Pesto and chicken were made for each other. Add in the yummy flavours of butternut squash, pine nuts, and parmesan, and you’ve got yourself a winning salad that will please even the fussiest of eaters.
Recipe: Pesto Chicken and Butternut Squash Salad
Prep and cooking time: 35 mins
- 350g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and diced
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pesto
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 100g spinach, roughly chopped
- 40g parmesan, finely sliced
- 1 handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
- Cut the ends of the squash first, then peel the skin off with a knife or peeler. Slice it down the middle, and remove seeds with a spoon.
- Cut one half of the squash in half again, then into 1-2cm chunks. Save the other half for a recipe like Moroccan butternut squash stew (p.74).
- Place the squash in one side of a oven-proof dish and chicken breast in the other side. Coat both with oil and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cover each chicken breast with 1 tbsp of pesto.
- Bake for roughly 25mins, stirring the squash occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
- In a non-stick pan, heat the pine nuts until lightly browned (approximately 1min), stirring constantly, then leave to cool. Add the roughly chopped spinach to a salad bowl.
- Allow the squash to cool for 5mins and then add it, and any liquid from the oven tray, to the chopped spinach to wilt the spinach slightly.
- Add the cooled pine nuts, parmesan, and basil to the salad and mix lightly.
- Finely slice the chicken breast and serve with a generous helping of salad. To allow flavours to infuse into the salad, mix the chicken lightly with the salad.
Second Nature Special Tip:
Use chicken thighs and sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts if you want to make this dish a little more budget friendly.