5 from 14 votes
Overhead, landscape shot of Basil Garlic Chicken & Pesto Zucchini Noodles in a large bowl with oven roasted tomatoes and two forks inserted into the noodles; with a small jar of pesto, neutral linen, and ramekins of salt and basil surrounding the bowl.
Basil Garlic Chicken & Pesto Zucchini Noodles
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins

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!

Course: entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: basil, carrot noodles, garlic, Healthy, honey ginger garlic chicken, pesto, squash, stir-fry, Summer, zucchini
Servings: 4
Calories: 815 kcal
  • 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)
  • 9 TBS Olive Oil , divided + more for sautéing
  • 1 TBS White Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Basil , packed – roughly chopped
  • 1 large Shallot – finely chopped, divided
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – minced, divided
  • ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes , plus more for garnish
PESTO: (yield - roughly 1 cup)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic - peeled
  • 2 Cups Basil Leaves , packed plus more for garnish*
  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese – freshly grated, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 Cup Pine Nuts , plus more for garnish
  • 1 TBS Lemon Juice
  • ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Optional for Serving: Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon Wedges
  1. Marinate the chicken: In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, vinegar, basil, 1 tablespoon shallot, 3 cloves of the minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a large zip-closure bag and add the chicken. Toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and up to 12 hours to marinate.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 minutes. Add remaining clove of minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove chicken from marinade (discarding 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.
  4. Heat zucchini noodles (OPTIONAL)*: Return skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add the zucchini noodles to skillet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. 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.  IF NOT HEATING NOODLES:  Toss zucchini noodles with 3/4 cup of pesto to coat.  Set aside.
  5. 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!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. When cooking the basil garlic 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.
  4. 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.
  5. You can either sauté the squash and zucchini noodles or serve them raw.  I actually prefer them raw.  Once the pesto thoroughly coats the noodles, it softens them and gives them a "cooked" taste.  Just make sure you do NOT salt the zucchini noodles until ready to serve.  Salt draws moisture out of the noodles and will cause them to get watery.
  6. The Basil Garlic Chicken & Pesto Zucchini Noodles are really delicious with fresh, burst cherry tomatoes!  Recipe as follows.

Burst Cherry Tomatoes recipe - Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place tomatoes on a parchment paper (or non-stick foil) lined pan.  Lightly drizzle tomatoes with oil and generously season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 18-20 minutes or until slightly burst.

Nutrition Facts
Basil Garlic Chicken & Pesto Zucchini Noodles
Amount Per Serving
Calories 815 Calories from Fat 558
% Daily Value*
Fat 62g95%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 153mg51%
Sodium 1066mg46%
Potassium 1464mg42%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 57g114%
Vitamin A 1345IU27%
Vitamin C 41.7mg51%
Calcium 215mg22%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.