Chicken Breasts with Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce

There’s a spot in my kitchen that is always reserved for a special cookbook. It’s a wrought-iron stand next to my stove, where I regularly switch out seasonal cookbooks (my favorites)  from which I draw recipe inspiration. Currently displayed… Eat Feed Autumn Winter: 30 ways to celebrate when the mercury drops by Anne Bramley.
I picked up this cookbook last year in a cookbook-buying binge on The Good Cook website, and I broke it in baking these delicious fall-themed Maple Apple Tartlets.
This year, another autumn recipe happened to catch my eye:   Chicken with Pumpkin Seed Pesto & Butternut Sauce.

Here’s the How-To:
Pepitas are toasted up in a hot skillet. (Pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds and can usually be found in Latin markets or in stores that sell things in bins… like Whole Foods or Henry’s).
Garlic and jalapenos are sauteed in olive oil and then chicken broth is added and reduced a bit. This mixture is then processed with the toasted pumpkin seeds to create a pumpkin seed paste (pesto).
The sauce is then prepared… leeks are sauteed in olive oil, and then butternut squash is added and all is simmered in chicken broth until softened.PumpkinseedChicken4
It’s then transferred to a food processor where cumin, salt and cream are added to transform it into a spiced up creamy sauce.
The chicken is pounded out until it’s quite thin (about 1/4 to 1/2-inch).  The Pumpkin Seed Pesto is spread onto each chicken breast and then topped with shredded white cheddar.
The flattened out chicken is then folded in half, gently dredged in flour and pan-fried in a little bit of olive oil/butter on each side until browned and no longer pink.
I placed the chicken on brown rice, topped it with the Butternut Squash Sauce and served it with a side of sauteed zucchini.
The Pumpkin Seed Pesto was a unique and desirable stuffing for the chicken, and the sharp flavor of the shredded cheddar cheese all melted inside was the perfect complement. The sauce brought it all together with the wonderful flavor and scent of cumin adding to the dish.
This dinner was quite an unexpected success with my family. I didn’t expect my little one to enjoy the seed pesto, but he eagerly gobbled it up. My husband, well… he was happy to have a meal at home that was reminiscent of one you might find in a restaurant. I’d say this was definitely a good way to dress up plain old chicken.  And it was another big hit from one of my favorite seasonal cookbooks.

This recipe can be found here:  Chicken with Pumpkinseed Pesto and Butternut Sauce

Other pumpkin seed recipes on the blogs:
Wild Yeast: Pumpkin Seed Bread
Wasabimon:  Cinnamon- Pumpkin Seed Brittle
RecipeGirlButternut Squash & Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls
Lisa is CookingSquash- Pepita Bread

Leave a Comment

23 Responses to “Chicken Breasts with Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce”

  1. 1

    Ben — October 15, 2009 @ 4:48 AM

    That’s brilliant! I have made sauces with pumpkin seeds and they are so delicious. I really need to try this one.

  2. 2

    Meghan — October 15, 2009 @ 6:27 AM

    Wow, this is an amazing recipe! I love the idea of a pumpkin seed pesto because I’m allergic to nuts (but not seeds). A butternut squash sauce is a fantastic idea!

  3. 3

    nina — October 15, 2009 @ 6:51 AM

    Although your apple tarts looks spectacular, it is the chicken meal that has my attention. Wow, what an amazing plate of food!!!

  4. 4

    Bellini Valli — October 15, 2009 @ 7:14 AM

    I am with Nina…this chicken recipe made me stand at attention!!!!!!

  5. 5

    Barbara — October 15, 2009 @ 7:36 AM

    Super combination! I like the seed pesto- but my favorite is butternut squash on top. I am a big fan.

  6. 6

    Eliana — October 15, 2009 @ 8:17 AM

    WOW – this is mouthwatering. The perfect Fall meal.

  7. 7

    Kay — October 15, 2009 @ 9:39 AM

    This looks absolutely delicious. seed pesto… I really have to try that.

  8. 8

    Nicole Feliciano — October 15, 2009 @ 9:35 AM

    Saw your tweet…had to check this out. Y.U.M. I’m posting my parsnip recipe tomorrow on Momtrends Friday Food stop by, link up and cheers.

  9. 9

    Laura — October 15, 2009 @ 9:48 AM

    That’s fantastic. I love cooking with pumpkin seeds although I do not do it as often as I should.

  10. 10

    Sues — October 15, 2009 @ 10:20 AM

    WOW! First of all, I LOVE that photo of your leeks!! Beautiful! Second of all, yes! This totally looks like something you would get in a restaurant. Bookmarked for sure!!

  11. 11

    ingrid — October 15, 2009 @ 10:50 AM

    Oh, man that looks perfect! I wouldn’t change a thing!

  12. 12

    Angela Martin — October 15, 2009 @ 12:52 PM

    Looks so good. I have made those apple tarts several times since you posted them. I made them last weekend in fact. They are one of my families favorite recipes.

  13. 13

    DianaHayes — October 15, 2009 @ 4:10 PM

    That looks like a great dish. I love pumpkin seeds.

  14. 14

    Cara — October 15, 2009 @ 7:28 PM

    What a great sounding cookbook! Those tarts look amazing, and the chicken recipe looks delicious. Just added this cookbook to my Amazon wishlist. Thanks for sharing!

  15. 15

    Katrina — October 16, 2009 @ 10:00 AM

    So, dinner and dessert at your house tomorrow! Dang, all that looks so good!

  16. 16

    farida — October 16, 2009 @ 2:05 PM

    Pumpkin seed pesto is a great idea! I usually eat them off right after cutting a pumpkin:)So, this is a great recipe for change.

  17. 17

    Mimi — October 16, 2009 @ 2:12 PM

    I love the idea of a pumpkin seed pesto. You chicken looks delicious.

  18. 18

    Miranda — October 18, 2009 @ 5:49 PM

    I fell upon your site from the foodieblog roll. I am glad I did. You have a wonderful site with amazing posts and pictures.

    I love it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  19. 19

    Paula-bell'alimento — October 18, 2009 @ 8:43 PM

    Lori this look divine! I love the idea of Pumpkin seed Pesto! So unique. The weather has taken a turn here & I’m definitely looking for some cool weather recipes to warm us up!

  20. 20

    pigpigscorner — October 19, 2009 @ 11:23 AM

    What a gorgeous meal!

  21. 21

    Jessica — October 27, 2009 @ 5:07 AM

    Lori, I love the creativity of this recipe. I can’t wait to try this – we all love pumpkin seeds and I’m sure this would be a huge hit.

  22. 22

    DaisyLou09 — November 8, 2009 @ 10:12 PM

    That chicken is making my mouth water! Beautiful, thanks for sharing!

  23. 23

    cheryl — November 9, 2009 @ 4:36 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing that recipe. I just made it! I changed a few things, not that it needed any change, just used what I had. I used chipotle peppers instead of jalapeno, added a bit of a smoky flavor, and then instead of cream in the sauce I used nonfat greek yogurt, to cut down on the fat a bit. I served with brown rice and roasted brussel sprouts, Sooooooo Delicious! Thank you!