Grilled Chicken with Spinach Pesto

This recipe is from my chef idol Giada de Laurentiis. It is so simple and easy as most of her recipes are. The only problem sometimes is the unavailability of some ingredients, if not that, it’s the price. Sometimes some ingredients doesn’t fit in my food budget but that would not stop me from trying a recipe, I always try to find a good substitute ( as long as it’s not the main ingredient).

In this case, I couldn’t find pine nuts so I substituted walnuts, it’s ever-present in my freezer; I use it a lot for baking. I don’t have parmegiano reggiano, the real parmesan which Giada suggested using but I only have cottage cheese, mozzarella and processed cheddar cheese, I used the latter.

I’ve come up with a thinner consistency pesto, but it tasted really good. I didn’t know that you can make pesto out of spinach, I’ve always use basil and very happy with it. Now I have an alternative when basil is out of season.

I served this dish with wide egg noodle pasta tossed with some extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with granulated garlic, a dash of cayenne and pepper. I did not add salt to the pasta any more because it is salty enough. I always cook my pasta the way Giada “taught me”, make the pasta water taste like the sea.

grill the chicken breasts

spread the pesto over chicken..this photo isn’t doing justice to the dish, but trust me it’s delicious 🙂


Giada de Laurentiis’ Recipe from the Food Network

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted ( I used walnuts)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Lightly oil the grill pan. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a processor. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pulse. Put half of the pesto into ice cube trays and store in the freezer for future use.

Transfer the rest of the spinach mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread the pesto over each piece of chicken and serve.

good with pasta 🙂 yum!

Happy Cooking!


One Response to "Grilled Chicken with Spinach Pesto"

  1. Lynn   November 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you for this….I am definitely going to attempt this dish and hope it goes well


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