse.  Put half of the pesto into ice cube trays and store in the freezer for future use.

Transfer the rest of the spinach mixture to a medium bowl.  Stir in the Parmesan.  Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread the pesto over each piece of chicken and serve.

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Melanie Mediate | Health FitnessMelanie is a San Diego native, a lover of outdoor activities, cooking, friends & family, & is an entrepreneur at heart.  As a personal chef and fitness coach, she has been able to combine her two career passions – which has proven to be an exciting journey.  Inspired by a love for cooking & entertaining, Melanie attended the Art Institute of San Diego and in 2006, she became a personal chef.  Ever since been then, she has been preparing nutritious gourmet meals (personal meal deliveries & private party catering) for residents in La Jolla, Carmel Valley and all over North County San Diego.  Melanie is NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified and is the founder of Rock Body Food.  Melanie truly loves her job of teaching others how to do what she loves & lives herself!


Carmel Valley San Diego Community | RIDE Cyclery Encinitas

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