Grilled Chicken and Pesto Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Grilled Chicken and Pesto Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
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About This Recipe

Experience the flavor-rich journey of Napa Valley with this Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. A staple in any chicken recipe collection, this sandwich, doused in sun dried tomato pesto, takes its inspiration from the verdant vineyards and robust flavors of Napa Valley wine country.

As I ambled through local farmers' markets and artisanal stores in the region, I was struck by the exuberance of colors and inviting fragrances that beckoned me. This sensory overload led to the creation of a chicken pesto recipe that not only celebrates Napa's culinary prowess but also pays homage to the exquisite ingredients that California proudly presents.

Napa Valley isn't just about the wines. The region thrives with an abundance of fresh produce and artisanal delights. The heart of this grilled chicken sandwich is the basil pesto. Freshly ground, the basil and garlic, sourced from local farms, give it an aromatic punch. But what truly elevates this chicken sandwich with sundried tomatoes is the sun-dried tomato pesto twist. Drawing from Italian influences, the tomatoes introduce a delightful sweetness, perfectly balancing the zesty pesto.

Thinking of side dishes? A crisp green salad, loaded with Napa's freshest greens, would make a great accompaniment. For those sun-soaked afternoons, a scoop of lemon sorbet, crafted from California's juiciest lemons, is a refreshing endnote.

If you're keen on replicating this chicken recipe to the tee, make your ingredient hunt a bit more authentic. Venture into Napa Valley's local hubs like the Oxbow Public Market or the St. Helena Farmers' Market. Extend your culinary tour to Sonoma County too. Their farm-to-table approach is sure to offer some unique finds.

Now, what's a meal in wine country without some wine? A chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford Hill Winery complements the sandwich brilliantly. If you lean towards exclusivity, a glass of Chardonnay from the family-run Matthiasson Winery is your pick, especially known for its sustainable farming techniques. For those seeking an off-beat experience, the Porter-Bass Vineyard and Winery, with its biodynamic practices, awaits your visit.

Napa Valley's inviting climate beckons outdoor enthusiasts. So, why not make this grilled chicken sandwich recipe an al fresco affair? As the grill sizzles and the aroma wafts, let the picturesque vineyards and sun-kissed hills enhance your dining experience.

Here's to indulging in the Grilled Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Sandwich, a true culinary gem of Napa Valley. Dive into this gastronomic adventure and savor a piece of wine country in each bite. Cheers and happy cooking!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto: The Essence of Summer and Italian Heritage

Basil pesto, a classic Italian sauce originating from Genoa, is the hero ingredient of our Grilled Chicken and Pesto Sandwich. Made from fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, this vibrant green sauce captures the essence of summer and the Mediterranean. The aromatic basil, often considered the king of herbs, not only offers a delightful fragrance but is also packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K. When sourcing basil, look for bright green leaves that are free from dark spots. Fresh, local basil is a staple in Napa Valley farmers' markets, embodying the region's dedication to fresh produce and artisanal quality.

How to Achieve Perfectly Grilled Chicken Breasts

Steps to Ensure Moist and Tender Chicken Every Time:

  1. Brining: Start by brining your chicken breasts for 15-30 minutes in a solution of water, salt, and a bit of sugar. This helps retain moisture during the grilling process.
  2. Even Thickness: Use a meat mallet or the back of a heavy pan to gently pound the thicker parts of the chicken breast, ensuring even cooking.
  3. Oil It Up: Lightly oiling the chicken breasts ensures they won't stick to the grill.
  4. Monitor the Heat: Maintain a consistent medium-high heat. Too hot, and the chicken can become charred outside while remaining raw inside.
  5. Use a Meat Thermometer: Remove the chicken when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure it's fully cooked yet remains juicy.


  1. Can I use a different type of bread for this sandwich? Absolutely! While ciabatta offers a nice crunch and rustic feel, you can opt for baguette, focaccia, or even a hearty whole grain bread.
  2. How long can I store leftover grilled chicken? Store any leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should remain good for 2-3 days.
  3. I have a nut allergy. What can replace pine nuts in the pesto? You can use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds as a nut-free alternative for the pesto.
  4. Is there an alternative to mozzarella cheese? Certainly! Provolone, fontina, or fresh burrata cheese would also complement the flavors of the sandwich.
  5. Do I need a specific type of grill? Any standard grill should work. However, for added smoky flavor, you might consider using a charcoal grill. For convenience, a gas grill or even a stovetop grill pan would suffice.

Tips for Success:

  1. Marinate for Flavor: Consider marinating the chicken breasts in some basil pesto mixed with a little olive oil for about 30 minutes prior to grilling. This will infuse them with even more flavor.
  2. Manage Your Ingredients: Prepare and have all your ingredients ready (like sun-dried tomatoes and pesto) before you start grilling the chicken. This makes the sandwich assembly quick and effortless.
  3. Rest the Chicken: After grilling, let the chicken breasts rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist bite every time.

The Grilled Chicken and Pesto Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomatoes is more than just a meal; it's an experience that transports you straight to the sun-kissed fields of Napa Valley. By using fresh, quality ingredients and following these guidelines, you're set for a delightful culinary journey!

Recipe Overview

Grilled Chicken and Pesto Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 8 slices of ciabatta bread
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
  • 4 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil for grilling

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Grill the chicken breasts for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes.
  4. Brush the ciabatta slices with a little olive oil and toast them on the grill for about 1-2 minutes per side until they have grill marks and are slightly crispy.
  5. To assemble the sandwiches, spread a generous layer of pesto on one side of each ciabatta slice. Place a grilled chicken breast on top of four slices, followed by a layer of sun-dried tomatoes and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining ciabatta slices.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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