Easy Weeknight Dinner: Roasted Chicken Thighs With Pesto

Is basil taking over your garden or window box? Now’s definitely the time to stockpile that freezer with the good stuff. And by “good stuff” I mean Pesto Sauce, people. Pesto is in the fast food category at our house. Stash a bunch of it in the freezer and you have a wealth of easy but flavorful meals waiting to be made at a moment’s notice.

I’ve told you before just how much homemade Pesto rocks and I’ve even given shared a creamy variation on the classic pasta sauce with you. But today my friends, I give you yet another tasty recipe using Pesto: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pesto. That’s right! Pesto makes an excellent chicken coating and the recipe couldn’t be simpler. Just make up a batch of your favorite Pesto, slather it under the skin of some chicken thighs (or your favorite part of the chicken), bake and eat. Don’t want to make your own Pesto Sauce?  Use store-bought and you have yourself one easy and crazy delicious weeknight meal.

This dish is flavor packed and so gorgeous when it comes out of the oven. The chicken remains incredibly moist and the Pesto is sort of a flavorful surprise hiding underneath that crispy skin. Best of all, it’s the kind of recipe that is easy enough for a weeknight meal but gorgeous enough to entertain with—LOVE THAT!

Roasted Chicken Thighs With Pesto

Serves 4


2 cups basil leaves, washed and patted dry

1 clove garlic

1/3 cup almonds

1/3 cup Romano cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano works well too)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Juice and zest of one small lemon

1/3 cup olive oil

8 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up).

2. Combine basil, garlic, almonds, cheese, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice and pulse until coarsely chopped. Turn machine on and stream olive oil in using the feed tube of the processor. Process until fully incorporated and smooth.

3. Place chicken thighs onto prepared baking sheet skin side up. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the meat and rub about a tablespoon of pesto sauce under the skin of each piece of chicken. Season the skin of  each piece of chicken with salt and pepper. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. Enjoy!

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