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Grilled Chicken with Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are nutritional powerhouses full of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. They bring a rich, earthy note to this slightly spicy pesto. Serve with a baby spinach salad with marinated red onions. Any leftover pesto is delicious spread on chicken or turkey sandwiches with sliced havarti cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds 
  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves 
  • 5 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice 
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 1/2 serrano chili, seeded 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz. 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and just beginning to turn golden at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the pumpkin seeds, cilantro, 4 Tbs. of the olive oil, the lime juice, garlic, chili, the 1/4 tsp. salt and the water and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set the pesto aside.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill and oil the rack.

Brush the chicken on both sides with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill rack and cook, turning once, until cooked through, 12 to 13 minutes total.

Transfer the chicken to individual plates and spoon the pesto on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).