Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Mozzarella and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I have a tendency to be a little boring.

I'm sure you are staring at your computer screen in utter shock and disbelief right now, vehemently disagreeing with me and exclaiming that my life appears incredibly glamorous and edgy according to my posts on this little blog.

Um, yeah... that may be true if it were opposite day.  But it's not.  'Cause we're not 9 years old hanging out on the merry-go-round playing M-A-S-H. 

Although, it'd be a lot cooler if we were.

I don't suffer from any grand illusions that my life is exciting.  After all, I'm a lawyer (snooze) who would rather spend her Friday and Saturday nights in the kitchen than out on the town (lucky for me - Scott and I share the same viewpoint on this one; although he's not in said kitchen, he's just eating everything that comes out of said kitchen in record breaking time).  

And when I'm not in the kitchen on the weekends, I have a tough time prying myself away from my self-imposed "chores" to do something fun like going to the beach, or the movies, or the gun range.  I'll let you guess exactly who in this household is gunning for that last activity (bad pun intended). 

As if that's not bad enough, sometimes even the kitchen gets a little boring around here.  I will get stuck in a rut making the same recipes week after week because (a) they are tasty, (b) they are healthy, and (c) they are extremely easy and quick to prepare.

Case in point: Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Chicken.  For a while there I was making this at least once a week.   I think we can agree that, regardless of how delicious something is, it will inevitably get old if you eat it week after week. 

Except bacon.  Bacon never gets old.  Truth.

So I decided to take the knock-out flavors from the Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Chicken and incorporate them into a new dish that is perfect for summertime - sandwiches!

Seriously, what is more summer appropriate than sandwiches?  You can just as easily make enough of these grilled chicken sandwiches for two people or ten.  They'd be perfect on a candlelit back porch for date night or at a picnic with friends and family.  They are portable and tasty whether served hot or cold, and the leftovers will inevitably be gobbled up the next day (or later that night in this house).

The icing on the cake?  The roasted red pepper pesto isn't just for sandwiches.  It's a perfect sauce for pasta or pizza, can be served on crostini for a quick and easy appetizer, used as a condiment for roasted vegetables, or whatever else you can dream up with that crafty brain of yours.  

So, double or triple the recipe and use it for a second easy dinner later in the week or freeze for future meal options.

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Mozzarella and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Serves:  6
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes
Total Time:  45 minutes 

Chicken Marinade:
6 chicken breasts 
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (the sweeter the better)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (makes about 2 1/2 cups):
3 whole roasted red peppers
1/2 cup Romano cheese, shredded
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup of basil, packed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sandwich Assembly:

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
Arugula for topping
6 whole grain ciabatta rolls (or other buns), halved

Combine marinade ingredients in large bowl and whisk well.  Add chicken breasts and allow to marinate for 30 minutes (or overnight even if you want to do this part in advance).  In a food processor or blender, add roasted red peppers, Romano Cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, basil and red pepper flakes.  Pulse until the mixture is combined but still a little chunky, about 30 seconds.  Heat grill to high heat. Remove chicken breasts from marinade and grill until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (about 5-8 minutes per side).  Top chicken with mozzarella in last 5 minutes of cooking. Add halved rolls to grill cut side down in last 2 minutes of cooking.  To assemble sandwiches, layer chicken, roasted red pepper pesto, and arugula on bottom half of the bread; top with bread tops.

TIP:  Double the red pepper flake for a little extra kick.


  1. Yum this looks really delicious! Especially that bread :)

    1. Jan,

      The bread was delicious (although not homemade). It was a dense crusty grainy bread from a local market.

  2. now this looks like something I can make!! YUM

  3. AnonymousJune 19, 2013

    hello! i just came across your blog from a pinterest link and made this yummy sandwich last night. i just HAD to leave a comment saying thank you! i'm teaching myself to cook + this was definitely the best thing i've made yet!

    1. I am so happy to hear that! Stick with the cooking, I promise you it gets easier and easier.

  4. Hi made this tonight! it was so easy and delicious! thanks for sharing :)


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