Lemon-cumin chicken with mint and spinach pesto

What makes this pesto different is that I use walnuts instead of pine nuts and spinach and mint in place of basil. This recipe makes eating raw spinach exciting--and, trust me, I'm not a spinach-salad kind of person! But I really enjoy it this way. The mint sweetens it and the salty Parmesan seals the deal. Cumin gives a spice to the chicken, which pairs so well with these flavors.

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Lemon-cumin chicken with mint and spinach pesto
Makes: 4  servings Prep 20 mins Total Time 4 hrs


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 1/2 packed cups fresh mint leaves
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Cooking spray


1. For the chicken, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes in a glass baking dish. Add the chicken and coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hr or overnight.

2. For the pesto, blend the mint, spinach, cheese, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor until chunky. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth; set aside.

3. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding any excess. Grill chicken until cooked through, 4 to 5 min per side. Serve chicken with the pesto.


  • Recipes reprinted from Giada's Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets. Copyright © 2013 by GDL Foods Inc. Photographs copyright © 2013 by Amy Neunsinger. To be published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House llc, on November 5.

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings Per Recipe 4
  • cal.(kcal)240,
  • Fat, total(g)13,
  • sat. fat(g)4,
  • carb.(g)2,
  • fiber(g)1,
  • pro.(g)27,
  • sodium(mg)395,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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