The Tuesday Supper Club: Healthy Pesto Chicken

This is a great dish that’s bursting with fresh vegetables and really packs a flavour punch. Serve just as it is, or with a small serving of new potatoes or freshly cooked rice. If you don’t have a food processor to make the pesto, buy a tub of good quality fresh basil pesto sauce from the chiller department of the supermarket instead.

Serves 2

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 6-8 minutes

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 150g), thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 10 wedges
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into roughly 3cm chunks
1 medium courgette, halved lengthways and cut into roughly 1.5cm slices
½ tsp dried thyme (optional)
sea salt and black pepper

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For the pesto sauce
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
20g Parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks
15g fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

Method
First, make the pesto sauce. Put the pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan in a food processor and blitz until very finely chopped. Add the basil leaves, olive oil, a generous pinch of salt and lots of ground black pepper. Blitz to make a thick purée. You may need to remove the lid and push the mixture down a couple of times until the right consistency is reached. Set aside.

Place a large non-stick frying pan or wok over a medium-high heat. Add the 1 tbsp of oil and when the pan is hot, add the chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle with the thyme if using. Stir-fry for 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the vegetables are lightly browned. Add the pesto sauce and toss well.

Make a change

It’s well worth making double the amount of pesto if you can, as it will keep well in a covered dish in the fridge for at least three days. If you don’t have a food processor, try pounding the pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan and seasoning in a pestle and mortar until very well crushed, then transfer to a bowl and stir in finely chopped fresh basil and olive oil. You can use pesto tossed through wholemeal pasta, as a dressing for olives, cooked and cooled new potatoes or roasted vegetables, or as a topping for grilled meats and fish. It also freezes very well.

Extracted from The Healthy Gut Handbook by Justine Pattison (Seven Dials, approx €17.50).

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