This chicken pesto recipe is one of those dinners that will look fancy, taste delicious, but is easy to make!
Chicken pesto with risotto, easy and fancy
If you have ever watched an episode of Hell's Kitchen, you have seen chefs make risotto. It's one of the staples of fine dining and every chef there has to know how to make it. This chicken pesto recipe will show you how to easily make it in your kitchen!
Chicken pesto is high in points, plan ahead
This dish is delicious and rich and fancy and high in points. So it's likely something you won't have every day. But it doesn't mean that you can never have it. It also means that you have to plan ahead.
Chicken pesto includes a full meal of a protein, a starch and a vegetable. You can always bulk it up with a salad if you feel that you need more food for this meal. But what do you do for the rest of the day?
Zero point breakfast options
Here are some filling and delicious zero point breakfast options so that you can enjoy chicken pesto for dinner!
One of my favorite things to have for breakfast is an air fryer egg soufflé. You can add other veggies to it depending on your tastes. I usually eat it with some avocado, so that would add a point, but it's sooooo good!
You can scramble up some eggs, using a copper pan or non-stick cooking spray. Throw in some veggies to bulk it up if you like.
Some plain greek yogurt can easily be doctored up with berries for another filling and zero-point breakfast. You can also use frozen berries. Layer them with the greek yogurt at night and the juices will seep into the yogurt overnight. Delish!
Zero point lunches
With visions of chicken pesto dancing in your head, you will still need something for lunch that won't cost you any points. There are lots of options out there for you.
A huge salad is always an option for lunch. If you are blue or purple, you can thrown in some chickpeas or black beans or hard-boiled eggs for extra protein without any points.
A zero point chili is always a hit! Again, a filling meal that will not cost you any points.
Pesto sauce, how to lighten it up
Pesto sauce is one of my favorite things to eat. But it certainly comes at a price. It is traditionally made with olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and basil. You can imagine the points! But basil is really the star of the show and in this recipe, you will make a pesto sauce that is low in points and calories. You can take that sauce on its own for pasta, zoodles, pizza, eggs, the possibilities are endless!
This recipe highlights that nothing is off-limits if you plan ahead, no matter how high in points the meal may be. One thing I do to help me plan ahead is I use iTrackBites. It's easy, as well as flexible.
- cost: iTrackBites costs $36 for the year (using this link for 40% off makes it $36 – use COACH_SMILEY to save!!), WW is $20+ for the month, and it's the same formula and less options
- choices: I can choose PointsPlus, Freestyle, or any other plan I want with iTrackBites. Even with the new WW changes, they only offer 3 plan options (not PointsPlus).
- logs: You can export your tracker data by the week, month, or quarter with iTrackBites. WW does not give you access to quarterly data.
- accuracy: I've found inaccurate info in the WW app due to members submitting and not paying attention to the right numbers. With iTrackBites, I know if I see the green check, it's been verified as accurate. This puts my mind at ease!
BLUE PLAN: 18 Points
GREEN PLAN: 20 Points
PURPLE PLAN: 18 PointsPrint
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 garlic cloves chopped
2 tsp turkey broth concentrate
10 oz arborio rice
5 oz peas
kosher salt & ground pepper
5 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup of chicken broth or vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp pine nuts
Prepare the pesto sauce first so it has time for the flavors to settle together
Combine the stock and garlic. Microwave or heat on the stove on high for 5 min. Allow to cool to room temperature
Chop the basil in a food processor. Add cooled stock, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. Chop in the food processor until everything is finely chopped and blended together.
CHICKEN AND RISOTTO
Pat chicken dry. and in a medium bowl, toss to coat with 2 tablespoons pesto and a pinch each of salt and pepper; set aside to marinate at room temperature.
In a liquid measuring cup, stir to combine 6 cups water, all of the turkey broth concentrate, and 1½ teaspoons salt.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add rice and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 2–3 minutes.
Add chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
Add 1 cup of the broth mixture and 1 tablespoon vinegar to rice in the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly absorbed, 1–2 minutes.
Continue adding 1 cup of the remaining broth at a time, stirring after each addition, until liquid is nearly absorbed, 20–22 minutes total. Rice should be al dente and suspended in a thick sauce.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 2–4 minutes per side.
Stir peas into risotto; cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the remaining pesto and 3 tablespoons butter; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Thin remaining pesto by stirring in 1 teaspoon water at a time to make a drizzleable sauce.
Serve risotto topped with chicken and drizzled with remaining pesto.