Roast Pesto Chicken & Broccoli

Roast Pesto Chicken & Broccoli

Roast Pesto Chicken & Broccoli

This recipes has some of my favourite ingredients… broccoli and pesto. And uses one of my favourite simple cooking techniques… the fast roast.

Such as winning dinner. Love just tossing a few ingredients in a baking tray, setting my timer and doing other things while dinner literally cooks itself. Brilliant!

When I first had the idea for this recipe, I was a little worried how the pesto would taste after being in the oven. So was pleasantly surprised when I absolutely loved this dish and wanted to eat more. Love how the pesto forms a delicious crust on the chicken.

Also love how the cool, creamy ricotta provides a textural contrast and mixes in with the pesto roasting juices to make the most delicious sauce / dressing for the salad leaves.

So good!

enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes

2 heads broccoli
8 heaped tablespoons pesto (about 200g / 7oz)
4 chicken thighs on the bone or thigh fillets
8 heaped tablespoons ricotta
1 bag salad leaves

1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Chop broccoli into bite sized little trees and slice the stems. Toss broccoli, chicken and pesto in a roasting pan until the chicken and broccoli are well coated with the pesto.

2. Roast for 20 minutes. Stir and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the broccoli is tender. If using thigh fillets they may only take the initial 20 minutes depending on how big they are.

3. Divide ricotta between two plates. Top with hot chicken and broccoli and finish with salad leaves.

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WINE MATCH: A nice buttery Chardonnay.

Variations & Substitutions

short on time – poach chicken and broccoli instead. Chicken will take 8-10 minutes gently simmering. And the broccoli will take 4-5 minutes so simmer the chicken for 4 minutes then add the broccoli and keep simmering until the chicken is cooked through.

vegetarian / different protein – replace chicken with cooked chickpeas, lentils or cannellini beans. Or serve the roast pesto broccoli with poached or fried eggs. Some roast almonds or walnuts will also add extra plant protein and substance.

more substantial (carb lovers) – toss in cooked pasta before serving. Or add some steamed potatoes to roast with the broccoli.

more substantial (low carb) – use more chicken or serve with avocado or roast nuts (walnuts, pinenuts or almonds are all delicious)

Low FODMAP – replace broccoli with steamed potatoes. Serve with fresh parsley leaves or basil for extra greenery. And replace ricotta with a low FODMAP cheese like parmesan, shaved over the top.

dairy-free – use this cashew ricotta and use a dairy free pesto. You could also skip the ricotta and serve with some roast nuts instead.

more veg / different veg – feel free to toss in other veg with the broccoli like cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, steamed potatoes, eggplant, capsicum (bell peppers), onion or mushrooms.

no oven! – stir fry the chicken and broccoli separately until just cooked through. Then toss both in with the pesto and serve

Waste Avoidance Strategy

broccoli – will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for about 2 weeks or sometimes a little longer. Can be frozen (if you have time chop before freezing so it will defrost quickly in the pan).

pesto – commercial jars of pesto will keep for months in the pantry. Fresh pesto will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Cover with olive oil to prevent exposure to air and browning reactions.

chicken – freeze it.

ricotta – unopened tubs of ricotta usually have a shelf life of a few weeks. Otherwise use for another meal. Great on toast with honey for a decadent breakfast or use instead of cream with desserts.

salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they won’t go slimy.

Prepare Ahead

You can, however I prefer roast chicken when freshly cooked. If you are happy to reheat chicken, cook as per the recipe but keep the salad and ricotta separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1 week or can be frozen. To serve, warm chicken and broccoli in the oven (200C / 400F)
for 10 minutes and serve with salad and ricotta.

Roast Pesto Chicken & Broccoli-2

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