Saturday, January 26, 2008

Baked Chicken Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Basil, and Goat Cheese

Baked Stuffed Chicken
(Updated January 2008) If you're looking for a fancy chicken recipe for dinner guests, try this recipe for Baked Chicken Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Basil, and Goat Cheese that I'm adding to the Recipe Favorites category today. I've had so many people tell me they've tried this recipe and like it, and it's one I've personally made over and over since I came up with this combination. I'm using whole wheat pastry flour and 100% whole wheat bread crumbs here to make the recipe more South Beach Diet approved, but if you don't care about that you could use any flour or bread crumbs. There's also a phase one version of Baked Chicken Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Basil, and Goat Cheese, for anyone who's interested in that. The phase one version omits the flour and bread crumbs, but it's equally delicious.

If you were making it for guests, this is something you could make earlier in the day and keep in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it. I would let it come to room temperature before baking. Then while the delicious chicken bakes, make a nice green salad and a side dish, set the table, and your dinner is ready!

Even though I'd recently made my own Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, the homemade pesto was so good, I wanted to save it to spread on pita bread, so I used purchased sun-dried tomato pesto. This is the brand I used, which was very good.

Trim all visible fat and tendons from each chicken breast. (I save those scraps in the freezer to make chicken stock.)

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4 inch all over. It doesn't matter if the shape changes a bit, since you're rolling them up.

Spread each piece of chicken with a thin layer of the pesto/basil/goat cheese mixture which you have barely pulsed in the food processor.

Roll up chicken breasts, tucking in stray pieces, and securing each rolled chicken breast with a couple of toothpicks.

Dip each chicken piece into flour, then egg, then parmesan/bread crumb mixture.

Bake chicken for close to an hour in glass casserole dish, arranging it so pieces aren't touching.

Baked Chicken Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Basil, and Goat Cheese
(6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup 100% whole wheat pastry flour
3 eggs, beaten well
2/3 cup 100% whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
6 oz. goat cheese (log type, such as Chevre)
6 oz. Sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts. Put chicken breasts, one at a time, inside a heavy plastic plastic freezer bag and pound with meat mallet or other heavy object until 1/4 inch thick.

Put pesto, goat cheese, and chopped basil in food processor and buzz a few times until mixture is combined but not completely blended. Spread 1/6 of pesto/basil/goat cheese mixture on each chicken breast. Roll up chicken, starting with smallest end, tucking in loose pieces and securing with two toothpicks.

Put flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs combined with Parmesan cheese into three separate flat dishes. Roll each chicken breast, first in flour, then in egg, then in bread crumb/Parmesan mixture.

Spray glass casserole dish with nonstick spray and arrange chicken so pieces are not touching. Bake at 350 F for about 50-60 minutes, or until chicken is slightly browned and firm, but not hard to the touch. I recommend you start checking it after 40 minutes, and remove from oven as soon as the chicken feels firm and is slightly browned.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This dish is suitable for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet because of the flour and bread crumbs. I liked this so much I created a phase one version of Baked Chicken Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Basil, and Goat Cheese. Either of these would taste great with Slow Roasted Asparagus, cooked with the chicken. For a side dish for phase 2 or 3, add Georgette's Really Lemony Greek Pilafi

Other Recipes Using Fresh Basil:
How to Freeze Fresh Basil
Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce
Lightly Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette
Basil Vinaigrette for Drizzling on Tomatoes
Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce for Pasta
Italian Sausage Pasta Salad
Grilled Halibut with Basil Vinaigrette

More Delicious Ways to Stuff Chicken Breasts:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Chicken Stuffed with Green Chiles and Cheese
Stuffed Herbed Chicken with Boursin Cheese from Simply Recipes
Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Carrots from The Foodie Princess
Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast from Christine Cooks
Pear and Sage Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Hazelnut Crust from The Passionate Cook
Pesto and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach and Red Peppers from The Foodie Fashionista
Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Madeira Sauce from The Savory Notebook
Gruyere, Arugula, and Proscuitto Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Culinary in the Country
Gremolata-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Tomato Relish from We [heart] Foodcounter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. I've been making "sun dried tomato pesto" with my slow-roasted tomatoes and, yes, some of the basil from my garden. We're about to have our first frost this week, so bye bye basil, hello pesto for the freezer!

  2. Simply stunning - I can imagine making these on a weekend and freezing them to make delightful dinners throughout the week!

