Looking for a lunch that’s great for your waistline, tastes delicious, and manages to offer complex carbohydrates, protein, and a whopping dose of veggies? This Chicken Pesto Pita makes a perfect lunch, whether at home with family or on-the-go at work. It’s flavorful and easy to assemble, and will leave you satisfied without weighing you down.
Choose a whole wheat pita instead of a refined, white flour pita, for more fiber and nutrients. Plus, whole wheat bread products are lower on the glycemic index than white bread products, which means that your blood sugar, and therefore, your energy, will stay solid for hours. Grilled chicken is an inexpensive and lean way to load up on protein, and is a cinch to prepare. Plus, we’ve added a ton of veggies to round out this pita’s flavor profile and boost its nutrients. Roasted red pepper, the basil in pesto, and spinach, all offer phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that fuel your body and help to fight disease.
The flavors in this chicken pita lunch will have you coming back for more. Pesto, an Italian “condimento”, is complemented perfectly by other regional ingredients, including provolone cheese and red peppers. The zest of garlic, cheese, peppers, and basil really elevate this lunch to gourmet status. Bring it to work, and your coworkers will be asking you to make a round of pita sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch!
Yields: 4 servings | Serving size: 1/2 pita bread with fillings | Calories: 208 | Total Fat: 16 g | Saturated Fats: 5 g | Trans Fats: 0 g | Cholesterol: 15 mg | Sodium: 152 mg | Carbohydrates: 8 g | Dietary fiber: 1 g | Sugars: 1 g | Protein: 8 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 7
- 1/2 pound (1-2)boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons pesto, store-bought or homemade
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, jarred or homemade, see the instructions under directions here
- 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
- 4 slices low-fat provolone or mozzarella cheese, each cut in half
- 2 whole wheat pita bread rounds, sliced in halves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Using the bottom of a wide jar or glass, pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness.
- Salt and pepper both sites of each chicken breast.
- Place a pan with the olive oil over medium heat on the stovetop. Make sure the bottom of the whole pan is coated with the olive oil.
- Add the chicken breasts. Cook for 1 minute to get golden on the bottom. Turn the breasts over and turn the heat to low.
- Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 10 minutes (check time). Do not remove the lid while cooking. After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, still covered, and allow to sit for 10 additional minutes.
- Make sure there is no pink in the middle of the breasts or that a meat thermometer reads 165 F when inserted in the center.
- Slice into even strips.
- Assemble the sandwich by spreading 1/4 of the pesto inside the bottom of one pita half. Add both cheese halves to cover. Add chicken slices and roasted pepper strips (can alternate as shown in the picture, if desired).
- Top with baby spinach. Drizzle the spinach with more olive oil if desired. Enjoy!
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