Grilled Pesto Chicken Breasts

I made that table by the way

Every year I spend about a month making pesto — May to be exact. That is when the first crop of arugula is ready for harvest and the local farmers market is in full swing.

I go to the farmers market for basil because, let’s be honest, basil is a pain in the arse to grow. I know it comes up fast, and all, but the flowering stage sets in almost immediately and it never survives the winter. So either I spend a lot of time on a spice that will die each year and have to be replaced or I spend 50 cents a bunch for fresh basil at the market.

Each time I am able to create and freeze enough pesto to last through the year. I love pesto, or my pesto to be exact, but it is something I eat only once or twice a month for the most part. Of course if I ate more of it then I would just grow more arugula and make more ahead of time. I would also have to buy a larger supply of mouthwash or my wife would never kiss me.

One of the great things about pesto is how concentrated the flavor is. In other words a little bit goes a long way. Aside from tossing a scoop with pasta or vegetables it makes a wonderful marinade for any white meat or fish. Add some wine, at least a cup, to 2-3 tablespoons of pesto and toss with chicken, pork or fish and let sit for an hour or so. Grill over direct heat and you are done. This is what I did in the photo above. Below is my recipe for pesto. The measurements are complete guesses since the recipe is built to my taste. Also there are no pine nuts in my pesto. I hate pine nuts. They are one of the very few things I refuse to eat and that is saying something.


  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
  • 4 tablespoons grated Romano

Puree basil, arugula and garlic in blender. Add oil as needed to work into a thick paste. Add cheese to taste. Serve immediately or freeze 2-3 tablespoons per plastic bag. Pesto lasts forever frozen or about three days in refrigerator.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Chicken, Dinner, Food, Grilling/Smoking, Italian, Rants, Recipes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Grilled Pesto Chicken Breasts

  1. I am a pesto lover myself! I have never thought to use arugula…I’ll have to give it a try. Is there a reason you do not use pine nuts? Also, love the wine marinade. Must buy a new grill soon!!!

  2. I’ve just never been a fan of pine nuts. And arugula is a great way to stretch out your budget, if you’re able to grow it like I am.

  3. Pingback: Sowing Arugula (aka planting pesto) | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  4. Pingback: Pizza | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  5. Pingback: Deep dish peach cobblers for two | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  6. Pingback: Return of the Lazy Sunday | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  7. Pingback: Chicken Broccoli Rabe Wraps | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  8. Pingback: Stuffed Leg of Lamb | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  9. Pingback: Pesto Croutons | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  10. Pingback: Basil Beans | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  11. Pingback: Simple Sunday Dinner | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  12. Pingback: Spinach and Pesto Stuffed Pork Loin | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  13. Pingback: Pesto Potatoes | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  14. Eva Taylor says:

    I’ve not considered putting arugula into pesto before but I bet that lovely buttery texture and peppery taste would be wonderful! I live freezing my pesto too, I usually do it in a special savory ice cube tray and then pop them out into a container. That way you can take one out for a sandwich or ten for a pasta!

  15. Pingback: Pesto and Pepper Meatballs | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  16. Pingback: The End of the Arugula | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  17. Pingback: Eggplant and Tomato Sandwiches with Pesto and Feta | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  18. Pingback: Lamb Stuffed with Pesto and Red Pepper | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  19. Pingback: In Our Kitchen: Rain Delays | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  20. Pingback: In Our Kitchen – All Things B | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  21. Pingback: Raw Spinach Stuffed Cornish Hens | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.