Grilled Garlic Chicken with Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto

by smokinchestnut

When Matthew’s mom got me the Williams-Sonona Eat Well cookbook as a belated bridal shower present, I squealed happily, clutched it to my chest and ran into my bedroom where I proceeded to pour over the book’s beautiful pages like a starving child. I had this same reaction to another cookbook we (er, I) received as a wedding present and I hope to reenact that scene once again when Christmas day rolls around (*cough*cough* to any family members out there reading this).

Back to the book. I have a thing for Williams-Sonoma cookbooks and the recipes in here are just as gorgeous as the first WS cookbook I received a few Christmases ago. The theme of this particular book, if you couldn’t tell from its title, revolves around creating healthy dishes that inspire you to think about what you eat while also enjoying every bite.

A bit of forewarning — this pesto, because it lacks one of pesto’s primary ingredients (freshly-grated Parmesan-Reggiano), tastes (and is!) healthy. If you’re seeking the unique cilantro-pumpkin seed flavor but want to retain the richness that comes with regular pesto, feel free to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Also, the remainder of this pesto is delicious as a spread on sandwiches. Also, I’m going to shut up now.

Grilled Garlic Chicken with Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto
from Williams-Sonoma’s Eat Well Cookbook
serves 4

Marinade (from Kalyn’s Kitchen ):
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp poultry seasoning (or any favorite seasoning blend)
4 tbsp olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
2 cups packed cilantro leaves
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lime juice
2 garlic cloves
1 serrano chili, seeded
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For marinade (to be done 6-24 hours ahead of time):
In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, seasonings and olive oil. Make small slits down the length of each breast so marinade can fully penetrate. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour in marinade, making sure each breast gets coated. Place in fridge for 6-8 hours or up to 24 hours.

For pesto:
If pumpkin seeds are not already toasted, preheat oven to 350 degrees, spread seeds on baking sheet and toast until fragrant or golden at the edges (roughly 8-10 minutes).

In food processor, blend toasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro, 4 tbsp olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chile, salt, freshly ground pepper and 1/4 cup water until smooth. Scrape down sides of processor as necessary. Set aside.

For chicken:
If using a grill, heat to medium high and oil rack. Place chicken on rack and grill, turning once, until cooked through (roughly 12-13 minutes). If using stove top (my preferred method!) heat large skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken breasts. Saute until cooked through (roughly 12-13 minutes).

Transfer chicken to plates and spoon pesto over top. Lick your lips and greet this healthy dish with a grin.