This dish was so much fun to serve. The recipe is really a “spark” recipe – you can customize it dozens of ways from the original idea. In fact, that’s exactly what happened here. We were having a friend over and needed a quick, healthy, and tasty weeknight dinner. My wife found a recipe in a magazine that only slightly resembled what we actually ate that night, but it gave us the inspiration we needed. In the end, it felt a bit like a “taco night” – we were all using different toppings on our chicken and trying different salad combinations – everyone got what they wanted. Kids don’t like pesto? No problem – they can use mayo. Someone doesn’t do avocados? No worries – go with cucumbers. You get the idea — just like this recipe — get an idea and go with it. Then change it up and have a different combination for lunch tomorrow, too!
Open-Faced Chicken and Pesto Sandwich
Ingredients serves 4
- 4 large slices of Italian or Ciabatta bread
- 4-8 Tbsp pesto or other spread (hummus, spinach-artichoke spread, tapenade, etc.)
- 1 lb packaged, pre-cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (optional, any variety)
- 4 handfuls of lettuce (Boston, Iceberg, Arugula, etc.)
- 2 ripe avocados
- Favorite salad vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, and olives all work)
- Favorite salad dressing
Place the bread on a baking sheet and lightly toast under a broiler (or use your toaster if the bread will fit). Chop the pre-cooked chicken into about 1/2″ pieces. Wash and chop the lettuce and prepare any salad vegetables you are serving. For the avocados, serve in slices lengthwise or in cubes. See my guacamole post for a tip.
Spread the pesto on each slice of bread and generously top with the chicken. If desired, top with the cheese and then put the sandwich back on the baking sheet and in the broiler for 1 minute to melt.
Serve the sandwich with the lettuce on the side, adding the salad vegetables and dressing as desired. Alternatively, you could do what we did and actually serve everything separately on the table, letting everyone assemble their own plates their own way. The kids will love that!
You can literally go a hundred different ways with this recipe, and I hope you do! Let me know any ideas or successes in the comments.