Meals for Moms: Grilled Chicken with Basil Pesto Pasta

Stuck for a supper idea for tonight? My Meals for Moms series is here to help!

Today’s post is from Helene at workfoodhome who shares a recipe for an easy family-friendly meal that will keep everyone happy.


Grilled Chicken with Basil Pesto Pasta

With spring on our doorstep (although there is definitely still a chill in the Cape Town air!), we are all looking forward to eating a bit lighter…

This chicken and pasta dish is great for whipping up after work or for lunch with friends.

It is not laden with creamy sauces and whenever I have basil pesto the fresh taste makes me feel that I must be eating something healthy!


Grilled chicken with Basil Pesto Pasta

(Serves 4)


300g baby tomatoes, cut in halves

1 tsp of mixed Italian herbs

Salt & Black Pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

6 lasagne sheets

100g fine green beans

4 sprigs of fresh thyme, taken off the stalk

½ dried chilli (optional)

4 skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp garlic

100g baby spinach

3 sprigs of fresh basil

2 tbsp basil pesto

1 lemon

60g grated hard cheese, e.g. Parmesan



Pre-heat the oven to 200°C

Place the tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with mixed herbs, a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle over a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix well until the tomatoes are coated and place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Put aside once done.

Boil a litre of water in the kettle. Pour it into a pot on the stove without the heat being turned on. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the water and place the lasagne sheets in the warm water one by one, to make sure that they do not stick together.

Let the pasta soak for 5 minutes in order for the lasagne to soften. After 5 minutes, take it out of the water (keep the water in the pot; don’t drain it) and cut the lasagne sheets in three strips, length ways, creating long broad ribbons. Put aside once done.

Now turn on the plate and bring the water in which the pasta soaked, to the boil. Cut the tips off the green beans and once the water boils, place the beans in the water. Cook for 6 minutes until the beans are soft. Strain the beans, reserving half a cup of the pasta/bean water.

Finely chop the thyme and dried chilli

Place the chicken breasts in a bowl. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a good grinding of salt and black pepper and sprinkle over the thyme, chilli and garlic, making sure the chicken is nicely coated.

Place the chicken in between some greaseproof paper and smack with a meat mallet until the breast is even and about 1cm thick.

Now it’s time to start grilling the chicken. Make sure to get the grill nice and hot. (If you are not grilling, a pan on high heat will do just fine.)

Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill. Grill on each side for about 3 minutes, until the chicken has a nice char and it is cooked through.

While the chicken is grilling, put a pan on low heat on the stove. Add the reserved pasta/bean water to the pan, as well as two tablespoons of basil pesto, the green beans and the pasta strips.

Then add the baby spinach and fresh basil and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add the tomatoes. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of grated, hard cheese and stir through.

To serve, place the pasta, beans and tomatoes on the bottom of the plate.

Cut the chicken breast in to four chunks and place on top.

Sprinkle over the remainder of the grated cheese, squeeze over some lemon and top with some fresh basil.


With this recipe, the man in your life can also do his bit…  my Hubby made the chicken outside on the grill to add a lovely charred flavour to the dish. Great for when you are having company and even better to help you out during the week!



Words & Images: Helene Pretorious

Helene Pretorius

Helene Pretorius lives in Cape Town where she shares her love for food and wine with her husband! By day she works in the financial services industry and in her downtime she spends time with her dachshunds children and pursuing her passion for travel.

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