Pesto chicken mixes two great flavours together for a fresh take on the classic roast chicken. With a mix of almonds and parsley you have a nutty and earth take for this pesto roast chicken. This is a brilliant recipe for an easy roast chicken with pesto will be a family favourite meal before long.
This recipe first appeared in my post for Elys Wimbledon in April 2020
Pesto chicken is a go to recipe for a quick and delicious way to cook a roast chicken. By mixing fresh parsley and almonds into the rub you get extra flavours which gives a great finished chicken. It also keeps the finished pesto roast chicken super succulent and moist.
No one wants dry chicken and this method really helps stop it drying out while cooking.
This is a really weird mix of ingredients but I promise you it works really well. This was the result of what do we have in the pantry to cook with. I love these moments when you don’t have a clue what to do but you try something and it works.
Chicken is a good thing to experiment with as the flavour can be rather subtle to start with. Depending on what you have you can really change the finished flavour of the roast chicken.
Almonds and chicken go so well together. The nuttiness really works with the subtle flavour of the chicken. By adding parsley to the almond chicken you add a lovely flavour which compliments the nutty flavour so well.
If you don’t want to mix pesto into the mix you don’t have to. Try making this with the almonds, parsley and some butter to make the rub. The flavour will be slightly different but it will work so well.
What do I need for pesto chicken?
For the pesto chicken rub you only need 6 ingredients. Plus the chicken to rub it in to.
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 150 g butter
- 100 g ground or flaked almonds
- handful of fresh parsley (if you don’t have any use 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, dried oregano or even herbs de Provence)
- 2 heaped tablespoons of pesto
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
The garlic will add some tingle to the finished rub, the butter helps the moisture and makes it easy to rub in. The almonds add that beautiful nuttiness and parsley add that fresh flavour. Salt and pepper adds that extra sprinkle of goodness. The olive oil helps make the rub malleable and easy to move over the chicken.
Any of the rub which falls into the tray will mush down as it cooks and you can turn it into a lovely jus/gravy. Just add a little chicken stock and a bit of flour if you want to thicken it up. If you add the flour keep whisking to make a smooth gravy.
If you are looking for an easy spring roast potato recipe then try out my wild garlic roast potatoes recipe.
What is in pesto?
The original and most well known version of pesto is made with lots of fresh basil, coarse sea salt, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It is all blitzed together and creates a beautiful dip. It’s so easy eat.
For this recipe I used it as a base to add extra flavours and goodies too. Pesto can be eaten with a spoon, smeared on toast, served to dip steak into and used as a rub like in this pesto chicken recipe.
How much pesto should I use?
For this recipe I use a good two heaped tablespoons of pesto. I wanted it to be strong and pack a punch. If you want to have less of a pesto flavour you can reduce this to two normal tablespoons or even one heaped tablespoon.
What goes well with pesto chicken?
This is a beautifully light dish and the mix of parsley and almonds give it a lovely green taste. It tastes healthy and is very moreish. To serve with the roast chicken with pesto, I often do baby potatoes, big salads and sometimes roast vegetables if it’s a bit cooler.
I’ve also made this chicken to take to a picnic. Made, cooked and cooled and taken with us, already sliced up to enjoy. We’ve also enjoyed this with a garlic bread, chunky chips and heirloom tomato salad.
How do I know if my chicken is cooked?
If you cut in to it and the juices run clear the chicken is fully cooked. If the juices are red or slightly pink, your chicken may need to be cooked a bit longer. Most chickens will come with a timing sticker on and you can use that to work out how long to cook it.
Healthy chicken pesto
Chicken with this delicious rub is super healthy. It’s easy to pull apart and will be super moist when served. If you have any leftovers I would recommend adding pieces into a pesto pasta sauce. It’s a great way to use up the chicken and keep the beautiful taste which has been roasted in to it.
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Recipes using roast chicken leftovers
Pesto chicken – roast chicken with pesto
- 5 cloves (5 cloves) of garlic
- 150 g (5.29 oz) unsalted butter
- 100 g (3.53 oz) ground or flaked almonds
- Fresh Parsley (if you don’t have any use 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, dried oregano or even herbs de Provence)
- 2 heaped tablespoons (2 heaped tablespoons) pesto
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 (1) chicken
- Preheat the oven to 180ºc/ 170ºc fan oven.
- Add the garlic, butter, almonds, parsley, oil along with the salt and pepper to a blender.
- Whizz it up in to a thick paste.
- Pop the chicken into a pan.
- Gently coat the chicken in the paste, getting it under the skin if you can.
- Add a few flaked almonds to the top for decoration.
- It’s ready to cook.
- Cook as per the instructions on the chicken. It is normally about 20 minutes per pound (450g) plus 20 minutes.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.