Golden-fried chicken served in a delectable, garlicky, creamy sauce, laced with tangy parmesan, herby pesto and pops of sweet cherry tomatoes. You’d think this indulgent dish took hours of effort but, amazingly, you can make it at home in only 20 minutes using just one pan. The chicken sits on a bed of fresh zucchini (courgette) noodles (zoodles/courgetti), which is a fun way of getting the kids to eat their veg – especially if you use a spiraliser or julienne peeler! You only need a few simple, low-cost ingredients for this super versatile dish, and you can easily add any vegetables lurking in the fridge.

This Creamy Pesto Chicken with Zoodles is a satisfying and nourishing meal on its own, but you could serve it with rice, pasta, mashed potatoes or garlic bread.

Creamy Pesto Chicken with Zoodles can be paired with pretty much any sides, such as rice, pasta, mashed potato or garlic bread, but the dish is satisfying enough to be served on its own. Although easy to whip up on busy weeknights, it’s also impressive enough for entertaining – ideal for guests who pop round at short notice! If you want to go all out, you can use your own homemade pesto, but I use good-quality store-bought pesto to save time, washing up and stress. This is really a dish fit for any occasion! Don’t be surprised if this quickly becomes a family favourite as it has with mine.

What should I serve with Creamy Pesto Chicken?

Anything that will soak up the delicious creamy sauce will work well – rice, pasta, Freezer-friendly Mashed Potato, 5 Minute Garlic Bread or cauliflower rice (which you can even buy frozen from the supermarket) are all delicious serving suggestions. To amp up the vegetables, add a side of steamed greens (we love broccolini or green beans) and a green leafy salad.

What other vegetables could I add?

You can use up to 2 cups of vegetables of your choice in this recipe – make sure you add them and cook them to your liking just before adding the tomatoes (or you can use them in place of the tomatoes). Some delicious vegetable options include semi-dried (sun-blushed) tomatoes, roasted jarred capsicum (bell pepper), shredded kale, frozen peas, sliced green beans or broccoli. For extra depth of flavour, you can add ½ cup (65 g) diced bacon or chorizo to the pan just after the garlic. You could also add 2 handfuls of baby spinach in the last few minutes of cooking.

Creamy Pesto Chicken with Zoodles
Caramelised chicken breast is cooked in a delicious garlicky, creamy pesto sauce, served with zucchini (courgette) noodles and fresh cherry tomatoes, then topped with parmesan and basil.

Could I make this using fish or seafood?

Yes! You could replace the chicken with either 4 skinless firm white fish fillets, such as ling, snapper, basa, hoki, perch, flathead, cod, grouper (US and UK: halibut, haddock, pollock, sea bass, turbot) or 20 peeled, deveined prawns (shrimp). If using fish, cook for 2 minutes on each side. If using prawns, cook for 1 minute on each side before progressing with the rest of the recipe.              

Can I spice it up?

Yes! My husband and I regularly serve our portions of chicken with a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes. It offers a nice little pop of heat, which works beautifully with the creamy, luscious sauce.   

What are some other similar chicken dishes that are quick and easy to make?

If you loved this recipe, you’re sure to like: 

Creamy Tomato Chicken Risoni (Orzo)

Creamy Garlic Chicken

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Creamy Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

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Creamy Pesto Chicken with Zoodles

Creamy Pesto Chicken with Zoodles

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5 from 3 reviews

This quick and easy dish is as suitable for feeding the family as it is for entertaining. Only simple, low-cost ingredients, 20 minutes and one pan are required for this impressive but stress-free Creamy Pesto Chicken with Zoodles.

  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally to make 4 thinner “steaks”
  • ½ tsp salt, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced garlic
  • 250 g (9 oz) cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250 ml) thick (double/heavy) cream
  • 4 large zucchini (courgettes), thinly sliced or cut into zoodles (courgetti) (see note 1), or just use thinly sliced zucchini
  • ⅔ cup (160 g) pesto, store-bought or homemade, plus ¼ cup (60 g) extra to garnish (optional)
  • ¼ cup (25 g) grated parmesan, plus extra to garnish
  • ¼ bunch basil, leaves picked, to garnish, to garnish

Instructions

Notes

Note 1 – Use a spiraliser or julienne peeler to cut the zucchini (courgette) into long, thin strips OR simply slice the zucchini as thinly as you can. You can also buy zoodles (zucchini “spaghetti”, courgetti) from the fresh fruit and vegetable section at the supermarket. These do come at an additional expense (it can be cheaper to make your own) and also don’t last as long in the fridge, but they are a great option when you need dinner on the table extra quickly.

Make ahead

Chicken – Season the chicken with the spice mix and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Vegetables – Wash the tomatoes and slice the zucchini (courgettes) or vegetables of choice, and refrigerate in an airtight container or reusable sandwich bag for up to 2 days.

Leftovers

Refrigerate Creamy Pesto Chicken for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months – slice the chicken and ensure it’s covered with sauce to avoid freezer-burn. Thaw completely in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1–2 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through. The sauce will lose a bit of creaminess and become more oil-based as the milk fats separate from the milk solids, but it will still taste delicious! Because this recipe is so quick and easy to make, I prefer to make it fresh, but always make enough so that I have leftovers for lunch the next day!

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Main dish, chicken, one pan
  • Method: pan
  • Cuisine: Italian, Australian, American