Spinach and rocket pesto roast chicken recipe

(1 rating)

Stuffing the chicken with our leafy green pesto keeps it deliciously moist, plus there’s plenty leftover for pasta.

Spinach and rocket pesto roast chicken with roasted veg to serve
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time1 hours 25 mins
Total Time1 hours 40 mins
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories660 Kcal33%
Fat35 g50%
Saturated Fat8 g40%
Carbohydrates18 g7%

Stuffing the chicken with our leafy green pesto keeps it deliciously moist, plus there’s plenty leftover for pasta.

This vibrant spinach and rocket pesto chicken is a delicious twist on your classic roast. It’s ideal if you’re looking for a fresh, light alternative for spring and summer and it’s bursting with flavour and colour. The pesto can be made ahead of time and is delicious with pasta, grilled fish or mixed with more olive oil to be served as a salad dressing too. We have used cashews in our pesto base but you could use toasted pine nuts if you prefer. Toasted walnuts would also add a lovely earthy finish. While the chicken is best served hot, if you have any leftovers it’s very tasty in a sandwich with a spoonful of pesto and mayonnaise. This recipe is ideal if you’re trying to cut down on food waste too. Experiment and throw in any salad leaves you’ve got in the fridge, you might find a new favourite.


for the pesto:

  • 125g spinach
  • 60g rocket
  • 25g roasted cashew nuts
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 large garlic cloves
  • 25g pecorino cheese, grated
  • 1/2 lemon juiced

for the chicken:

  • organic whole chicken, approx. 1.5kg
  • 3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1tsp olive oil

to serve:

  • 200g baby new potatoes, halved
  • 1 courgette, cut into disks
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 1 small aubergine, cubed
  • 1 red pepper, cut into wedges




  1. Boil the kettle and place the spinach in a colander. Pour the hot water over the spinach to wilt and then rinse in cold water. Strain thoroughly to remove the water and place in a food processor with the remaining pesto ingredients. Season and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7. Gently, ease the chicken skin away from the flesh and stuff 4tbsp spinach and rocket pesto underneath. Place the lightly crushed garlic cloves in the cavity.
  3. Drizzle over the olive oil and rub into the skin, then season and cook for 20mins. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/Gas 4 and cook for another 35mins.
  4. Scatter the veg around the chicken and toss in the oil and juices and cook for another 10mins. Then spoon another 2tbsp of pesto over the chicken and cook for a further 20mins.
  5. Rest for 15mins before carving and serve with the roasted veg.
Top Tip for making Spinach and rocket pesto roast chicken

The pesto recipe will make leftovers, try it with pasta or loosen it up with more olive oil for a salad dressing.

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.