Lemon Pesto Sheet Pan Chicken with Asparagus and Tomatoes – easy to make, this sheet pan chicken is moist, tender, and full of flavor.
Anytime something comes around that can help simplify things in the kitchen, or just in the chaos of life, I’m all for it. It’s taken me a little while, but I finally got around to trying a sheet pan dinner, and I love it. They’re so easy – or at least they can be – and you can make so many combinations of flavors and textures. Just prep the ingredients, put it all together, pop it in the oven to cook, and supper is served. Simple.
The first time I made this Lemon Pesto Sheet Pan Chicken, the meat was tender and moist with lots of flavor, and I wanted to make it again the next week. Thing is, I have this nasty habit of not always writing down what I do on my first attempt at a recipe. Sometimes I just like to cook, and get so caught up in what I’m doing that I neglect to make a record of it.
Usually, I remember everything I added, and did, to make the dish and things turn out just fine after that. But this time, I forgot a crucial part of the process when I made it the second time – cornstarch.
You see, when you put a light coating of cornstarch on the chicken breast it helps seal in the moisture. On the first attempt of this recipe, the chicken was moist and flavorful. The second attempt, not so much. The flavor was still there, but it was dry. Lesson learned – don’t forget the cornstarch!
I’ve had good results since then and am now ready to share this sheet pan chicken recipe with you. There are a couple things you should note before making it.
- Choose asparagus with thicker stems so they cook more slowly and are done close to the same time as the chicken.
- Try to cut the chicken in pieces of similar size so they all finish cooking around the same time as well.
- Don’t forget the cornstarch. I know, I already said that. But it’s important.
- Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, and is a good source of fiber and many different nutrients, like folate and antioxidants – lots of good stuff to nourish your body and help keep you healthy. But if you don’t care for asparagus, feel free to try other vegetables instead.
Lemon Pesto Sheet Pan Chicken with Asparagus and Tomatoes
- 1 to 1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 1/2 in. pieces
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 6 Tbsp. lemon juice juice from one large lemon
- 3 Tbsp. pesto
- 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil divided
- 1 lb. asparagus washed, with woody ends removed
- 1 small onion cut into 1/2 in. wedges
- 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves peeled
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut chicken into uniform pieces, about 1 1/2 inches around, and place in large bowl. Sprinkle cornstarch on top of the chicken and mix until chicken pieces are evenly coated.
- Add lemon juice, pesto, and 1 Tbsp. olive oil to the chicken and stir to cover all the pieces uniformly. Let sit while preparing asparagus.
- Place prepped asparagus and onion in a one gallon Ziploc bag or bowl.
- Add the remaining olive oil (4 tsp.), parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to the asparagus and onion. Close the zipper bag and mix the ingredients by gently kneading and rubbing the bag (or mix in a bowl by hand).
- Dump the asparagus/onion mixture onto a large rimmed sheet pan and spread out to the edges, leaving space in the middle for the chicken. Pour chicken onto the middle of the pan and spread it out evenly. Place grape tomatoes on top of the chicken and asparagus, along with the garlic cloves.
- Bake in preheated 425°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes (or longer if needed) until chicken is done.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately. (I like to serve it over whole grain penne pasta tossed with pesto).