There are some recipes that stand the test of time and rightly earn the devotion of my family. This red pepper cilantro pesto nestles right into the middle of that category. Strangely enough, never once have I served this pesto as a pasta sauce, even though “pesto pasta”, with a basil version, is one of our go-to weeknight and “first night of camping” meals, as it’s great either cold or hot.
However, we have veered from pasta as the delivery method for this particular pesto, though I’m sure it would be fantastic. Instead, we serve it with fish, as a spread on sandwiches or dolloped on steak. And now it takes on a new form as a marinade and dipping sauce for chicken kabobs.
I first stumbled on a version of this pesto years ago when I was flipping through one of my issues of Food & Wine Magazine. Bobby Flay, who was featured in the magazine, used it as a sauce for fish. I made a couple of changes and spooned the sauce over some grilled mahi mahi fillets. Begin the family obsession.
The method for preparing the pesto is dead simple – toss some roasted red peppers (see How to: Roast a Bell Pepper), slivered almonds, cilantro and a few other ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend it together to form a sauce that is smooth and flavorful, with an underlying nuttiness and bite of garlic.
While marinating the chicken in the pesto impart a good amount of flavor, these kabobs just aren’t the same without an extra dollop of the sauce for dipping. My PSA for today: Don’t skimp on the pesto!
Other healthy grilled chicken recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Grilled Maple Dijon & Chili Chicken Drumsticks
Cookin’ Canuck’s Smoky Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Maebells’ Honey Chipotle Grilled Chicken
Recipe Tin Eats’ Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken with Zucchini
Real Food Whole Life’s Lemony Chicken Skewers with Greek Chopped Salad
Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Red Pepper Cilantro Pesto Recipe
These grilled chicken kabobs are fantastic for summertime dinners, but the real star of the show is the red pepper cilantro pesto!
- 2 roasted bell peppers, chopped (see How to: Roast a Bell Pepper)
- 3 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 green onions, white parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Soak 6 wooden skewers in warm water for 30 minutes. Alternatively, use metal skewers (no soaking required).
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the roasted red bell peppers, slivered almonds, garlic, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, and lime juice. Pulse until combined.
- While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken in a medium bowl and toss with half of the pesto. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat and lightly brush the grill with oil.
- Thread the chicken onto the skewers, alternating with the green onion pieces.
- Grill until the chicken is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Serve with the remaining pesto.
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