The Olive Garden Chicken Margarita is an easy chicken recipe to make and it’s so easy it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner.
All about the Olive Garden Chicken Margherita
People love the Olive Garden with its home-style Italian food. In fact, the majority of Americans will tell you they love to “mangia italiano” — or eat Italian. I wonder about the minority – they just don’t know what they’re missing! Once you’ve eaten at the Olive Garden, you will always crave the restaurant’s freshly made pasta sauces and its famous breadsticks.
Fun fact – someone has estimated that the Olive Garden serves about 700 million breadsticks per year. Their signature starters are baked in hundreds of batches each day and delivered fresh to every Olive Garden restaurant; the breadsticks, like the chain’s soups and sauces, are never frozen. Did you know that you can make Olive Garden’s famous breadsticks at home? Click here for the recipe.
Americans are Chicken Lovers
The Olive Garden caters to everyone’s love of chicken by serving up several delicious chicken dishes. Olive Garden’s Chicken Margherita combines grilled chicken breasts with a delightful medley of mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, basil pesto, and a garlic/lemon sauce, served with Parmesan-crusted zucchini. This dish is so enjoyable because it combines many bright and vibrant flavors. Complete your meal with a side serving of pasta.
The Story of Margherita
Legend has it that in 1889, Queen Margherita, while staying in Naples, grew tired of the French gourmet food that was the standard cuisine served to European royalty at the time. The queen summoned the famous pizza-maker, Raffaele Esposito, and instructed him to bake her three pizzas with different toppings. She wasn’t keen on the one with garlic (pizza marinara) or the one with anchovies (pizza Napoli). However, she absolutely loved the pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and a sprig of basil. Esposito immediately named his invention after the queen – and the now famous Margherita sauce was born. You can read more about the beginnings of Margherita sauce by clicking here.
Other Olive Garden Chicken Dishes
As well as this wonderful Chicken Margherita, the recipe for which is given below, you can also make the following Olive Garden chicken dishes at home. I don’t want you ever to run out of Olive Garden chicken recipes that will delight your family.
Olive Garden Grilled Chicken and Alfredo Sauce
Olive Garden Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Olive Garden Chicken Marsala
Olive Garden Venetian Apricot Chicken
Olive Garden Chicken Scampi
Olive Garden Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara
Olive Garden Chicken Margarita
Chicken breasts, pesto, and tomatoes make for a great weeknight dinner.
- 2 pounds chicken breasts 4 portions
- 1 cup Lea and Perrins Chicken Marinade Or your favorite marinade
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup basil sliced thin
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 pound sliced mozzarella 1 slice for each piece of chicken
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pound chicken out between two sheets of plastic wrap. This will even out the thickness of the chicken, and it will make the chicken cook more evenly. Place the chicken breasts into a gallon sized zip top bag. Add marinade, and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Wash grape tomatoes, and slice in half. Set aside.
Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Cook the chicken on medium-high heat for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is almost done (it will continue to cook in the oven), remove chicken from the skillet and place in a baking dish.
While the chicken is cooking add butter, minced garlic, and lemon juice in a small pot. Heat thoroughly.
When the chicken is fully cooked brush it on the chicken. Add a slice or two of mozzarella to the chicken. Add a tablespoon of pesto on top of the mozzarella cheese. Place the chicken in the oven, and bake until the cheese begins to melt and brown. This should take 7 to 10 minutes.
When you plate the chicken, brush with additional lemon butter and garnish with sliced grape tomatoes, and sliced basil.