Pesto chicken comes in several variations. Others make theirs with only two ingredients, while specific recipes have many add-ons. Regardless, all versions share these: a basil-based sauce that tastes fresh and vibrant and an affinity for simple yet tasty side dishes.
Yes, as bright-tasting as pesto chicken is, its flavors shine the most when served with an excellent side dish. If you’re stuck on what to serve with pesto chicken, check out this article with its 13 delectable side dish recipes! The list includes carb-based, low-carb, cheesy, and healthy options to suit as many diets as possible.
1. Lemon Pasta
Almost any pasta does wonders with pesto chicken, so feel free to serve it with your favorite. But if you want to explore new flavors and want suggestions, try this lemon pasta recipe! Its zesty, citrusy flavors make a great partner to pesto’s bright, herby profile. The recipe takes only 20 minutes to complete. The ingredients are also easy to find: spaghetti, lemon, olive oil, garlic, and parsley.
For those who can’t have traditional pasta for dietary or personal reasons, consider this healthy and unique alternative: zucchini noodles, often fondly called zoodles. It’s as fun to eat and make as it sounds. Just follow the recipe carefully to avoid overcooking and sogginess. Also, don’t its green-tinted strands make a beautiful backdrop for the rich and verdant pesto sauce?
What rich and saucy dish isn’t perfect with rice? With that said, you wouldn’t regret serving your pesto chicken with a plate full of fragrant and fluffy rice. With the grains absorbing the sauce and juices, you’re sure that every spoonful of your meal is packed with flavor. Moreover, rice is an effortless side dish – you clean the grains, combine them with water, wait for it to cook, and voila!
As tantalizing as rice is, there’s a chance you can’t have them for specific reasons. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be left out of the appetizing picture painted above. Instead, swap your usual warm rice for cauliflower rice! It’s low-carb, healthy, and like the traditional one, effortless to make, especially with a food processor. The textures and flavors may be slightly different, but that doesn’t make it any less delectable.
Besides cauliflower, you can use quinoa as a gluten-free rice alternative. It’s fluffy and has a simple, nutty taste, although the pearls or grains’ shape differs from the usual rice. Quinoa also has more nutrients, like fiber, protein, and vitamins. The cooking procedure is the same, too, as you only have to rinse the pearls, combine them with liquid, and wait for them to cook within 15 minutes.
Couscous looks a lot like quinoa, but they differ in many ways. However, like quinoa, it also makes a great side dish to pesto chicken. This small, pearl-shaped pasta has a unique taste and texture. It’s easy to cook, and the flavors are simple yet zesty if you follow this recipe. There are also garnishes, but you can do without them if you want to focus on the pesto.
7. Garlic Bread
A few slices of crusty bread would be incredible with pesto chicken. But if you want to up the game, use those bread slices to make garlic bread! It’s more flavorful and savory while complementing your pesto chicken. This recipe also uses parmesan cheese, so it’s less cheesy and rich than most garlic bread versions. But if you prefer cheesy, you can go that route, too!
Several pesto chicken recipes include tomatoes – many, many tomatoes. Suppose yours didn’t; serve it with roasted tomatoes instead. The tangy, caramelized flavors suit the pesto sauce well, making them an impeccable pair. Just be sure you’re using big, ripe tomatoes, so they look and taste spectacular. Also, there are more than just tomatoes in this dish; there are herbs, spices, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Vegetable side dishes make a nutritious addition to any pesto chicken meal. You can opt for broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, or carrots, but consider these garlic parmesan green beans. It tastes fresh and savory, the textures are crisp-tender, and the sprinkling of parmesan adds a nice, elegant touch without being overwhelming. It takes only 15 minutes to make, so that you can reserve it as a quick, go-to recipe.
10. Panzanella Salad
Chicken is a favorite protein for salad because it’s juicy, tender, and isn’t too dense or fatty. Regardless of how it’s cooked, you can find a salad that will suit it. For pesto chicken, consider panzanella, an Italian classic. It’s bright and juicy, filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, croutons, bell peppers, onions, and basil. If you’ll notice, some elements, like tomatoes and basil, are strongly associated with pesto.
Pasta and salad go well with pesto chicken. So, why not combine both and serve this Italian pasta salad? It’s fresh and cold, so it’s the perfect option for hot and sunny weather. It has fusilli, tomatoes, salami, peppers, onions, mozzarella balls, and several other ingredients. These many textures, shapes, colors, and sizes give a gravitating visual appeal, so you’re eating with your eyes before your tongue does.
Cheese, especially mozzarella, makes a great partner to pesto chicken. Thus, you might see recipes incorporating the two by topping the chicken with mozzarella before cooking. However, you can also source your cheesy flavors and textures from a side dish, like this cheddar baked zucchini. It looks adorable, with the juicy zucchini circles covered with bright yellow and melted cheddar cheese.
Almost all chicken dishes are recommended with a side of steamed broccoli. But why settle for such plain flavors when you can have a rich, savory, and cheesy broccoli casserole? By opting for this recipe, you get the veggies and cheese perfect with pesto chicken. Moreover, the textures are complex, as the dish combines creamy sauce and crunchy crushed toppings.