Home > Dinner > Pesto Chicken with Corn & Bean Salsa Pesto Chicken with Corn & Bean Salsa April 21, 2019 | 17 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Delicious Pesto Chicken bowls with lemon chicken, and an amazing avocado and corn salsa. This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly! Pesto Chicken is an all-in-one meal with a base, protein, and salad (in the form of the avocado-corn salsa). So while sides aren’t necessary, this Bruschetta or Italian Salad would be great accompaniments to this meal. The other day I saw fresh corn on the cob in the produce section and got embarrassingly excited. There are few things I love as much as fresh grilled corn. I’ll find just about any excuse to add fresh corn to any dish I’m making. So naturally, corn made it into these Pesto Chicken bowls! If I can pick a favorite recipe of 2019, Pesto Chicken is IT. Not only is this meal incredibly flavorful, but it also ticks all the boxes: healthy, filling, and simple to make. How to make Pesto Chicken Pesto couscous: Couscous is fast and easy to make. In fact, it can be ready in about 10 minutes, which is a nice break from other grains that take 20+ minutes. To infuse the couscous with plenty of flavor, we stir in some pesto and a little bit of lemon juice. Chicken: The chicken is made with a 1-ingredient marinade (yes, really!) and then sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning before cooking. (More on the chicken prep below.) Avocado-Corn Salsa: This salsa simple and is the highlight of this dinner. It doesn’t require a lot of chopping which is a nice departure from most salsa recipes. Assemble: Pesto couscous goes first, chicken next, plenty of the avocado corn salsa, and finish it all off with a nice big scoop of pesto! QUICK TIP Canned beans are nearly always drained and rinsed. That helps reduce the sodium content (salt) in your finished recipe. The only exception to the drain-and-rinse technique is chili or ranch beans, since they contain a sauce, and also refried beans, because…well, you just can’t. A few quick tips Fresh pesto: The pesto you use can make or break this dish. Avoid jarred pesto and go for freshly made basil pesto at your store. (I love Buitoni® basil pesto — not sponsored). While this dish calls for store-bought pesto to make it a quick and easy meal, you can certainly make your own pesto for this meal. Sun-dried tomatoes: The other crucial ingredient to this dish is the sundried tomatoes. Make sure to select sundried tomatoes that have been packed in oil and julienne cut to make the salsa prep quick (picture above). The oil from the tomatoes will also be used in the salsa. Grill the corn: While you don’t have to grill the corn on the cob, it is incredible when cooked this way! To grill corn on the cob: Peel back husks and remove silk. Rub vegetable oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred. Remove, let cool, and then slice off the cob. You can also use this same method for a grill pan. (Alternatively, you can sauté corn in a skillet: sauté (drained or completely thawed) corn kernels in a preheated large cast-iron skillet for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until kernels are lightly charred over high heat. Remove and let cool completely before adding.) Dietary Modifications Vegetarian: We’ve made this meal without meat countless times. Simply leave out the chicken and serve the pesto couscous with salsa on top plus more pesto! It’s surprisingly filling just like that and the beans provide the protein. Plus, it’s even quicker to make vegetarian (20-minute prep time or less!). Dairy free: This meal is naturally dairy-free (as long as the buttermilk marinade is not used) and the pesto is cheese free. Change up the protein: Grilled steak would also be delicious in this meal. You can also use thighs in place of breasts for this Pesto Chicken meal. Variations on Pesto Chicken Change up the salsa: Try this Mango Salsa in place of the corn and white bean salsa. Don’t want beans? Try this corn and avocado salsa instead. Different base: Use quinoa (how to cook quinoa guide here) in place of the couscous. More on the chicken Marinate: Use the marinade recipe below or my famous grilled chicken marinade. For the QUICKEST marinade ever: submerge (halved and pounded to even thickness) chicken breasts into buttermilk for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Remove, pat dry, and proceed with the recipe! If you don’t have buttermilk, but do have regular milk, you can even make your own DIY buttermilk. For the lemon pepper seasoning, use your favorite blend (I like McCormick’s® lemon & pepper seasoning best or Mrs. Dash’s®.) You can even make your own if you like. Similar chicken dinners Cuban Mojo Chicken with a citrus salsa Chicken Taco Bowls with an avocado-corn salsa Bruschetta Chicken Cilantro Lime Chicken with a mango salsa Pesto Chicken Tortellini made in one pot A lot of ingredients overlap (particularly fresh lemon), but have been written out twice for easier reading. FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Pesto Chicken with Corn and Bean Salsa 5 from 6 votes - Review this recipe Delicious Pesto Chicken with lemon chicken, avocado & corn salsa, and