Basil Pesto Paneer Tikka

Indian Paneer tikka in Italian flavours. 

Indian Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese, Bell Peppers and Onions marinated fresh Basil Pesto..

Basil Pesto Paneer Tikka

My family loves Paneer and since we are vegetarians Paneer is one of the main sources of protein other than lentils and beans. For Indian vegetarians, Paneer dishes are one of the most ordered dishes  in restaurants. Be it starters, be it main course there will be at least one Paneer based dish.

Paneer Tikka..

Paneer Tikka, is one of the internationally most famous starter or cocktail Indian snack. Hardly anyone is there who don’t know about Paneer Tikka or Chicken Tikka(it’s non- vegetarian version). Soft Paneer cubes marinated in tikka marinade which is a thick yogurt based marinade made with besan(chickpea flour), Indian spices (like garam masala, turmeric, red chilli powder) and fresh herbs like mint and cilantro and grilled. Paneer tikka is served with a yogurt based mint chutney. For vegetarians it one of the best grilled dish which they can enjoy at barbeque parties.

Basil Pesto..

Basil Pesto is an Italian uncooked sauce/chutney that is made with fresh basil leaves. The other ingredients of the peasto are garlic, pine nuts and olive oil and parmesan cheese . Like Indian Cilantro Chutney, pesto is made with crushed basil leaves and other ingredients in mortar pestle. Nowadays people make it in grinders or food processors. Also, many versions of pesto like cilantro chutney are there without pine nuts (as these are not available everywhere and also the cost factor) or without cheese due to veganism.

Why Pesto Paneer Tikka.. 

It is Holi time and I was thinking of doing some starter dish for Holi parties. So, when Kalyani Sri from my facebook Foodie Monday bloghop group suggested theme .. Desi Twist, Indian dish with a twist from some other cuisine, I decided to make this Paneer Tikka with Basil Pesto. I had recently done 2-3 fusion dishes.. Paneer Makhani Wonton Cups, Aloo Chana Taco Chaat, so for me it was the perfect share for the theme coming festival also. I came across the recipe of this Pesto Paneer Tikka at a Sanjeev Kapoor site 2-3 years back while looking for Indian recipes with Pesto. We love pesto based dishes and I use it a lot in baking breads(Basil Pesto Bread), pasta or sandwiches and wraps. I love to make fresh basil pesto at home many time with a less cheesy version. My kids also Paneer tikka

For the first time when I made these Paneer tikka with  basil pesto all three of them loved it. I also made some paneer pesto sandwiches with the leftover tikkas. Many times I just mix paneer with pesto and  make grilled sandwiches or pizza. The flavorful paneer tikkas are also liked my friends, who told me that these are welcome change from the typical Paneer tikka dish.

Basil pesto Paneer Tikka

Making Pesto Tikkas..

To make tikkas we need to prepare  the marinade, and then marinate the paneer and bell peppers and onions in the marinade at least 1 hr before grilling. For making marinade we need thick yogurt preferably greek yogurt, spices like turmeric powder, red chili powder and basil pesto. You can make fresh basil pesto at home or use the store-bought one. Here you will find my Homemade Basil Pesto with cashew nuts recipe. You can marinate paneer and veggies and keep in refrigerator covered in cling film , even a day before making these. When ready to serve or eat, just grill for 10 mins and serve.

Let’s see my version of Pesto Paneer Tikkas..


Basil Pesto Paneer Tikka

Basil Pesto Paneer Tikka

Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese, Bell Peppers and Onions marinated fresh Basil Pesto and grilled. An Italian twist on our favourite Paneer Tikka. 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Marinate Time 1 hr
Total Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, snacks, Starters
Cuisine Fusion Food, Indo-Italian Fusion


  • 250 gms Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese
  • 1 Cup Greek Yogurt/Thick Curd
  • 1/4 Cup Besan/Chickpea Flour
  • 1 Cup Mixed bell Peppers(Cubed)
  • 1/2 Cup Cubed Onions
  • 1/2 Cup Basil Pesto
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese optional
  • 1 tsp Salt or as per taste


  • Cut paneer into thick cubes. Roast chickpea flour till it gives aroma.
  • In a bowl add greek yogurt. red chilli powder, turmeric powder, chickpea flour, basil pesto and salt. Add salt as per your taste as pesto already has some salt.
  • Mix in grated mozzarella cheese.
  • Add and mix paneer and bell pepper  and onion cubes and coat well all the pieces well in the marinade. 
  • Cover the bowl with a cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Take out 10 minutes before when ready to serve and grill for 8-10 mins. Do not over grill as paneer pieces can become hard.
  • Take out, season with some Italian seasoning and yogurt mint dip or even with sour cream or any chutney or dip of your choice. 


Adding Mozzarella is optional. You can add goat cheese also in place of mozzarella or completely omit cheese.
You can also grill in a pan on stove-top. Grill on medium flame from both the sides till done.
Keyword Basil Pesto, Paneer Tikka

Basil Pesto Paneer Tikka

Festival time or get-togethers with friends and family or just like that for weekend nights when you want something different at home to get the restaurant kind of feeling make these tikkas and enjoy with your favourite drink. Kids too will love these. You can always adjust the spice level as per your requirement or taste.

You can make sandwiches or wraps or topping of pizza with these tikkas.Whenever you try these , do post a picture of the dish. I will love to see the pics on any of my social media pages..FB or tag me on Instagram(#foodtrails25) . You can also Pin the recipe for later use.

Sharing this with Angie’s Fiesta Friday co hosted this week by Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and moi.

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Author: Swati

Some who believes 'EAT WELL, READ DAILY, TRAVEL OFTEN AND LAUGH KHUL KE'!!! Hi!! Swati here!!! Chef, Chocolatier, food admirer, reader, love to travel, listen to music, Bollywood and shoot nature and food pics!! Welcome to my Foodtrails and join me in my food adventure!!

27 thoughts

  1. Love paneer in any form, marinating it along with veggies in pesto sauce must have made the tikka so flavorful ! Wonderful twist !

  2. I love how you’ve made the classic paneer tikka with a pesto twist. Marinating paneer and the veggies in pesto is a wonderful idea and it must have tasted really delicious.

    1. Thanks Priya, my kids especially love the flavour of basil pesto, I add it in breads, sandwiches also.

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