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  • Brittany Sparks

Easy Pesto, Chicken, Broccoli & Brown Rice

With an abundance of basil from my patio garden I came up with this easy dinner for a busy weeknight meal. Pesto is one of my favorite sauces and tastes great in this dish. This meal can be put together really quickly on a busy weeknight by meal planning beforehand. So if you need a recipe to use up the last of this seasons fresh basil then this is a great one to try!

Fresh herbs are a great way to brighten up any meal, especially with sauces. Herbs help to add flavor and nutrients to a dish. Using fresh herbs in cooking is a great way to add a boost of flavor to your dishes when trying to cut back on sodium.

Fresh herbs are fairly easy to grow at home and can help save you a few dollars with your grocery bill. I planted a few seeds this year on my patio garden and had basil all summer long. If you have kids this is also a great summer project for them to be involved in and to help them learn more about fresh and seasonal foods.

This pesto sauce is made with toasted walnuts, garlic, olive oil and a little Parmesan cheese. Walnuts are a great source of nutrients such as: omega 3 fatty acids, heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin B6, magnesium and folate.

I love throwing in a handful of nuts in sauces, smoothies and baked goods to reap the many benefits that nuts have to offer.

This dish is one of the first ways I got my toddler to eat broccoli. If your kids are a little fussy with veggies try adding sauces and seasoning the vegetables to make them more flavorful and your kids may be a little more willing to try them.

One way I get through the busy workweek is by meal planning. I like to cook on my day off a batch of whole grains such as brown rice, farro, or quinoa that can be used in various dishes during the week. This saves me time when cooking dinner as the grain I am using is already cooked.

So do you want to throw together a tasty weeknight meal? Try out this easy pesto, broccoli, chicken and brown rice dinner the next time you want to try something new.


Easy Pesto, Chicken, Broccoli & Brown Rice

Author: Brittany Sparks

Makes 8 (1 cup) Servings

Prep: 30 min

Cook: 15 min

Total: 45 min


  • 2 Chicken Breasts (Boneless/Skinless), cut into 1 inch pieces

  • 2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice (~1 cup raw)

  • 1 Medium Orange Bell Pepper, Diced

  • 3 Cups Broccoli Florets (cut into bite sized pieces)

  • 2 Whole Cloves of Garlic + 6 Cloves Minced

  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil + 1 Tbsp

  • 1/3 Cup Walnuts, *Toasted (see note below)

  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves (42 grams)

  • ¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 Tsp Salt

  • ½ Tsp Pepper


  • To toast the walnuts place in a pan over medium heat stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes, or until they start to release their oils.


  1. Cook the rice according to package directions.

  2. To make the pesto place the basil, 2 cloves of garlic, Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts in a food processor and process until the mixture is coarsely chopped.With the machine running slowly add in 1/3 cup of olive oil and process until smooth.Set aside.

  3. In a large skillet heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, broccoli and diced bell pepper and cook stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the broccoli florets soften.

  4. Next add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.

  5. Add in the 2 cups of cooked rice, pesto sauce and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size (1 Cup):

Calories 298, Total Fat 16 g, Saturated Fat 2.7 g, Monounsaturated Fat 9 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 3.9 g, Sodium 391 mg, Total Carbohydrate 17 g, Dietary Fiber 2.7 g, Protein 19.6 g, Potassium 469 mg, Phosphorous 254 mg


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