Raise your hand if you LOVE pesto.
Okay good, me too.
And if you love it as much as I do, then you’re in for a little treat because this pumpkin seed avocado pesto is just incredible — it’s packed with healthy fats, lean protein and herbs and might just be the best thing I’ve ever tossed with shredded or leftover grilled chicken.
These avocado pesto chicken salad sandwiches are one of my new favorite meal prep lunches because of how easy they are. It’s simple:
- Take 20-25 minutes to bake chicken breasts.
- While the chicken is baking you’ll roast the pumpkin seeds AND then make the pesto in less than 10 minutes.
- Once the chicken is done, simply shred, toss with pesto, and pile into containers. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
- When ready to eat, pile it high on a slice of toasted bread, top with arugula, carrots (or tomato slices) and if you’d like, a little hot sauce. Enjoy!
- That’s over 40g of protein and right around 500 calories for a huge filling sandwich. (I’ve also included the nutrition info without the bread in the notes section of the recipe below!)
See? Easy and healthy is achievable!
And guess what? This sandwich isn’t the only way you can use this fabulous avocado pesto:
-If you happen to be vegetarian, simply use smashed chickpeas instead of baked chicken.
-Use with tuna instead of chicken.
-Enjoy on a lettuce wrap to keep it paleo.
-Toss it into whole grain or gluten free pasta. This chickpea pasta brand has recently become a fav of mine.
-Put it on an egg sandwich
-Toss with quinoa and roasted veggies.
-Toss with roasted sweet potatoes. OH MY YUMMM.
-Put it on toast and add a fried egg on top.
I know you’re going to love this easy meal prep lunch. Enjoy! xoxo.
More healthy lunch ideas to try:
Healthy Pesto Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (about 12 oz)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large carrots, shredded for crunch (can also sub tomato slices)
- 4 slices sprouted, whole grain, or gluten free bread
- 1 cup arugula
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add chicken breast and generously season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fully cooked. Shred chicken with two forks once done cooking and add to a large bowl; set aside.
- While chicken is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pepitas and toast until just barely golden; stirring frequently so they don't burn. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Immediately transfer to the bowl of a food processor and add in avocado, basil, lemon juice, garlic, water and salt. Process until smooth, adding another tablespoon of water if necessary. Add pesto to bowl with the chicken and mix to combine.
- Toast bread, top one slice with half of pesto chicken mixture, half of shredded carrots, and as much arugula as you'd like. Top with remaining slice. Enjoy!
- Enjoy avocado pesto within 2-3 days.
Any nut can be used instead of the pumpkin seeds, but then it won’t be nut free. I do recommend toasting the nuts before you make the pesto — it adds more flavor.
Nutrition for avocado pesto chicken salad without bread: 1/2 of recipe: 343 calories | 14.5g fat | 3.1g sat fat | 16.4g carb | 6.6g fiber | 4.3g sugar | 38.3g protein
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and/or upload a photo to instagram and tag #ambitiouskitchen.