I’m sort of obsessed with pesto right now. Homemade basil & almond pesto. This pesto recipe uses slightly less olive oil than usual, and adds more lemon juice and a bit of hot water, making it super healthy and still amazingly delicious. Most pestos use pine nuts but I really love the subtlety of raw almonds with the basil. Pesto is fantastic tossed with green beans or potatoes in a salad or with chicken, fish, or egg dishes. I wanted something warm yet light at the same time, so I tossed the pesto with warm green beans as a base for slices of golden chicken breasts, roasted sweet potatoes, baby tomatoes, mushrooms and shaved pecorino. I prefer pecorino to parmesan because sheep’s milk is often healthier than cow’s milk (sheep are less likely than cows to have been injected with antibiotics and hormones). Very satisfying and nutritious.
Healthy Pesto Chicken Bowl
4 free-range boneless, skinless chicken breasts
bag of french (green) beans
large handful of baby spinach
1 cup of baby tomatoes, halved
1 cup of mushrooms, quartered
1 sweet potato, cubed and roasted
1 tbsp of rosemary
4 cloves of garlic
For the Pesto:
2 large handfuls of basil
handful (about 30g) of raw almonds
1/4 cup of grated pecorino (or parmesan)
juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp hot water
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the cubed sweet potato in olive oil, salt, and pepper and lay on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20-30 mins.
Heat 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high. Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and rosemary. Place the chicken, whole garlic cloves, mushrooms and tomatoes in the pan and cook for 10 mins, turning the chicken halfway through until golden on both sides. Boil the beans in a pot of water for about 5 mins. Drain, toss in the spinach and keep warm.
In a food processor, blend the basil and almonds first, then add the pecorino, lemon juice, olive oil and splash of hot water. Add more water if needed to get the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the beans with the pesto in the pot. Place the pesto beans and roasted sweet potatoes in bowls. Slice the chicken breasts and lay on top, with some mushrooms, tomatoes, and whole garlic (which should now be lovely and soft). Serve with a few fresh basil leaves and shaved pecorino. And a glass of red wine.