My daughter loves pesto. While it may be odd for a three-year old, you will not see me complaining.
She doesn’t eat any other vegetables(except sun dried tomatoes<mabye even weirder?), so this is pretty special.
Another thing she loves is schnitzel, which is Israels most popular kid friendly food. Chicken tenders that are breaded and fried and she especially loves the ones made by my husband- oh man he makes the best schnitzel ever!
So while we could happily eat fried chicken every day of the week, I did think that at some point we needed to mix things up a little. Also, as I make these for the kids when they get home from school which is CRANKY TIME central, these needed to come together fast.
I would have had more chicken fingers to photograph but……
try this Honey Garlic Chicken Katsu- also a family favourite!
Although the season for basil is ending, my plants in the garden still have leaves, and we threw them into the food processor with some walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and salt. This is my go-to pesto recipe! Feel free to experiment with other nuts- pistachio, cashew, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds are ones I’ve tried.
-While you’re at it just double the pesto! It’s also great as a spread for bagels and with breakfast omelettes.
I marinate the chicken tenders in the roasted garlic and pesto in the morning, and when Lani comes home, bread them and fry them up. Wallah! Simply delicious- and hello, the kids are eating ROASTED GARLIC AND PESTO. incredible!
Golden and crunchy as anything…
If you want to take a healthier route and bake these, go for it, but I will say, the crunch is way better with a fry.
These little leaf dishes are really sweet for serving extra pesto in! [affiliate link!]
are you following @estee_bestie on Instagram yet?!
Roasted Garlic and Pesto Chicken Fingers
Walnut Pesto(makes 1/2 cup)
- 2 cups basil leaves, washed and dried
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp Black pepper
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 5 chicken breasts cleaned and cut into strips about finger length
- 1 head of roasted garlic(instructions below)
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 Tbs honey
- 1/2 cup pesto(store bought or homemade walnut pesto)
- 1-2 cups panko crumbs
- oil, for frying or baking spray for baking
- Add basil, garlic, walnuts, salt, and pepper to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend until it won't blend anymore. Scrape down the sides of the machine, and drizzle in olive oil. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down any large pieces of basil.
- SUGGESTION:roast a couple heads of garlic at some point when the oven is already on- just pop um along in there and then use them whenever you see fit.
- To roast garlic, cut a head of garlic in half, place in a large square of aluminium foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and close up the foil. Bake or roast in the oven for about 45 minutes on high temperature, until the cloves are soft when poked with a fork and pop out of the skins.
To assemble Chicken Tenders
- Season chicken pieces with black pepper and salt. Place roasted garlic in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the pesto, honey, and chicken. Mix to combine. You can do this in the morning and let the flavours marinate or just continue on.
- Place panko crumbs in another bowl, add the chicken tenders and gently mix until each piece is coated. You can do this one by one or throw all of them in like I do. Add panko crumbs if needed so all the pieces are coated!
- Heat up a pan of oil and fry the pieces in batches until golden on each side(this should take around 3 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel and enjoy hot!
- To bake: Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper and arrange the chicken pieces, making sure they aren't touching one another(so the edges get crispy). Spray the tops with baking spray and bake on 350f/175c until golden, flip and bake the second side.