Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

Chicken Margherita (Olive Garden Copycat)

 

 

Enjoy Olive Garden’s newest menu item, Chicken Margherita, at home. Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh grape tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce.

 Enjoy Olive Garden's newest menu item, Chicken Margherita, at home. Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh grape tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce.

It’s time for another copycat recipe since you guys love them so much. This time it’s one of Olive Garden’s newest menu items, Chicken Margherita. I’ve mentioned before that whenever we drive to Florida, we try to stop in the same area overnight mainly because we take our two dogs and have to reserve a hotel ahead of time.

This also means there there are a limited number of decent restaurants (no fast food for us), that provide take out so we can pick up our food and not have to leave the dogs alone in the hotel room (which I’m sure would drive the guests crazy because they bark at the slightest noise and we wouldn’t be there to keep them calm). One of them is Olive Garden.

Chicken Margherita (Olive Garden Copycat)

What we like about Olive Garden (as well as Applebee’s and Carrabba’s) is that when we know the time we will get to the area, we can order what we want online and specify the pick up time. This also saves a ton of time; especially when you’ve been driving down I-95 for 12 hours and you just want a decent hot meal and not to feel confined in a car any more.

On our last trip during Spring break, I decided to try Olive Gardens’ Chicken Margherita. I wanted something light, yet filling and how can you go wrong with grilled chicken, pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes? It also came with parmesan crusted zucchini (recipe coming next week!) and the website says it was only 590 calories…BONUS!

Grilled chicken breasts topped w/ tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto + lemon garlic sauce.… Click To Tweet

It was delicious and the chicken was so moist. Of course, I had to try to make this at home and I have to say it tasted just like the restaurant version.  This recipe has a few steps and from start to finish takes about 1 hour to make, but you can prepare it in steps partially the night before if you’re in a time crunch during the week. Here is what you have to do.

Chicken Margherita (Olive Garden Copycat)

The Chicken

To make sure my chicken breasts were moist as well, I first brined them in a mixture of water, sugar and kosher salt for about 2 hours. You can do this overnight as well, but the limited time I did was fine too.  Next, you want to grill the chicken until it’s cooked through to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F . I recommend using a 4oz. boneless chicken breast; which took approximately 10 minutes to grill. Remove from the heat, set aside or keep covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble.

Chicken Margherita (Olive Garden Copycat)

Make the Pesto

Pesto is super simple to make. Simply add fresh basil, garlic, Pecorino Romano cheese, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and pine nuts (you can leave these out if you don’t have them or are allergic to tree nuts). Pulse all ingredients in a mini food processor until smooth. You can make the pesto up to 2 days before and keep tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Make the Lemon Garlic Sauce

In a small saucepan, melt some butter; then add minced garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute; then stir in some flour. Add fresh lemon juice and chicken broth and stir about 3-5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. You can make this the night before and keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

Enjoy Olive Garden's newest menu item, Chicken Margherita, at home. Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh grape tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce.

Assembling the Chicken Margherita

Now it’s time to assemble the chicken. First, preheat your oven to 425°F; then place the grilled chicken in an oven safe baking dish. Top each chicken breast with mozzarella,  pesto and then top with halved grape tomatoes. Next, pour the lemon garlic sauce on top of the chicken and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.

If you are preparing this using chicken that has been refrigerated first, let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes prior to placing it in the oven or the chicken may not be hot enough when the cheese melts.

Chicken Margherita (Olive Garden Copycat)

OMG this homemade version of Chicken Margherita was incredible and I will definitely be making this recipe again very soon. My family really enjoyed it as well. In fact, I made extra the first time and froze the leftovers. We’ve eaten it a second time and it tasted just as good the second time as it did the first. ~Enjoy!

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Chicken Margherita (Olive Garden Copycat)
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Chicken Margherita (Olive Garden Copycat)
Prep Time
35 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 

Enjoy Olive Garden's newest menu item, Chicken Margherita, at home. Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh grape tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce.

Course: Main Entree
Servings: 6
Calories: 376 kcal
Author: Carrie's Experimental Kitchen
Ingredients
The Chicken
  • 6- 4(ounce) Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 c. Water
  • 1/4 c. Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 c. Granulated Sugar
Pesto
  • 2 c. Fresh Basil
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 2 tbsp. Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated
  • 3-4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Pine Nuts, if desired
Lemon Garlic Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 c. Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Chicken Margherita Assembly
  • 6- 4(ounce) Grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 c. Prepared Pesto
  • 1 c. Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 6 oz. Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/2 c. Prepared Lemon Garlic Sauce
Instructions
The Chicken
  1. Combine the water, salt and sugar in a resealable plastic bag and mix until dissolved. Add the chicken and refrigerate from 2-24 hours. 

  2. Grill the chicken until it's cooked through to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F; approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, set aside or keep covered in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble.

Pesto
  1. Combine all of the ingredients starting with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a mini food processor and blend until the consistency is smooth. If needed, add the additional 1 tablespoon of oil. Keep stored in a tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

Lemon Garlic Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute; then stir in some flour. Add fresh lemon juice and chicken broth and stir about 3-5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. You can make this the night before and keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to assemble. 

Chicken Margherita Assembly
  1. First, preheat your oven to 425°F; then place the grilled chicken in an oven safe baking dish.

  2. Top each chicken breast with mozzarella, pesto and then top with halved grape tomatoes. 

  3. Next, pour the lemon garlic sauce on top of the chicken and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts. 

Recipe Notes

*If you are preparing this recipe using chicken that has been refrigerated first, let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes prior to placing it in the oven or the chicken may not be hot enough when the cheese melts.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Margherita (Olive Garden Copycat)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 376 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 46%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 622mg 26%
Potassium 159mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 19g 38%
Vitamin A 23%
Vitamin C 11%
Calcium 24%
Iron 9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

*Nutritional information is based on specific ingredients and products used in this recipe and was calculated by MyFitnessPal.com; which may not be 100% accurate. 

©2017 Carrie's Experimental Kitchen. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Please contact the owner for any licensing inquiries for commercial use, publication and/or general distribution.

Original recipe can be found at www.carriesexperimentalkitchen.com

 

 

 

Visit the recipe index to search for more recipes by category. Enjoy Olive Garden's newest menu item, Chicken Margherita, at home. Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh grape tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Angelina
    July 21, 2017 at 11:22 am - Reply

    YUM! This sounds ‘delicioso’, and looks amazing! I could almost taste it, while I was reading the recipe. My Italian in-laws (sometimes) enjoy “Olive Garden”…. so I plan to serve this dish when they come for dinner this coming Tuesday. I will serve it with ‘Olive Garden’s Copycat Salad’, NIX OG’s (homemade) breadstick recipe, …. but DEFINATELY use ‘The Pioneer Woman’s Garlic Bread Recipe’ instead. I’m sure that this dinner will be enjoyed by all, and that I will be making this dish over & over again in the future. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Carrie's Experimental Kitchen
      July 22, 2017 at 6:48 am - Reply

      It’s one of my new favorites off of their menu and how can you go wrong with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella?!! 🙂 I hope you all enjoy it!

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