Make pesto in advance and dinner will be ready quick! This dish is easy and fun to make, when the basil pops up in the CSA Shares I tend to go a little pesto crazy. I like to make big batches of kale pesto and basil pesto, then freeze in smaller containers. This dish would be the perfect thing to whip up with some leftover pesto. For paleo or dairy free diets, try our vegan version.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts can be used for this recipe. I like to use chicken thighs for this because, they are already quite flat and very inexpensive. If you prefer breasts, try filleting them in half and before pounding thin. Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and then use a mallet or heavy can to pound flat. Spread one – two tablespoons over each piece of chicken, then roll up and place seam side down in a baking dish. If using breasts you may need a toothpick or two to secure them.
Season the tops with salt and pepper then bake for 40 -45 minutes at 350F. Baste with the pan juices halfway through cooking – the oil from the pesto will separate and help keep the chicken moist. Chicken is done when juices run clear.
Pesto Chicken Rolls
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 cups basil, washed and thoroughly dried
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons parmesan
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds or pine nuts
1 garlic clove
juice from half a lemon
salt + pepper to taste
Make the pesto. Mince garlic in food processor. Add parmesan and sunflower seeds and pulse together. Add basil leaves to food processor, then with processor on stream in oil while blending. When mixture is combined add lemon, salt + pepper.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lay chicken in between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound flat with a mallet or heavy can. Spread each piece of chicken with 1-2 tablespoons pesto. Roll and place seam side down in an oiled baking dish. Secure with toothpicks if necessary. Bake 40 -45 minutes until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.