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+ servings

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rustic Basil Pesto

Author - Serena Wolf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
  • ½ lemon thinly sliced

For the Rustic Basil Pesto:

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts toasted and finely chopped (you can also use almonds or pistachios if you prefer)
  • 1 cup fresh basil finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves finely minced/grated/pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt


  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a small bowl combine the goat cheese, garlic, basil, red pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Taste and season with a little bit of salt if necessary.
  • Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Loosen the skin from each breast by running your finger underneath it. Be careful here peeps, you want to make sure the skin stays connected at the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep slit into each breast. It should be about 3 inches long and 1½ inches deep. Do NOT go all the way through the breast, capiche? You want to make a nice little pocket in the chicken. (I know that sounds gross.)
  • Spoon a tablespoon of goat cheese into the slit of each chicken breast, pushing it as deep as possible. Close the slit over the cheese with your fingers. (If you’re nervous about your stuffing job, you can always use a toothpick or two to hold the chicken together. Spoon a second tablespoon of goat cheese under the skin of each chicken breast, and smooth the skin over the top.
  • Place the stuffed chicken breasts into a baking dish. Rub the skin of each breast with a little bit of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place two thin slices of lemon on top of each breast and bake for 30 minutes until the skin is lightly browned and the chicken is cooked through. (If you’re scared of undercooking, whip out your handy meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the breast and make sure that it read 165 degrees F.)
  • While your chicken is in the oven, prepare your rustic pesto. Heat a medium skillet/pan over medium heat (with no oil). When hot, add the pine nuts and toast for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Finely chop pine nuts and place them in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients for the pesto and mix until well combined. Done.
  • Serve your goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts topped with rustic basil pesto.