RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Pesto Chicken Burgers

As Americans discover the regional food craze, I can't get much closer to home than my kitchen and herb gardens. Both gardens are directly off my kitchen, accessible through French doors. I love to cook with fresh herbs in the summer and the hot Oklahoma weather is quite conducive to bountiful herb harvests. I love basil and every year I buy at least three or four new basil plants at the annual herb festivals in April. And, ever year these three or four plants reseed. Multiply the reseeding of four plants per year by 10 years and I have basil coming up everywhere. Pesto is a great way to utilize my abundant basil crop every summer!


For Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
¼ c Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin Olive oil

For patties
2 lbs. boneless chicken breast
¼ c. dried minced onion
½ c. loose basil leaves
¼ c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
½ t. salt
¼ t. fresh ground pepper
Olive oil to coat patties and brush on bread
6 slices of Ciabatta bread
18 cherry tomatoes


Prepare pesto using the food processor with blade. Place basil leaves, ¼ c. Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and 3 garlic cloves in food processor and pulse until chopped and blended. Drizzle in the ½ c. of olive oil while food processor is running. Set aside. Clean food processor and blade.

Cut chicken breasts into large chunks and pulse in food processor with blade until you have a very coarse ground. Add onion flakes, basil, bread crumbs, garlic, 3 T. olive oil and ¼ c. Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper. Pulse just to mix and until basil is chopped.

Shape into six patties and chill for 1 hour before grilling.

Preheat grill. Coat patties with olive oil before grilling. Grill about 4 minutes per side.

Brush Ciabatta slices with olive oil and grill until toasted.

Remove burgers from grill. To assemble, place one piece of grilled Ciabatta on serving plate. Place burger on top. Top with 1-2 tablespoons of pesto. Arrange three cherry tomatoes on pesto. Serve open faced.


Although by the end of the summer we are putting basil in almost every recipe, we love the traditional pesto on this burger. For a shortcut, you may use prepared pesto.