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Kale Pesto Dipped Chicken Tenders

Pesto Chicken Tenders - Clean & Delicious®

Pesto Chicken Tenders – Clean & Delicious®

I’d be lying if  I tried to pretend that finding yet another way to have my two-year old enjoying kale didn’t excite me.

What can I say?  Watching my toddler eat and enjoy green veggies of any type makes me smile.
I’m not exactly sure why.

I think it has something to do with knowing that she is doing something good for herself… but not because she thinks it’s good for her, rather because she really likes it.
Yeah.  That’s definitely part of it.  I think that’s cool.

This very simple, kid-friendly recipe was inspired from Catherine McCord of Weelicious – if you’re looking for recipes, tips, and ideas on how to feed your little ones, you’re gonna want to add Weelicious to your list!  The inspiration is endless!

This is Catherine’s recipe verbatim – simply toss your chicken in pesto and then coat with Parmesan cheese and whole wheat breadcrumbs.  The only change I made was subbing my Kale Pesto for the Traditional Pesto that the original recipe calls for.

Truth be told this was the first time Katie ever had chicken fingers so I was excited to see her reaction.

*Please pay no mind to the blue stains all over Katie – this is the price one pays for allowing their child to snack on frozen blueberries!

After her first bite, she looked at me and said, ‘Mmmm Mommy, that’s yummy’. (As her father would say, “She’s definitely your daughter!’.) So I was happy to know the chicken was a success in her eyes.

As for myself, I wanted a little something more interesting for dinner but since I am very anti-cooking more than one meal for the family, I needed to find a creative way of bringing a little more pizzaz to this dish for the hubby and I.  So here’s what I did:

Chicken Tenders with a Twist

I grabbed some tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and roasted peppers that I had hanging out in the fridge and made a quick little Italian ‘salsa’ by tossing them with a kiss of olive oil and fresh garlic.  So easy – so yummy!

You could also top them with a little marinara sauce and melt a bit of mozzarella or Provolone cheese on top. I’m sure that would be delish too… it’s like a little chicken parmesan but with Kale.  Hello?!  What’s not to love about that!?

Kale Pesto Dipped Chicken Tenders

Yield: 5

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 minutes

Total Time: 15-20 minutes


  • 1.25 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • 1/4 cup Kale Pesto
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt


Cover a rimmed baking sheet in foil and place a wired cooking rack on top.

Toss the chicken tenders in the pesto until all of the tenders are lightly coated in pesto.

In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt. Coat each tender in the breadcrumb mixture and then place on top of the wired rack being sure that none of the tenders are touching.

Broil on high for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the tenders are cooked through. Enjoy dipped in your favorite tomato sauce.

Makes 5 servings.

Calories: 216; Total Fat: 7.2g; Saturated Fat: 1.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Carbohydrate: 12.5g; Dietary Fiber: 1.9g; Sugars: 0.5g; Protein: 27.5g


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6 comments on “Kale Pesto Dipped Chicken Tenders

  1. Dani, this looks great! My only problem is my daughter has a nut allergy so we usually avoid pestos. Do you have any suggestions or know of any nut-free pesto recipes? My kids love chicken nuggets/tenders so I’m always on the hunt for a healthier alternative. Thanks!

    • Jaimie – Honestly, I would simply make a classic pesto recipe and simply skip the nuts. They serve more as a texture than they do a flavor… a quick google search showed some people subbing a tbsp of dry oats or brown rice use to make up for the texture but I think it could easily be skipped with no problem. I may even add a little extra cheese:). Also – play with the water and oil to ensure you are able to maintain the right consistency!

    • Great idea…I will definitely try this. Thanks so much!

  2. It might be someone else but it looks like a totally Dani recipe – which makes me know I’ll like it!!!
    Are chicken tenders just little bits of breast chopped up!?

  3. Emmy – Awwww…. thanks;). And yes, pretty much… chicken tenders are technically the little tender than runs along the back of a chicken breast and often you can buy a pack of tenders at the grocery store BUT I usually just buy chicken breasts (or cutlets) ad cut them into strips. They both get the job done!

  4. That photo is precious! Kale pesto sounds like a great idea – I love how healthy kale is.

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