Grilled Chicken with Spring Garlic & Kale Pesto

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30 minutes
30 minutes
Grilled Chicken with Spring Garlic & Kale Pesto

This spring garlic and kale pesto is a fun twist on the more traditional basil-based version. Super versatile, this pesto can be put on chicken, steak, or even tofu! If you are more of a fish person, you can also check out our recipe for this pesto on salmon! If you want to skip the protein altogether, simply toss this pesto with your favorite pasta and enjoy it! We suggest serving alongside some oven-roasted potatoes, but you can also put this whole dish over pasta!

What are spring garlic and garlic scapes?

Spring green garlic is the thinnings of the garlic growing process while garlic scapes are the part of the garlic bulb that comes above ground in spring. Cutting them gives the garlic more energy to grow its bulb while providing us with a delightful gourmet treat! Both green spring garlic and garlic scapes taste like a mix of mild garlic and scallions. 


  • 1.5lb chicken breast

  • 1 cluster vine tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

  • 1.25lbs of fingerling or yukon gold potatoes.

  • salt and pepper to taste for potatoes and tomatoes.

For the pesto

  • 2 cups garlic scapes or green spring garlic

  • 2 cups packed kale leaves

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese (can be omitted if you are dairy free)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt for pesto

  • 1 lemon juiced

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper for pesto

  • (optional)1/2 cup of pine nuts, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds)


Make the Pesto:

Put the garlic scapes, kale, olive oil, lemon juice, cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and process until finely chopped. If you do not have a way to blend, you can chop by hand; it just takes a bit longer. This can be made ahead and kept in the fridge. 

Roast Potatoes (optional) side  - Toss some whole fingerling, or halved yukon gold potatoes in a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in an over on medium high heat until fully cooked (about 20-30 minutes). NOTE: If you do not feel like turning on the oven, you can wrap your potatoes in foil and put on the grill. These will take about 30-40 minutes on the grill. If you have a charcoal grill you can place the foil pouch right on the coals before putting your grill down to grill your chicken. 

Marinate and Grill chicken:

At least 30 minutes before cooking, but up to 24 hours prior coat chicken in pesto. If marinating longer than 30 minutes place in refrigerator.

Place your chicken on a medium heat grill. Grilled for 5-6 minutes on each side. Make sure to keep the lid closed for a portion of the cooking time so it cooks through without burning. Remove when fully cooked. 

Grill Tomatoes: At the same time as the chicken you can place some vine tomatoes (drizzled in olive oil) on the grill. Grill lightly for several minutes until slightly shriveled and charred. Remove and sprinkle with sea salt. 

Serve: We suggest slicing your chicken breast tand scooping some fresh scape pesto over your chicken. Serve alongside your roasted potatoes and grilled tomatoes. Enjoy!


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