  3. That looks great...almost like they were fried

  4. Great post! The chicken photo is fabulous and the basil ideas are excellent.

    Thanks for sharing - btw - basil is by far my favorite herb.

  5. Oh I'm gonna have to give this a try. It looks FABULOUS!!!! I also love the photos of the process in making it!!! Looking forward to your post of the P1 version. :D

  6. Kalyn, I'm looking forward to the big clebration next week. Hmm, wonder if I can find a good recipe for cilantro cake? :):) The chicken recipe looks delicious!

  7. Lydia, great idea to make the pesto with roasted tomatoes. Why oh why didn't I plant more romas!!

    Ellie, thanks. That's exactly what I did!!

    WMM- yes, they do look fried don't they?

    Ruth, thanks. I think basil will be a lot of people's favorite herb.

    Naudee, I'm having the phase one version for lunch today. I just realized it's also gluten-free.

    Sher, can't wait to see if you make cilantro cake. I think it's going to be fun. (That's IF I can get the "year in review" posts written.) I doubt our favorite herb will win, but we know it's the best!

  8. Oh man, love oven fried chicken. I enjoy resting the little dears on a wire rack in the roasting pan. This way the bottom gets crispy as well. Also a fan of using spray olive oil on the crust before it hits the oven. Turns the breading in to super crunchy chickenny love.


  9. Biggles, love your suggestions. I bow to your expertise in all things meat.

  10. I love stuffing chicken - this does look so good Kalyn!

  11. Wow, this look soooo good! Yumm, I am going to try this recipe soon! Thanks for sharing!

  12. This looks so good Kalyn, can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Oh this recipe sounds divine! I love sun dried tomatoes. :)


  14. Kalyn, you have made one of my favorite meals! and my does it look delicious. Baked stuffed chicken is so versatile and so fantastic. Not to mention that yummy filling of sundried tomato pesto, basil, and goat cheese. I am SO salivating!

  15. That looks delicious, Kalyn! We have plum tomatoes drying in the oven right now (they'll be ready by tomorrow morning)


  16. This is exactly the type of food I love. Every ingredient is a winner. Thanks so much Kalyn, I'm trying this out soon.

  17. kalyn that i soen celebratory meal. what a myriad set of flavors. thanks a bunch and congrats on completing one year of weekend herb blogging.

  18. My wife is an addict for chicken. All her recipes seem to involve madly bashing the fillet with a hammer until flat, so I steer well clear.

    Tastes nice though.

  19. I used corn meal instead of breadcrumbs in this recipe, and it still turned out to be the best tasting thing I've ever cooked. Thanks!

    And that pesto...incredible

  20. Anonymous, thanks for letting me know!

  21. Thanks Kalyn, This sounds great, Iam Cooking it tonight.

  22. This is one my low-carbing-it hubby will enjoy for sure. We love the sun dried tomatoes as well as the goat cheese. Wish that basil that was so rampant in our garden this summer was still around! Thanks!

  23. Wow! My husband just made this - phase pne style and we LOVE it!! We have been on South Beach for two weeks now and you have saved us! We were getting so frustrated with our meal choices until he found your blog. We love all of your dishes! And this one takes the cake!!
    So far, I've lost about 6 lbs and he's lost at least 8. Thanks for all of your great recipes!

  24. This recipe works great with the filling ingredients reversed too...I used regular fresh basil pesto that I made fresh last summer and had stored in the freezer, then blended in sun dried tomatoes with the pesto in the food processor with the goat cheese. Brings a little summer to the dreary winter. Yummy!

  25. This recipe was first posted in September of 2006. Comments before this were posted between then and January 2008 when I added this to the category for Recipe Favorites.

  26. I could eat that right now. Reading food blogs while hungry is absolute torture!

  27. Kalyn, it's really mean to torture us with such a fabulous picture. And then I read the recipe and saw that this dish would taste so wonderful! Now I will be wanting this dish all night long. Sun dried tomato pesto is addictive.

  28. This looks and sounds so good! It has so many of my favorite flavours. Sun dried tomatoes, goats cheese, wrapped in chicken...mmm...

  29. Great looking chicken! Lovely photo and I love the step-by-step for newby cooks.

    So much work goes into your posts. I bow to you!

  30. I could see how this would be a favourite, it sounds delicious, I love goat cheese.

  31. Kalyn- the phase one version is my favorite! I love it and serve it often to guests!

    This is my first comment, but I read your blog all the time and use many of your recipes.

