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Pesto Chicken with Corn and Bean Salsa

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


Chicken (Note 1)

  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 and 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 1 cup buttermilk optional
  • 1/4 cup white flour optional
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil optional

Bean and Corn Salsa

  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted corn or 2 ears fresh corn (Note 2)
  • 1 large avocado pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil + 2 teaspoons oil from the jar julienne cut (Note 3)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons juice)


  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups chicken stock or veggie stock (water also works)
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 container (7 ounces) basil pesto sauce store-bought or homemade
  • 2 large lemons (2 tablespoons juice + additional wedges for serving)
  • Optional: fresh basil for topping


  • CHICKEN 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.


Note 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.


Calories: 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