Pesto Roasted Chicken with Yam Mash

Pesto Roasted Chicken

It’s about that time to start thinking about Easter. I know this isn’t the typical Easter menu, but then again I’m not your typical Irishman. Back home we celebrate Easter with Spring Lamb on the menu and over in the States the protein of choice is ham. I’ll admit, I’m quite partial to roasting chicken not only because it’s a great low-fat protein, but also because there are so many great ways to prepare roast chicken and if you do it right, the birds are nice n’ juicy and full of flavor. Experimenting with using different flavors for roasting chicken is easy. I wanted to make something vibrant in honor of Spring so I made a simple pesto which gave the bird nice coloring which looked brilliant paired with the yam mash. You already know how good for you sweet potatoes and yams are so now all you need to complete your Easter dinner is some vegetables and you’re good to go!


2 x 4-5 lb chickens
1 lemon – cut in quarters

2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic clove
1/2  cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (low-fat preferred)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Pesto Directions
Blend the basil, spinach, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup of olive oil, processing until well blended. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl. Stir in the Parmesan and season with S&P to taste.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Rinse the birds in cold water and pat dry with kitchen towels, inside and out. Season cavity of bird with S&P. Place birds on foiled roasting tray. Divide the pesto in half and rub equal amount of pesto in each, both inside and out. Season outside of each bird with 1/4 tsp S&P. Place 1/2 fresh lemon in each chicken cavity.
Pop in oven for approx 1 hour or until internal temp is 165F.  Check between thigh and breast. If the juices run clear, you’re cooked.

Let the cooked chickens rest for 10 minutes before carving to let the juices redistribute within the meat.

Serve with some mashed yams and you’ve got a nutritionally balanced meal.


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  1. Me and the wife loved it. Especially the chicken.

    Too bad I am shifting out of my Winter- Power/Strength/Eat whatever the heck I want phase back into my Spring – Shed the parka / Shed the body-fat phase

    Say bye-bye to the yams, potatoes, rice & grains and say hello to crunchy vegetables

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