plenty of pesto! This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Pesto Chicken with Corn and Bean Salsa 5 from 6 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Delicious Pesto Chicken with lemon chicken, avocado & corn salsa, and plenty of pesto! This easy dinner recipe is made with nutritious ingredients and whips together quickly! Course Dinner, Main Course Cuisine American, Healthy Keyword pesto chicken Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Servings 4 large servings Calories 786kcal Author Chelsea IngredientsChicken (Note 1)Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper1 and 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)1 cup buttermilk optional1/4 cup white flour optional1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning1 tablespoon unsalted butter optional1 tablespoon olive oil optionalBean and Corn Salsa1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans drained, rinsed1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted corn or 2 ears fresh corn (Note 2)1 large avocado pitted, peeled and chopped2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil + 2 teaspoons oil from the jar julienne cut (Note 3)2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped1 large lemon (3 tablespoons juice)Bowls2 cups couscous2 cups chicken stock or veggie stock (water also works)2 teaspoons butter1 container (7 ounces) basil pesto sauce store-bought or homemade2 large lemons (2 tablespoons juice + additional wedges for serving)Optional: fresh basil for topping InstructionsCHICKEN PREP: Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to form 4 chicken cutlets. Cover with plastic wrap and pound (use the bottom of a frying pan or meat mallet) to get the halves into even pieces (they don't need to be super thin, just equal thickness throughout). If marinating, place the chicken in a large plastic bag or similar container and cover with buttermilk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 8 hours. When done marinating, remove from buttermilk, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt.COOK CHICKEN: Grill/Grill Pan: Preheat the grill to about 400 degrees F (grill pan to medium-high heat). Make sure your grill grates or ridges of grill pan) are clean and greased. To grease, dredge a paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it all over the grate. Evenly sprinkle both sides of the chicken generously with lemon pepper seasoning. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through (about 4-6 minutes per side, depending on the heat of the grill and thickness of chicken) Chicken should be at 165 degrees F at its thickest part. Tent with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly or cut into small pieces. Skillet: In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour and lemon pepper seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, turning to coat evenly. Place the chicken in the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes per side or until done (add more olive oil if needed). Remove the chicken from the pan, place on a plate, tent with foil, and rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly or chop into small pieces.SALSA: Combine the drained and rinsed white beans, drained corn (or corn cut from the cob) chopped avocado, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of the oil from the tomatoes, chopped basil, lemon juice, and salt + pepper to taste in a medium-sized bowl. (I add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.)COUSCOUS: Meanwhile, pour the chicken stock, veggie stock, or water to a small pot. Add in the butter and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat. Stir in the couscous and cover the pot with a lid. After about 2-3 minutes the liquid should be absorbed; fluff with a fork. Stir in 1/3 cup pesto, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and about 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper (again to personal preference on salt and pepper).ASSEMBLE:: Fill 4 bowls with even amounts of the pesto couscous. Arrange the cooked chicken on top and add generous amounts of the salsa to the side. If desired, add a wedge of lemon to each bowl. Spoon the remaining pesto evenly over the bowls. Enjoy immediately. Recipe NotesNote 1: You can marinate the chicken in buttermilk or forgo a marinade entirely. Also, the flour and butter will only be used if you're cooking the chicken in a skillet. If grilling/using a grill pan, the flour and butter are not necessary. Note 2: To grill corn on the cob, peel back husks and remove silk. Rub vegetable oil on all sides of the corn and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place on heated grill (400 degrees F) and rotate every 3-4 minutes or until charred. Remove, let cool, and then slice off the cob. You can also use this same method for a grill pan. Note 3: I buy the julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes to save some chopping time and they're perfect for the salsa. Nutrition FactsCalories: 786kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 467mg | Potassium: 1463mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 3mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.