This was the first meal we cooked on our brand new grill. The grill in which my husband literally invested blood, sweat and tears. Well – no tears per se….but blood, sweat, a few swear words, and 5 stitches from the doctor at convenient care! Poor guy! He’d gotten the base all together and when I went out to help him lift the actual grill portion onto the base, he grabbed what was obviously a very sharp metal edge and sliced his finger open! 😟
It looks like he’s saying University of Iowa is #1….and the fact that he’s wearing an Iowa shirt only perpetuates that idea, but truly he’s not! Our daughter goes to Iowa State…arch rivals to U of Iowa. He just insists on wearing that shirt even though Anna has bought him dozens of ISU shirts! I thought for sure the shirt would get bloody and ruined, but somehow it remained unscathed….it’s the shirt that will not die!!! LOL!!!
So 45 minutes later we were back home and I was helping him finish the assembly process! Thankfully we got it together and moved into location with no further incidents, and I was able to prepare our delicious dinner of grilled chicken and vegetables with avocado pesto. Seriously this is sooooooo good! I told Mr. CEBH that I could eat this meal everyday for the rest of my life and never tire of it!
New grills are so pretty and clean! This is probably the one and only time you’ll see the inside of mine!!! 😉
I wanted to use some basil a friend had given me, and I had some very ripe avocados so the idea of making avocado pesto seemed perfect! And truthfully when I say I’d eat it this meal everyday – I mean it! My favorite fair weather meal is grilled chicken and vegetables! It’s simple, I don’t have to heat up the house cooking dinner, it’s 100% flexible depending on which vegetables I have on hand, and varies depending on which seasonings and spices I use on the chicken and vegetables!
For this recipe I used basil and lemon on the chicken because those flavors are perfectly complemented by the avocado pesto which is jam packed with basil, and brightened with lemon juice and zest. The chicken marinated for about 3 hours in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and zest, a little salt, pepper, and garlic, some red pepper flakes, and of course….fresh basil!
Prior to grilling, the vegetables were seasoned very simply with EVOO, salt and pepper, garlic, and a few red pepper flakes. I like to keep the vegetables pretty simple so their flavors can shine through, and in this dish, so that nothing else competes with the avocado pesto flavors!
The pesto is made from avocado, basil, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and walnuts. I prefer to use walnuts over pine nuts because number 1 – I don’t like pine nuts, and number 2 – I love walnuts! Pretty good reasons, eh?!? Really though, if you find pine nuts a little too “earthy” tasting, as I do, then use walnuts instead! They are mild enough that they add very little to the flavor profile of the pesto, they’re waaaaaay cheaper than pine nuts, and they are full of omega-3 fatty acids so they’re super healthful as well!
Isnt it pretty?!? I just love the vibrant green color! It doesn’t get much better than avocado pesto…2 of my favorite foods/flavors in 1 lovely recipe….YUMMMMMMMM!
For the veggies I chose zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and bell pepper. I cut almost everything into approximately the same bite sized pieces, but because zucchini practically screams “SPIRALIZE ME“, that’s exactly what I did! And besides – I love using my Kitchenaid mixer with the spiralizer attachment. I feel like such a pro-fesh-shun-ul when I use it! Either that or a spy, because the box it comes in kind of looks like a spy kit to me! 😉 I used the ribbon spiralizer blade and out of 1 large zucchini I got what seemed like miles of zucchini ribbon! Check out the mini video of me spiralizing the heck out of a zucchini….I find it mesmerizing! Click the link to see it!
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 3 cloves, or 3 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup extra light tasting olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 salt - more to taste
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 clove, or 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 8-10 large basil leaves, chopped
- 1 very large zucchini, spiralized, or cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 2 cups quartered mushrooms
- 1 bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces - I used an orange pepper
- 1 large Vidalia onion, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tsp EVOO
- 1 clove or 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an 8-10 cup food processor.
- Process on low until well combined.
- Place in covered dish and refrigerate until ready to serve with grilled chicken and vegetables.
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a gallon size resealable bag, then add chicken, coating both sides with marinade, and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours, turning occasionally, until ready to grill.
- Combine all ingredients in a resealable bag and toss to coat vegetables in oil and seasonings.
- Heat grill to medium.
- Place chicken breasts on grill and cook, turning once, for a total of about 20 minutes.
- Check for doneness of chicken by inserting meat thermometer in thickest part of breast, the chicken is done when juices run clear, and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove from grill and rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- Place the vegetables in a grill pan, or on a grill mat, and grill over medium heat along with the chicken.
- Stir vegetables a time or two to ensure even cooking.
- Remove from heat when the vegetables are slightly charred and fork tender - about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Plate a serving of vegetables, top with 1/2 sliced chicken breast, then top with a generous scoop of avocado pesto.
- Before refrigerating pesto, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to help slow the browning of the avocado.
Grilling is the best! I wish we could gril year round, but Iowa winters get pretty brutal to do that! There’s a few hearty souls who manage, but we’re just too wimpy I guess!!! What’s your favorite grilled meal? Share in the comments!!!