Pesto Chicken en Papillote
Updated: Aug 23
Quick and easy, Dairy free, Gluten free, Nut free option, Soy free, Kid friendly
Recipe by: Jennifer Coatanroch
Cooking fish in parchment paper has been one of my favorite ways to cook fish for quite a while, but I only started cooking chicken in parchment paper just a couple of months ago. And boy, was it EASY! I'm not great at cooking chicken since we don't eat much of it. So I'll be the first to admit that it's not my specialty. But this was so easy and delicious, that I'm afraid my son is going to get sick of this soon, lol. If my husband and I are having a vegan night and it's a dish my son won't love, this is so simple that I would have no problem throwing this in the oven next to our meal!
I'll change up the flavors though, just to make it a little more fun for him. And he'll have fun deciding what vegetables go in his parchment packet!
En papillote is a French culinary term meaning: “enveloped in paper”. You can use parchment paper or aluminum foil, and you wrap and seal the food so it steams in its own juices. And Voilà! You have a complete dinner in a parchment pouch without having to clean up pots and pans. Win, Win.
I love it for so many reasons:
Only FIVE ingredients! That's right, just five
It's healthy AND tastes great
It's quick and easy with very little clean up
It's great for kids or picky eaters- everyone can choose their own toppings
It's a great way to use up all the veggies you have in your fridge
Once you learn how to fold the parchment paper, this recipe is a piece of cake. It's a little tricky to learn, but it's worth the effort, I promise.
Start with about a 20" piece of parchment paper and fold it in half. Unfold and lay flat on the table. Place chicken to the right of the crease, and season with salt.
Brush with pesto, and top with tomatoes, garlic and olives. And that's it! Quick and easy! And of course it goes without saying, if there are other vegetables you have on hand that you'd like to add on top of the chicken, throw it in there. Anything goes!
Once you've added all of the ingredients, fold over the parchment paper to cover the chicken. Fold and crimp the parchment creating a half moon, making sure to press down on the creases well to prevent steam from escaping. Check out this quick how-to on the folding:
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. The chicken is fully cooked when it is white and no longer pink, and the temperature is 165°F. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken to check the temperature.
Place each packet on a plate and eat straight out of the packet, or remove from the packet to put on the plate. It's really that simple! And because the chicken is cooking in it's own juices, it comes out tender every single time.
Give it a try and let me know what you think! And if you have any go-to family friendly chicken recipes, I'd love to hear them!
Pesto Chicken en Papillote
Quick and Easy, Dairy free, Gluten free, Nut free option, Soy free,
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings _________________________________________
8 chicken tenderloins*
4 tablespoons pesto (nut free and/or dairy free for allergies)
12 olives, sliced width wise into circles (I use kalamata or black olives)
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, diced or sliced
salt to taste
4 20” pieces of parchment paper, folded in half (aluminum foil can also be used)
Optional: add any vegetables that you have or that your family enjoys. Pile them high!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Unfold the parchment paper and lay each one flat on the table, individually. On each individual piece of paper, place two chicken tenderloins to the right of the crease. Brush each piece of chicken with 1 tablespoon pesto, and season each with salt.
Top each set of chicken with olives, tomatoes and garlic, divided evenly between the four packets. Individualize each packet to each family member if you’d like!
Once all of the ingredients are added, fold over the parchment paper to cover the chicken. Fold and crimp the parchment creating a half moon, making sure to press down on the creases well to prevent steam from escaping. (Check out the video tutorial above)
Place the packets on a baking sheet (label each one with a marker if you have different ones), and place in the oven.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. The chicken is fully cooked when it is white and no longer pink, and the temperature is 165°F. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the fish to check the temperature.
To serve, you can either place each packet on each plate, and open with a scissor and eat right out of the packet, or you can cut open and place the contents on the plate (Just don't forget to pour the flavorful juices on the plate too!)
*I use chicken tenders because they are thin and cook quickly. If you use chicken breast, you can pound it thin. If not pounding thin, increase the cooking time accordingly.