Marinated and stir-fried basil garlic chicken, served over fresh squash and zucchini noodles, tossed in a silky, herbaceous pesto and topped with plump tomatoes, salty parmesan, crunchy pine nuts and fragrant basil. This dish is delicious and can be prepped, ready and on the table in less than 30 minutes!
Hiiii friends! How was your Labor Day weekend?
I hope you made the most out of your last unofficial weekend of summer!
Our weekend was fine and dandy… we grilled all the things humanly possible while we sipped on summer-y libations. Basically, we basked in ALL the glory of summer.
So, I have a small confession. I had something entirely different planned to post today. I’m talking, I had the ENTIRE thing written out and raring to go. And then life happened.
Ummm don’t you just HATE that?! Can’t life learn stay in its own lane already? Seriously, life, you are super inconvenient at times.
Anyways, things came up and I needed to postpone that post. So here I am, at the 11th hour writing a NEW post. All because I love you guys and I promised you a post today. And by golly, a new post you are GOING to get! I AM a woman of my word.
But, since I’m writing this on Labor Day, so you guys can read it today (Tuesday) I am going to keep things VERY short. I’m starting to get twitchy from my desperation to be outside, frolicking in the sun. You feel me.
Alright, alright, alright. (<- Said exactly like Matthew McConaughey of course). Let’s DO this.
Garlic & Basil Chicken Stir Fry with Zucchini Noodles & Pesto
Zoooooooodles! Or, Sqoooooodles!
Seriously, I heart those words SO much they give me uncontrollable jazz hands. 👐 Don’t judge.
Anyways, I’m hoping you guys still have a plethora of late summer tomatoes, basil, zucchini and/or squash. I don’t have a garden, but I personally can’t stop myself from buying a life time supply of squash every time I go to the market. #TheStruggleIsReal
Nevertheless, this dish is the BEST way to get rid of your late summer produce… that is, if you feel like eating it instead of shipping it all to me. 😉
Garlicky, basil-y, tender, bite sized pieces of chicken and twirl-tastic, fresh, slightly crisp squash and zucchini noodles tossed in a silky, luscious, herbaceous pesto. Topped with plump, juicy, vine-ripe tomatoes, salty parmesan, crunchy pine nuts, spicy crushed red peppers and fragrant basil leaves.
ALL the late summer yum in ONE bowl.
This dish is fresh, light and healthy, yet fabulously flavorful and seriously satisfying.
AND this dish can be prepped, cooked and on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Hello, WINNING! High fives.
- I cut my chicken into bite sized pieces roughly ¾ – 1’’ small. You can cut yours larger or smaller if you like, you will just need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- I marinated my chicken overnight, which is what I recommend for optimal flavor. However, if you are in a pinch, you can marinate it for less time. But, I wouldn’t recommend any less time than 3 hours.
- When cooking the chicken make sure you are using a large sauté pan, or cook the chicken in batches. You do not want to overcrowd the pan. If you do, your pieces of chicken won’t get a nice golden brown color.
- If you want your pesto to be a bright green color, you can blanch your basil. This is step is completely optional, and I only blanch basil for my pesto if I plan on keeping it for a few days in the refrigerator. Blanching the basil will prevent the pesto for turning a muted green color if stored for a couple days. To do so, simply place the basil leaves in gently boiling water for 5-10 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove the basil leaves and transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the leaves in a colander and then transfer them to paper towel to dry completely.
- I sautéed my zucchini and squash noodles in the recipe below, but this step is optional as well. Feel free to serve the noodles raw if you would like.
With only a couple weeks of summer remaining, and pumpkin threatening to invade your personal space, you NEED to get on this dish! Don’t let summer pass you by without a proper sqoodle-y adieu! Until Thursday friends, cheers – to fall food waiting it’s proper turn.
- 4 Zucchini or Yellow Squash– spiralized (about 2 pounds total)
- Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- 2 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – cut into bite sized pieces* (about 4 total)
- 5 TBS Olive Oil, divided
- 1 TBS White Wine Vinegar
- ¼ Cup Basil, packed – chopped
- 1 large Shallot – finely chopped, divided
- 4 Cloves of Garlic – minced, divided
- ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, plus more for garnish
- Pesto: (yield – 1 cup)
- 2 Cloves of Garlic - peeled
- 2 Cups Basil Leaves*, packed plus more for garnish
- ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese – freshly grated, plus more for garnish
- ⅓ Cup Pine Nuts, plus more for garnish
- 1 TBS Lemon Juice
- ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Serving Options:
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Lemon Wedges
- Marinate the chicken: In a small bowl whisk together 4 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, basil, 1 tablespoon shallot, 3 cloves of the minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a large Ziploc bag and add the chicken. Toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and up to 8 hours to marinate.
- Make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic, basil, cheese, pine nuts, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pulse until coarsely chopped. With the processor running, slowly add in the olive oil in a steady stream. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Cook chicken: In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the remaining shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add remaining clove of minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove chicken from marinade and add chicken to the skillet*. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
- Heat zucchini noodles*: Return skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add the zucchini noodles to skillet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until noodles are just warmed through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add in ¾ cup of pesto. Toss gently to combine.
- Serve: Transfer noodles to platter or bowls and top with chicken. Garnish with fresh basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, tomatoes and lemon wedges. Top with a dollop of pesto or serve remaining pesto on the side. Enjoy!
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