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 Gluten-free Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan takes 5 minutes to prep and bakes in 30 minutes!

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

Hi everyone – welcome to a new week!

Last week’s warmer temps lit a fire under our butts and instead of sticking around the house as planned, we were out and about all weekend long. To heck with the cold weather! On Saturday morning Ben and I took the boss to my new favorite restaurant/bakery/cafe in town, La Mie, for brunch. I ordered the same thing I’ve gotten the past three times I’ve visited – the Veggie Scramble with a Vanilla Almond Milk Latte. It is, perfection.

Ben got the same scramble after I told him how tasty it was and he raved the whole way through. Expertly seasoned and perfectly cooked. The whole half avocado on top is what makes it really special, me thinks. We both agreed a home attempt wouldn’t come close to the real thing, so I guess I’ll just have to keep going back for more. Darn. ;)


Lincoln behaved himself, save for the yelling. Right. It’s his new favorite thing to do. Just…yell! At the top of his lungs for no apparent reason – he’s pretty proud of it. Awesome. (Ok, I secretly love it and actually do think it’s pretty awesome. That being said, we did our best to quiet him down because I know other people might not think it’s so cute!)


Later that night I met up with a girlfriend for drinks, pedis, and dinner (which was as amazing as it sounds. Note to self: do this more often!) then Sunday Ben and I hopped over to the mall for a few laps. Like I said, a great little weekend!


In case your weekend was just as busy, and you didn’t have time to meal plan for the week, I have got you COVERED for dinner tonight with Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan. 

4 ingredients + 5 minutes of prep work + 30 minutes of baking time = dinner. Saweet!

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan is chicken thighs tossed in pesto then topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, and then baked. So unbelievably simple! Like I said, five minutes to prep then 30 minutes to bake. This dish will be done before you’ve even had time to take your pants off after coming home from work.

My Mom came over to visit Lincoln and me during her lunch hour last week and I sent her back to work with some of this chicken fresh out of the oven. She emailed me 20 minutes later saying it was everything she loved about Italian food, and needed the recipe STAT! I knew loved it, but to get confirmation from my Mom was like winning a prize. She’s my cooking role model!

If you need a quick and flavorful dinner idea – this is your recipe!

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

Start with 1lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs) seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper. Like I mentioned on Friday, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are my new favorite thing ever. They’re thin which saves the step of pounding them out, are a fraction of the cost of chicken breasts, and are incredibly tender and juicy.

In the past chicken thighs have intimidated me but after cooking with them a few times lately, I want to slap myself for waiting so long. They’re fantastic. I can’t wait to grill them all summer long!

By the way, if I still haven’t sold you on chicken thighs, you could use 1lb chicken breasts that have been pounded thin and cut in half. But come on… Thighs! Thighs! Thighs!

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

Ahem! Pop the seasoned thighs into a 8×8 or 9×12 baking dish then toss using your hands with 1/3 cup prepared pesto.

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

You could absolutely make your own fresh pesto (here’s my recipe,) but I took a chance on this prepared pesto for the sake of convenience. It tasted awesome – super garlicky.

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

Next spread 1 cup marinara sauce over the thighs then top with 8oz sliced fresh mozzarella (you could use shredded in a pinch.)

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

Seal the baking dish tightly with foil then bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil then cook for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the chicken is cooked through. That’s it…dinner is served!

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com\

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan


Gluten-free Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan takes 5 minutes to prep and bakes in 30 minutes!


serves 4

  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 8 (could use chicken breasts pounded thin then cut in half)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 8oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper then add to a 8x8" or 9x12" baking dish. Add pesto then use hands to evenly coat. Spoon marinara sauce over top of thighs followed by mozzarella cheese then cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil then bake for 10 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


If you’re like me and have been missing out on the lusciousness that his chicken thighs – change that ASAP! They’re so juicy and have an awesome flavor. Definitely not a creepy dark meat flavor, which is what I always thought they’d taste like.

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

This chicken would be great over a bed of pasta, but I served it with roasted potato wedges.

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com

That’s just potatoes cut into wedges, tossed with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then roasted at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Totally easy to make with this chicken since they cook at the same temp. Enjoy!

Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan #chicken #chickenthighs #dinner | iowagirleats.com