  32. Somehow I always end up visiting your blog again and I know why :) I'm always drooling here :)).
    Looks FANTASTIC!!!

  33. Kalyn, I made this last night (using low fat goat cheese and eggwhite instead of egg) and it was delicious!! I also made the Slow Roasted Asparagus and it was wonderful as well. Blog On! JD from Canada

  34. Hello, Lydia
    I am cooking for a rather large party...well bigger than what i'm used to.

    There will be roughly about 100 people showing up and i love the baked chicken recipe. How can i multiply that for a bigger crowd?

  35. You would multiply the recipes times 17 for slightly over 100 servings, but this would be a very labor-intensive recipe to make that many stuffed chicken breasts. I don't have time to hunt down specific recipes for you, but I'd suggest using a recipe where you don't have to handle each piece of chicken individually, unless you have lots of people helping where it wouldn't be a problem. Good luck! Sounds like a challenge.

  36. I'll be making the "Chicken Stuffed with Green Chiles and Cheese" for dinner tomorrow -- I just wanted to say Thank You, Thank You for posting step-by-step photos of the chicken-pounding/stuffing/rolling process. :)

  37. BikiniMe, you're very welcome! Glad it was helpful.

  38. This dish was so yummy!. I made it last night for a dinner quest who was very impressed. One comment though, when pounding the chicken breast, I used the flat side of the meat tenderizer. It nicely flattened the chicken without breaking the meat apart.

    Thanks for the recipes!

  39. Andy, so glad to hear you liked it and thanks for the tip!

  40. I have now made this three or four times and it is AMAZING and pretty easy too! I would highly recommend it.

  41. i will try this tonight, i like making my own stuffin with bread crumbs red and green pepper parsley and egg , a pinch of chili powder aswell, hmmm yum will let you know how i get on tho x

  42. I've made this recipe about 10 times now, and it's my favorite chicken recipe ever! It's a perfect entree to serve to guests- looks impressive and is delicious every time. It is so flavorful and tastes much more indulgent than its calorie/fat footprint. Works great with regular pesto, too.

  43. Sarah, thanks for the nice feedback! Glad you are enjoying it!

  44. hi Kalyn,

    This recipe looks wonderful. I'm wondering if I could use Feta cheese instead of goat cheese which neither my Husband or myself care for ?

    Can't wait to try this
    thank you

  45. Can't see why feta wouldn't work in this. I think it would be a nice variation.

  46. Once again you have saved me, Kalyn!

    Tomorrow night my cooking club will be making these to take home and freeze. We are going to make them without rolling in the crust - we'll defrost them later and roll them right before we bake them.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!


  47. just found your page and I'll mention what I do in a pinch.
    Get a box of stuffing in the cupboard, whirl it in the processor for a min. and use that. works great.

  48. Anonymous, not sure what you mean? Is that what you use for the coating on the chicken? (Stuffing mix wouldn't be South Beach Diet friendly, so that wouldn't work for me.)

  49. Hi Kalyn,

    My husband did this recipe for me yesterday for Valentine's day, it was delicious! The flavor of the chicken was to die for! Thank you!

  50. Ale, so glad you liked it. Hope you had a great Valentine's Day (sounds like you did!)

  51. This is absolutely amazing!! I made them for dinner tonight and my husband said that this is the type of food he would expect at a nice restaurant! Great recipe!!! Thanks!

  52. Becca, so glad you guys enjoyed the recipe!

  53. Thank you so much for the step by step pictures of pounding and rolling...I had always thought it would be too difficult to stuff chicken! Though tedious for you, your awesome pictures and explanations keep me hooked on your site.

  54. Kat, thanks for the kind feedback! I'm so happy to hear that the step-by-step photos are useful.

  55. What a lovely dish! Oddly enough, this worked for me as a "clean out the fridge" meal! I used leftover sun-dried tomato spread I had made for a tomato tart to replace the pesto and, since my goat cheese smelled mildewy (ew), I grated some Dubliner cheese in its place. I also used Italian-flavored breadcrumbs since that's what I had on hand. Then I messed up and floured/egged/crumbed the unrolled chicken! Realized my mistake, laughed at myself, and spread the topping on anyway. 45 mins later, my chicken was 160 degrees and DELICIOUS! Novice (but rapidly improving!) cook here, so if I can make it work, anyone can do it!

  56. Gwen, that's what cooking is all about, making it work with what you have! So glad you enjoyed it!


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