Every once in a while I feel like spending a bit of extra time in the kitchen to make something a little bit special. And I don’t mean hours and hours- I don’t believe good, nutritious meals should have to take much time out of our busy days- but if you have an extra 15 minutes to spare and want to wow your family or friends, try this one. White bean smash is an idea I introduced in my pantry staples post (see here if you missed it) as an alternative to mashed potato, an easy way to boost the fibre, protein and vegetable serves of your meal. This dish also proves that pesto doesn’t just have to be left to pasta; in this recipe it acts as a lovely flavour-packed sauce! For more from me on pesto, click here.
Ricotta and spinach stuffed chicken with white bean smash
2-3 chicken breasts (~500g)
100g reduced fat ricotta
¼ C spinach, finely chopped
2 Tbsp semi-dried tomatoes, patted dry, finely chopped
2x400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp skim milk
4 Tbsp basil pesto (bought or homemade, see recipe), thinned out with a little water
1 bunch broccolini
1 carrot, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
- Combine ricotta, spinach and semi-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cut a horizontal pocket into each chicken breast and spans nearly the whole length and width of the breast so that there is just one opening.
- Spoon or pipe ricotta mixture into the pockets of each chicken breast, using your hands to massage the mixture evenly down the length of the breast.
- Cook in a large frypan over medium heat, sprayed with a little olive or canola oil, turning until cooked through (longer than an un-stuffed breast, roughly 20mins). Alternatively, brown in a frypan then finish the cooking process in the oven.
- Meanwhile, heat beans in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat, together with garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil. Mash roughly so the beans don’t quite form a smooth mash, but more of a ‘smash’. Stir through milk and season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, steam vegetables in the microwave or a steamer.
- Slice each stuffed chicken breast and serve each person a large spoonful of bean smash, a few slices of stuffed chicken, vegetables and top with a tablespoon of pesto.