These grilled chicken kabobs are fantastic for summertime dinners, but the real star of the show is the red pepper cilantro pesto!
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
- 2 roasted bell peppers chopped (see How to: Roast a Bell Pepper)
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds toasted
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 pound 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.
Disclosure: This post contains links to my Amazon affiliate page. Any revenue made from sales through these links helps to support this blog. Thank you!
I made it yesterday after my friend shared this post with me. I made it today and my entire family went ga ga over the recipe.
We made this last night and OMG, that sauce is so good! There's a little bit of the pesto leftover and I can't wait to spread it on my sandwich today.
I would NEVER skimp on the pesto 🙂 This pesto makes a great topped for such a classic summertime dish. I love grilling and I love red peppers so I'm set with this recipe!
Colleen (Souffle Bombay)
OOOOH, another smart & different dish Dara! Lovely!
Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah's Cucina Bella)
Those look and sound incredible. And I agree -- never skimp on the pesto!
I love this recipe, I'm a sucker for red peppers. This has to happen asap.
Rose | The Clean Dish
I would love to try this pesto! I'm always on the lookout for new pesto recipes. Food & Wine has some good features! I'll probably go with the fish but these chicken kabobs look fantastic!
Aggie | Aggie's Kitchen
It's been too long since I've grilled kabobs. That pesto sounds delicious Dara, loving this recipe!
Renee - Kudos Kitchen
That pesto sounds incredibly flavorful! At first I thought those scallions was lemon grass pieces which I've never used before. I do love scallions though.
Red Pepper Cilantro Pesto? Girl. You Nailed It.
Angie | Big Bear's Wife
Oh why can't my chicken kabobs ever look this good?! These would just be fantastic for grilling out this weekend!
Heather | girlichef
I would NEVER skimp on this pesto! I do love the sound of it on fish, but these chicken kabobs look nothing short of deeeelicious - you can just see the flavor.
Martha @ A Family Feast
That pesto sounds incredible! What a delicious way to change up grilled chicken!
What a fabulous pesto idea. I bet it is fantastic on fish! Your kabobs are tempting me so and they are so perfect for summer grilling season!!
Absolutely love these kabobs, make them during the summer all the time and these are just what my family would eat!!!
Holy moly, gorgeous pesto and chicken skewers. Love how your took that extra step to roast and peel the bell peppers. Delicious!
We love kabobs in the summer. This pesto sounds terrific!
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.
This looks wonderful Dara! This recipe is going on my menu this week!
Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
Ooooo I am loving all of these bold flavors!! Love the almond addition too - yes please!!