This beautifully simple Chicken Caprese Sandwich recipe takes all the flavors of a caprese salad and brings them together with succulent chicken and toasted Italian bread. Made with Italian gremolata and drizzled with a little olive oil, it's an easy and delicious way to use those fresh veggies and herbs in the summertime.
As the summer months come to a close, I am trying to enjoy all of the simple, fresh ingredients that are available to me before I get to enjoy my fall weather.
Fresh tomatoes exploded this year in my garden, as did all my herbs. Caprese recipes have been abundant on the blog this year because of that, so I wanted to give one last hurrah with these caprese sandwiches.
We have tomato sandwiches here in the South, but I like to think of this as the more filling Italian version, with juicy tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and milky fresh mozzarella, just like a traditional caprese salad. But I didn't stop there, I made a fresh gremolata and added a bit of oil and basil to it, making it a flavorful herbaceous sandwich spread.
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Skinless chicken breasts. You're going to want to either pound them flat with a meat mallet or cut them in half lengthwise so the chicken cooks through quickly and evenly. I used a grill pan to give me really beautiful grilled chicken without having to turn on my grill outside.
Fresh basil leaves. I got plenty in the garden and it's not caprese without it.
Tomato slices. We are smack dab in the middle of tomato season, grab yourself some juicy ripe tomatoes and slices them thickly. I had some really gorgeous red and yellow heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market that ended up in the photos because flavor and beauty, honey!
Slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. You don't want that skim milk block of cheese, that's for making pizza. Go to the grocery stores, get the ball of fall fat mozzarella packed in liquid. It's creamy, milky, it melts like nothing else when you are toasting your bread. This is a must in a classic caprese salad, it's a must here.
Bread. You don't want to use regular sandwich bread, this is a thick girl sando. You'll want some sturdier bread like ciabatta rolls, french bread, Italian bread. Make them withstand all that juiciness from the mozzarella and tomatoes by making them a little toasty in a pan or panini press.
A little olive oil. We're using just a drizzle to help toast our bread, but we're also using it to turn our gremolata into a saucy mix.
Gremolata. I know a lot of people like to use a basil pesto or drizzle a little balsamic reduction or balsamic vinegar on their sandwich...but I wanted to take it to a whole new level with a fresh gremolata.
Kosher salt and black pepper.
What is gremolata?
Gremolata is a dry Italian condiment made of fresh flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest, and minced garlic. In terms of flavor it's a vibrant, peppery, herbaceous mix that cuts the heaviness of dishes like osso buco or creamy, cheesy pastas.
For this recipe, the simple combination of olive oil, basil, and gremolata makes a tasty chimichurri-like sauce. And y'all know how much I love chimichurri.
Next time you're looking to brighten up a hearty beef stew or add a little something to salmon or seafood, mince up a little gremolata.
How to Make a Caprese Chicken Sandwich
We've got a super simple recipe here, y'all. It's all about letting those good ingredients and good flavors shine.
First, you've flattened out your chicken breast, so season it with some salt and italian seasoning and get it on a grill pan or cast iron skillet with a little olive oil until it's beautiful and golden brown on both sides.
Remove the chicken to cool on a plate while you toast some good bread slices (again, just a touch of olive oil in the pan), then flip 'em and add slices of mozzarella to either one or both toasty slices so it starts melting slightly.
Remove the bread from the heat. Now you got the start of two pretty great open-faced chicken caprese sandwiches, but let's smush them together.
Top the bottom bread with juicy tomato slices, a little salt and pepper, fresh basil leaves, and that gremolata mixed with olive oil. Now if you are #teamextra like me, you'll have put the cheese on both pieces of bread while they were in the pan...but if you didn't, go ahead and get on board with another layer of cheese.
Now slice and *smush*. Get all them caprese flavors together.
Make a sweet balsamic glaze to drizzle over the toppings. Layers of flavor, y'all.
Homemade pesto mayo! Whisk together some store-bought or homemade pesto and aioli or mayo for an easy sandwich spread.
open-faced chicken caprese sandwich. Remember how I said you could leave that top piece of bread off? Well, if you do that, then you could use it to have two open faced sandwiches.
Use a loaf of sourdough for another aspect of flavor and texture.
Use leftover chicken for a quicker and even easier recipe.
You can cook the chicken ahead of time (up to 3 days!) and just rewarm it for the sandwich.
Use a meat thermometer to know exactly when your chicken is done cooking, pull it from the pan at 160 degrees F, it'll rise to 165 degrees as it rests.
More easy recipes for late summer
- The Best Garlic Butter Seafood Boil
- Southern Peach Cobbler
- Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Butter
- Creamy Cherry Tomato Pasta alla Vodka
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- 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Chicken Caprese Sandwich
- Olive oil
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded thinly
- 2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 slices Italian bread
- 1 fresh ripe tomato, sliced
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, packed in water and sliced
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make Gremolata Spread
In a small bowl, mix together the finely chopped basil and parsley, the lemon zest, garlic paste, and olive oil. Set aside until ready to use.
Make Caprese Chicken Sandwich
Pour olive oil into a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Season chicken breast on both sides with italian seasoning and kosher salt. Cook the chicken breast on the hot pan for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown, then flipping and cooking on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
Take from the pan with tongs and set onto a plate to rest before serving.
Add a light drizzle of olive oil to the pan, then place the slices of bread on it to toast. Once golden brown on one side, flip them over to toast the other side.
Top with the slices of fresh mozzarella on one (or both!) slice of bread while the second side of the bread is toasting to melt slightly for about 2-3 minutes.
Remove toasted bread from the heat and place them onto a serving plate.
Slice the cooked chicken breast width-wise and place on top of the melted mozzarella cheese, then top with slices of tomato. Season lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add basil leaves and spoon on some of the gremolata. Add more cheese, if desired.
Smoosh the second bread slice on top and enjoy!
The chicken can be made up to 2-3 days ahead of time, keep it in the fridge in an airtight container and rewarm in a pan on medium heat or in the microwave until warmed through.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 581Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 1048mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 47g
All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.