When summer comes along, you will find me blasting the AC and avoiding the stove and oven at all costs. I turn to recipes that come together easily on the grill and utilize fresh seasonal ingredients, and this sandwich does just that.
During the summer, tomatoes are at their ripest and juiciest and basil is at its freshest, so it is the perfect time to pull out the Caprese trifecta of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil!
This grilled chicken Caprese sandwich makes for an easy weeknight dinner or a delicious weekend lunch. You can also double or triple the recipe and make it for a summery outdoor dinner party. Since a Caprese sandwich is filling, you can serve it on its own, but it also goes well with a simple side salad and a glass of white wine.
How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken
Grilling chicken can be tricky. Chicken breasts are very lean, so it is easy to make them dry and tough. Here are some tricks and tips for getting the juiciest, most flavorful grilled chicken breast for your sandwich:
- Pound the chicken to an even thickness so that it will cook through as evenly as possible.
- The longer you marinate your chicken, the better! I recommend prepping and marinating your chicken the day before you grill it and letting it sit overnight.
- Remember to preheat your grill for at least 15 minutes before you start cooking.
- When your chicken is done cooking, let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
No Grill? No Problem!
If you don’t have a grill, you can make this sandwich using a grill pan. Preheat the pan on the stove over medium-high heat, then grill the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side.
Tips and Variations
High-quality, fresh bread is crucial for a perfect Caprese sandwich. I prefer ciabatta rolls, but you could also use focaccia, sourdough, or a baguette. Whatever bread you use, I highly recommend you lightly toast it.
I typically use beefsteak tomatoes in this sandwich since they are widely available year-round, but you can elevate this sandwich by using heirloom tomatoes when they are in season. They add a delicious touch of sweetness.
You can easily transform the taste of this sandwich by changing the pesto you use. My favorite pesto variations are mint pesto and kale pesto. Add texture and peppery flavor to this sandwich with the addition of fresh arugula.
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Prep the chicken:
Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, creating 4 thin filets. Sandwich a piece between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to beat it to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with the remaining 3 filets.
Marinate the chicken:
In a shallow dish, whisk together the olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken in the dish and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
Grill the chicken and toast the buns:
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grates.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the grill. Cook on one side for 3 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side for 3 minutes. Try not to move the chicken while it cooks except for flipping once. The chicken should be cooked through, golden with grill marks, and the internal temperature should be 165°F. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes.
While the chicken is grilling, you can also toast the rolls by placing them cut-side down on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes.
Assemble the sandwich:
Spread a generous layer of pesto on the bottom half of each ciabatta roll (about a tablespoon per roll). Add a layer of mozzarella slices, then a layer of tomato slices. Place a piece of grilled chicken on each sandwich. Finish off the sandwich with 5 to 6 fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic glaze, if desired. Place the other half of the roll on top.
This sandwich is best if you eat it fresh off the grill. Store any leftover chicken and in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Store the tomatoes and mozzarella in a separate container.
To reheat the chicken, place it in the oven at 400°F for 10 minutes, then assemble your sandwich.
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