Pesto Roast Chicken


  • 1.75Kg Chicken
  • 600g of Root Vegetables (Carrots, Parsnips etc)
  • 1 Onion
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Coarse Salt & Pepper

For the Pesto:

  • 30g of Fresh Basil
  • 100ml of Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 35g (1/4 Cup of Pine Nuts)

Roast chicken has always been one of my favourite dinners. Whether it’s a Sunday lunch feast or just a casual roast chicken with a crunchy salad, it always satisfies. It’s so easy to stick with the same recipe time and time again but it can be a little boring so I like to spruce it up a little and play around with different seasonings. This recipe is such a winner and it’s barely any more effort than your everyday bird. The layer of fresh pesto beneath the crispy skin tastes incredible, as do the root vegetables which roast slowly in the fragrant basil, too.


Preheat the oven to 180’C.

Peel and chop your vegetables. Place your chicken in the centre of a large roasting dish and place the vegetables tightly around it. I like to throw in a few cherry tomatoes too.

Push half a lemon into the chicken cavity. Use your fingers to pinch the skin around the chicken breasts to loosen it a bit. Then slide your fingers under the skin, separating the skin from the meat all along the breast.

Add the pine nuts to a pan on medium heat and toast them for a few minutes until golden brown, tossing regularly. While the pine nuts are on, add the basil, olive oil and minced garlic to your food processor and blend until smooth.

Add in the toasted pine nuts and blend to combine, then add it to a bowl.

Using a spoon, spread some of the pesto under the skin of the chicken breasts. You want a thin layer under the entire breast skin. Add a spoonful of pesto to the cavity also. Spoon the remaining pesto over the vegetables, tossing them so that they are evenly coated. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the chicken and sprinkle the chicken and vegetables with a good pinch of coarse salt and pepper.

Roast at 180’C for 80-90 minutes. To test if the chicken is done, slice between the leg and the breast, if the juices run clear then the chicken should be cooked.

One Comment to Pesto Roast Chicken

  1. What a beautiful chicken and easy enough to make once a week. Love it!