Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad (Gluten Free, Keto)

(Last Updated On: August 25, 2020)
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Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad

This Pesto Chicken Caprese salad is the PERFECT summer recipe. Fresh basil and tomatoes, combined with creamy mozzarella to give you everything you love about a Caprese Salad, all kicked up a notch with Chicken that has been marinated in Pesto. The Chicken can be grilled or cooked in the air fryer, allowing you to keep your oven off in the summer heat.

pesto chicken cooked in air fryer

Summer Time Favorite

Nothing says summer like a light, refreshing salad! Toss in fresh tomatoes and basil, and it SCREAMS summertime favorite. The fresh basil in this dish is right from my windowsill! See the pic below! In the summer, fresh herbs are a great way to save money and add a lovely brightness to your dish. Before the pandemic I could NEVER keep a plant alive, not anymore. Did you see that basil plant in my windwsill? I’ll have fresh basil for weeks! With a little time and effort, there is hope for any of you, trust me! Next time I make this pesto chicken Caprese salad, I might even try and make my homemade pesto!

window sill basil herb garden

What Makes This Gluten Free and Keto

I usually take a minute to explain what makes each recipe on this site fall into the dietary categories, so people get a better idea of what each diet is about. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barely and rye. Cheeses, meats and vegetables are all naturally gluten free. Unlike other dishes that require a swap for breading, or wheat products, this recipe simply doesn’t have any. 

Keto refers to keep your body in a state of Ketosis, or a fat burning state, that your body enters when you eat under a certain amount of carbs. Again most cheeses and meats are naturally Keto because they contain so few carbs. Fruits and veggies are often debated on the keto diet and how much they should be moderated. However lettuce is extremely low carb, if you are over carbs for the day you  can always skip the tomatoes and add extra avocado. 

What Ingredients Do You Need?

  1. Chicken Breast (that’s been cubed)
  2. Pesto
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Grape or cherry tomatoes
  5. Lettuce
  6. Mozzarella cheese balls
  7. Avocado
  8. Fresh Basil
  9. Balsamic vinegar (optional for dressing or dressing of choice) 

How To Make It

  1. Marinate chicken in the pesto, (if using wooden skewers make sure to soak them)
  2. Add the chicken, to the skewers with the tomatoes
  3. Air fry chicken skewers or grill 
  4. Assemble the salad, with lettuce, mozzarella, avocado, top with the cooked chicken and fresh basil
  5. Add drizzle of olive and oil and balsamic or dressing of choice

That Simple!!!

pesto chicken caprese salad

Helpful Equipment and Ingredients (Directly From Amazon)

The Air Fryer that I use ALL the time and am OBSESSED with
Cooking Tongs
BBQ Skewers
BBQ Skewers that are also great for Fruit Kababs 🙂
Pesto with ONLY with All natural simple ingredients
pesto chicken caprese salad close up

Tips, Recs, Subs

  • Soak your skewers!! Otherwise they’ll burn
  • The longer the chicken marinates in the pesto the better. At least 20 minutes, but can do as long as overnight. Make sure you marinate in the fridge
  • You can use cherry or grape tomatoes
  • I got the plain mozzarella balls and marinated with a little olive oil and Italian seasoning. But you can get marinated or use plain. 
  • You can air fry with the instructions below or grill on med-high heat for 15 minutes, flipping half way through. 
  • I think a perfect dressing for this is olive oil and drizzle of balsamic. But you can also use fresh lemon and olive oil or any dressing of choice. 

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Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad Pinterest Pin
pesto chicken caprese salad close up

Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad

Danielle Musella
The perfect light and healthy summer salad. With fresh pesto marinated chicken, and basil. Gluten free and Keto friendly
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Marinade 30 mins
Course Dinner, lunch, Salad
Cuisine American, gluten free, Italian, keto
Servings 2 People


  • Air Fryer or Grill


  • 1 Lb Chicken Breast (Cubed into small pieces)
  • 2 Tablespoons Pesto
  • 1 Pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
  • 8 Oz Mozzarella Balls
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Head of Lettuce Chopped
  • Drizzle Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar for dressing


Cook the Chicken

  • Cut the chicken in 1" Cubes, coat in the pesto to marinate. Leave for at least 20 minutes in the fridge, the longer the better, you can marinate overnight. Preheat Air fryer 390 for 3 minutes.
  • Use skewers to make chicken and tomatoes kababs by putting a piece of chicken, then tomato and repeat until filled.
  • Coat the air fryer with a spritz of olive oil spray or coat in olive oil. Add the chicken to the air fryer, cook at 390 for 7 minutes, flipping halfway through. If not sure if it's done check internal temperature to 165 degrees.

Assemble the Salad

  • Add chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado to a bowl or a plate. Place the cooked chicken skewers on top. Drizzle with avocado and balsamic vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon.


Daniells Tips
  • You can also grill chicken skewers on medium to high heat for 15 minutes, flipping in between. Check internal temp is 165 degrees. 
  • See tips, recs and subs above for additional help. 
Keyword air fryer, Caprese, keto, Mozzarella, salad, tomato

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