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Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro Photo by: Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro

Pesto Chicken Spirals

Make these simple chicken "bundles" before your picnic so they'll have plenty of time to chill. They smell so good as they're baking that you may want to eat them straight from the oven. To save time, use bottled pesto in place of the homemade--although the flavors won't be as bright.

Cooking Light JUNE 2003

  • Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 thighs)


  • Pesto:
  • 2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • Chicken:
  • 12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare pesto, combine oil and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 40 seconds. Combine garlic mixture, 1 1/2 cups basil, parsley, cheese, chicken broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor; process until finely chopped.

To prepare chicken, spread 1 teaspoon pesto down center of each thigh, leaving a 1/4-inch border on short ends. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, starting with a short end; secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle rolls evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; arrange rolls 1/2 inch apart, seam sides down, in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° 30 minutes or until a thermometer registers 170°, turning rolls after 15 minutes. Cool and transfer to a serving container using a slotted spoon. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove toothpicks; cut each roll crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 276
  • Calories from fat: 27%
  • Fat: 8.4g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Carbohydrate: 13.7g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 116mg
  • Iron: 15mg
  • Sodium: 568mg
  • Calcium: 663mg

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Pesto Chicken Spirals Recipe