Summer food. Oh it's so wonderful. I love fresh, farmers market finds, grilling, and just the bright flavors of everything that is synonymous with summer food. If you have a green thumb, maybe you are even able to grow some of your own summer goodies. If you're me, you try really hard, but basically you're only capable of growing basil because it's basically impossible to NOT be able to grow it. I also have some aggressive birds who eat all of my tomatoes and peppers (including hot peppers!)
A few weeks ago I was at the grocery store and saw some ciabatta rolls that looked too good to not buy. I had no plans for them. But I said I'd figured it out. Initially I thought I would just make some caprese sandwiches with them because I had some gorgeous tomatoes from the farmers market. But then I decided I wanted to grill and I wanted something more substantial. So I threw together some marinade, tossed in some chicken, and these sandwiches were born.
I love these because they are so simple and can be a yummy lunch or dinner and it combines so many of my favorite things. I absolutely love balsamic anything and the chicken gives this sandwich some substance that will fill you up and hold you over. I always love a lean protein. But then you have the delicious simplicity of a caprese sandwich (wish a summer fresh tomato if you're lucky!). It all comes together (quickly, I might add!) with the fresh, peppery arugula which for me, really sets this apart.
Juicy tangy chicken, sweet tomatoes, creamy fresh mozzarella, floral pesto, and peppery arugula all with the crunch of grilled ciabatta. What's not to love? Whip these up for your next dinner and I promise they'll be making a regular appearance on your table just like mine.
Grilled Balsamic Chicken Caprese Sandwiches
Makes 4 sandwiches
Prep: 10 minutes | Cook time: 12 minutes | Idle time: 1 hour+
Click the file below to download and print the recipe
I recommend reading the recipe all the way through, including the recipe notes at the bottom, before you start cooking.
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 chicken breasts (~ 1 - 1.25lb.)
6-8 oz. fresh mozzarella (1/4" slices)
1-2 tomatoes (~ two 1/4" slices per sandwich)
3 oz. arugula
1/4 C. pesto (fresh or jarred)
4 ciabatta rolls
Using a sharp knife, carefully slice in half lengthwise the two chicken breasts so you now have 4 thin pieces of chicken. Cover each piece with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and pound the pieces with a meat mallet until they are each about 1/4"-1/3" thick. If you don't have a meat mallet, you can leave the chicken halves as they are, but you will need to cook them a little longer. Place the chicken pieces into Ziplock bag or a shallow dish.
Make the marinade for the chicken by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Pour the marinade over the chicken in the Ziplock bag and mix everything around so all of the chicken is coated in marinade. Place in the refrigerator to marinade for at least 30 minutes, but several hours is best.
To make the sandwiches, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and turn your grill to medium-high heat. You'll want the grill to be around 400°.
Cut the ciabatta rolls in half, slice your tomato and mozzarella if this is not already done.
Place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 6 minutes then flip. Place mozzarella slices on each piece of chicken to completely cover it, close the lid of the grill, and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of chicken. Make sure your grill doesn't get too hot.
While the chicken continues to cook, drizzle olive oil on the inside of each ciabatta roll and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Grill the rolls cut side/olive oil side down until they are golden brown (just a few minutes - keep an eye on them so they don't burn!)
When everything on the grill is done, remove it all to a plate or cutting board.
To assemble sandwiches, spread the pesto evenly on inside of the tops and bottoms of the ciabatta. Put the tomato slices on the bottom halves of the ciabatta rolls, then a handful of a good arugula. Top the arugula with a chicken breast. Place the tops of the rolls on each sandwich then cut in half diagonally.
Serve with your favorite summer side or on its own. Can be served warm or room temperature.
*Recipe notes + Variations*
If you don't want to make your own marinade, you can certainly use bottled balsamic dressing instead.
Grilling times will vary based on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts. Make sure they are cooked all the way through to 165°.
Keep an eye on the ciabatta rolls while you are grilling them. They can get away from you quickly and burn if you're not watching closely.