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Dinner Recipes

Roast Chicken with Arugula-Pesto Drizzle Recipe Makes It Easy to Wow — Ready for the Oven in 20 Minutes

Peppery arugula and walnuts stand in for basil and pine nuts in our 5-ingredient sauce that adds bright flavor to this juicy centerpiece

When it’s my turn to host the neighborhood supper club, one of my go-to mains is this whole roast chicken with an arugula pesto drizzle. It’s juicy and succulent – something that can be hard to achieve when cooking a whole bird! The secret to cooking it up tender is seasoning the chicken beforehand and placing garlic in the cavity to not only infuse the poultry with flavor but allow that aromatic to steam when it’s undergoing heat.

Also, arugula pesto? Who would’ve thought of that?! It’s unique, flavorful and much more peppery compared to using basil. We also substitute in walnuts and omit the parmesan that is used in traditional pesto, but feel free to add it back in or use whatever type of nut you like. If you’ve given this recipe a go, comment below to let us know!

Related: Easy Lemon-Oregano Roast Chicken Recipe Cooks Up Full of Delicious Flavor


6 servings

Total Time

Prep Time

Cook Time


  • 1 lemon, zested, juiced
  • 4 cups arugula, packed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 head + 1 clove garlic
  • 1 (5–6 lb.) roasting chicken


• Heat oven to 425°F. Grate 1 tsp. zest and squeeze 2 Tbs. juice from lemon. In food processor, puree arugula, oil, walnuts, garlic clove, lemon juice and zest.

• Place chicken in large roasting pan. Sprinkle inside and outside with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Transfer 1/3 cup arugula pesto to small bowl; brush all over chicken. Cover and reserve remaining pesto.

• Slice garlic head in half; place inside chicken cavity. If desired, truss chicken. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh away from bone registers 170°F, about 1 1/2 hrs. Let stand 20 min. before carving. Serve with remaining pesto.


  • Calories: 408 kcal
  • Fat: 36 gram
  • Saturated Fat: 7 gram
  • Protein: 18 gram
  • Carbohydrate: 3 gram
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg
  • Sugar: 2 gram
  • Sodium: 434 mg
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