These chicken pesto sandwiches feature smoky pesto grilled chicken sandwiched between soft ciabatta bread with lots of fresh tomato and mozzarella.
Sometimes you need a simple summer sandwich and these pesto beauties just fit the bill!
We’re keeping it extra simple today and spotlighting glorious basil pesto brushed over tender grilled chicken cutlets, fresh mozzarella, and juicy tomato slices all stuffed between toasted ciabatta rolls.
It’s seriously the most no-fuss summer sandwich you’ll ever make, yet the flavors just tick all the summer boxes.
This sandwich is especially a good one to make in the summertime because it can be served hot or cold! We enjoy these sandwiches hot if we’re having a casual dinner on the patio, but also love them cold if we’re having a picnic or taking them on the road.
Pro tip: it takes all the flavors in this sandwich WAY up a notch if you use homemade pesto. Give the pesto from this recipe a try and I guarantee you’ll be a believer!
These Grilled Chicken Sandwiches feature…
- Juicy pesto grilled chicken cutlets
- Thick slices of fresh mozzarella and juicy summer tomato
- Herby, flavorful basil pesto spooned on top
- Soft toasted ciabatta rolls
- Crisp shredded butter lettuce
Making the Chicken Sandwiches
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Basil pesto
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Ciabatta rolls
- Butter lettuce
Choosing Your Chicken
We recommend using boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. We’re going to cut each breast in half horizontally so you end up with 4 thin chicken cutlets that will cook up super fast on the grill.
If you don’t have thighs on hand, boneless skinless chicken thighs will work great instead. They may be a little extra greasy, but the sandwiches will still turn out delicious.
Tips for Perfect Sandwiches
- Divide pesto in half – we’re going to brush half the pesto on the chicken for grilling and then save the rest for spooning on sandwiches. This gives these sandwiches such an incredible herby flavor.
- Don’t overcook chicken – because we’re cutting the chicken into thin cutlets, they will cook very quickly on the grill. Make sure to use a kitchen thermometer to test doneness and remove chicken from the grill once it hits 165F.
- Salt and pepper tomatoes – this brings so much flavor out of summer tomatoes.
- Toast ciabatta – this warms the bread and adds a toasty crunch. You can toast the ciabatta in a toaster, throw them on the grill for a minute, or broil them.
Try these ideas for a different twist on these sandwiches!
- Make it extra-meaty – try adding a few strips of crispy bacon.
- Add more sandwich fillers – try sliced avocado, sautéed mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, or roasted red peppers.
- Make it a wrap – wrap sandwich ingredients in a tortilla for a killer lunch wrap.
Stovetop and Oven Instructions
Don’t have a grill? You can still make these sandwiches! Follow the following instructions for cooking the chicken on the stovetop or oven.
- Stovetop: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet (or brush over a large cast iron grill pan) Once pan is hot, add chicken and sear on both sides until chicken registers 165F. Because the chicken cutlets are so thin, this should only take about 6-8 minutes of cook time.
- Oven: Arrange chicken in a single layer on a greased sheet pan. Bake chicken at 400F 15-20 minutes until chicken registers 165F.
This is a sandwich that was just MADE for summer! The herby pesto paired with the smoky chicken, fresh tomato, and soft mozzarella all compliment each other so well. Picnic food done right.
Don’t forget the salty potato chips and fresh summer fruit on the side!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
A few other incredible sandwiches you might want to try next!
Grilled Chicken Pesto Sliders
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 medium breasts)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup jarred or homemade basil pesto, divided
- 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 4 ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
- 1 cup shredded butter lettuce or arugula
- Cut each chicken breast in half width-wise so you have 4 thin chicken cutlets. Season both sides of cutlets well with salt and pepper and brush both sides with 1/4 cup pesto.
- Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat or lightly grease and heat a grill pan on stovetop. Grill chicken over medium-high heat, turning once until chicken registers 165F, about 6-8 minutes of cooking.
- Season tomato slices with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Set aside for a moment.
- Assemble sandwiches by layering chicken cutlets, tomato slices, and mozzarella slices between toasted ciabatta rolls. Spoon remaining pesto on sandwiches and top with shredded lettuce. Serve sandwiches immediately and enjoy!
This post was updated with new recipe tips and photos on 6/29/23.