Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwich Recipe
on Focaccia Bread
Enjoy this delicious grilled chicken pesto sandwich topped with melted mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes, basil pesto and arugula (or sprouts) on yummy focaccia bread. This pesto chicken sandwich is perfect those backyard gatherings or any occasion.
Make sure to check out our recipe video below!
Disclosure: I am participating in the Chicken Farmers of Canada campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.
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Chicken Pesto Sandwich Recipe Variations
If you don't like sundried tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, focaccia bread etc. don't worry you have choices. There are some fabulous variations that you can do with this scrumptious pesto grilled chicken sandwich
- Instead of focaccia bread you can try ciabatta, kaiser or sourdough buns. You can also use a crusty French Bread submarine style bun or any style of artisan bread. We like the crustier, thicker breads for this so it doesn't get soggy.
- Instead of arugula or with arugula you can do, alfalfa sprouts (we show photos of both in this recipe), Romaine lettuce, baby spinach and more.
- Don't like sundried tomatoes? Use fresh tomatoes or skip the tomatoes, it's also yummy with avocado slices.
- While we love the melted slices of mozzarella, other cheeses like Havarti, Montery Jack Cheese and Gouda would also be delicious.
- How about adding some crispy slices of bacon?
We could go on but it's up to you, add your favourite toppings!
Why you will love this grilled chicken pesto sandwich
FLAVOUR and more flavour and did we mention the flavour is amazing? This chicken sandwich has it all! The basil pesto adds a punch of flavor and it pairs perfectly with the tomato and arugula.
I love sandwiches with artisan breads, the yummy crusty breads and adding your own toppings but the combination of the pesto, grilled tender chicken, melted mozzarella, flavourful pesto and arugula is an amazing combo. I admit though I'm completely biased as I'm hooked on this sandwich and I'm not a big sandwich fan for most sandwiches but this one makes the cut.
You can also cook the chicken directly on the grill or use a grill pan on the BBQ like I did as it's easier to clean in my opinion or on your stove, whatever works for you.
Make sure to check out our other yummy recipes like these ones:
I know I probably sound like a broken record but it's worth repeating always. I only buy chicken with the Raised by a Canadian farmer logo like the one below. I know when I buy chicken with that logo that it’s top quality, no hormones, ethical treatment of the chickens and the majority of the farms are small family-owned farms.
I like to support not only Canadian businesses but family-owned small businesses are even better because we know the struggles. If your store doesn’t carry chicken with this logo ask the manager to bring it in!
Don't have a BBQ or grill pan?
How about a panini press? Even if you have all of the above a panini press is another yummy way to make this sandwich. I find it melts the cheese more evenly.
Check out our video!
How do you store this sandwich?
This sandwich is best enjoyed immediately after preparation, but it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one day but the bread may become soggy if stored for too long. I would store the chicken separately and wait to add the pesto and other toppings to the focaccia bread (or whatever bread you use) once you're ready to eat it.
Homemade or Store Bought Pesto?
The answer is whatever your little heart desires. I went with store bought because it was quicker and well pine nuts are expensive. I usually have pesto on hand as I like to use it for pasta and on our pesto chicken pizza recipe too!
As I mentioned earlier you can do whatever toppings your heart desires. I had a hard time deciding between arugula and alfalfa sprouts so I tried both. They each add their own flavour and texture to the sandwich. As mentioned earlier you could also use lettuce and switch out the sundried tomatoes for fresh ones.
Chicken Breasts or Thighs?
Again this comes down to preference. You can do either way, the texture is different but both are delicious. Thighs are more economical but have a higher fat content but it's very, very hard to make chicken thighs dry out. Chicken breasts hare lower in fat but can still be tender and juicy but of course you have to be careful to not overcook them and dry them out.
Chicken Farmers of Canada has great cooking tips to avoid overcooking (and undercooking) chicken. Make sure to go to their site to get all of their helpful tips, fabulous recipes and download their free grocery app!
Now who's ready for this delicious chicken pesto sandwich recipe?
For the marinade
- 2 Chicken Breasts, sliced in half (400g / 14 oz)
- 6 tablespoon Olive Oil (90ml)
- 2 teaspoon Garlic, finely minced (10g)
- ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano (1.5g)
- ½ teaspoon Chili Flakes (1.5g)
- Black Pepper (to taste)
For the sandwich
- 1 Herb Focaccia (400g / 14 oz)
- 4 Chicken Breast pieces, marinated
- 4 slices Mozzarella Cheese (120g / 4.2 oz)
- 4 tablespoon Sundried Tomatoes, sliced (60g / 2 oz)
- 4 tablespoon Pesto (60g / 2 oz)
- 1 cup Arugula (20g / 0.7 oz)* or sprouts
- In a mixing bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, dried oregano, teaspoon chili flakes, and a pinch of black pepper. Mix well.
- Place the chicken breasts in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage the bag with your hands to distribute the marinade evenly over the chicken. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
- When you're ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the plastic bag and reserve the marinade.
- Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the grill. Brush the chicken with the marinade and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked through.
- When the chicken is cooked, slice the focaccia bread in half horizontally. Place the slices on the grill pan and put them on the grill on low for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are lightly toasted.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of pesto on each half of the focaccia bread. Add 1 piece of grilled chicken to each sandwich, followed by 1 slice of mozzarella cheese and 1 tablespoon of sliced sundried tomatoes.
- Top the sandwiches with a handful of arugula or sprouts, and place the top half of the focaccia bread on each sandwich.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 698Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 179mgSodium: 480mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 66g
Please note that we can not guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information. They are a best guess calculation.