Keto pesto chicken casserole with feta cheese and olives

Keto pesto chicken casserole with feta cheese and olives

Mediterranean superstars — feta cheese, olives, and pesto — unite in this creamy, easy-to-make keto chicken dish. Whether using low-carb, store-bought or your own home-made pesto, give it a go. Your taste buds — and your family — will thank you!

Keto pesto chicken casserole with feta cheese and olives

Mediterranean superstars — feta cheese, olives, and pesto — unite in this creamy, easy-to-make keto chicken dish. Whether using low-carb, store-bought or your own home-made pesto, give it a go. Your taste buds — and your family — will thank you!
USMetric
4 servingservings

Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs 650 g boneless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 13 cup (2¾ oz.) 80 ml (80 g) red pesto or green pesto
  • 1¼ cups 300 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 3 oz. (23 cup) 85 g (150 ml) pitted olives
  • 5 oz. 140 g feta cheese, diced
  • 1 1 garlic clove, finely choppedgarlic cloves, finely chopped
For serving
  • 5 oz. (2½ cups) 140 g (600 ml) leafy greens
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Instructions

Instructions are for 4 servings. Please modify as needed.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add butter or oil to a large skillet and fry the chicken pieces in batches on medium-high heat until golden brown.
  4. Using store-bought low-carb red or green pesto, or making your own, mix pesto and heavy cream in a bowl.
  5. Place the fried chicken pieces in a baking dish together with olives, feta cheese and garlic. Add the pesto/cream mixture.
  6. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until the dish turns bubbly and light brown around the edges.

Tip!

We have a very quick and easy low-carb green pesto recipe. Try it out!

A number of low-carb store-bought varieties of pesto are available in most North American grocery stores.

Red pesto is typically made with basil leaves, tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic.

Green pesto is typically made with basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic.

Look for ones with real olive oil, not soybean oil or canola oil, no sugar, and less than 5 net carbs per serving.

A simple side dish of field greens or crunchy romaine lettuce complements the rich flavors.

Lightly sautéed asparagus or green beans work, too.

If you feel like making this dish even heartier you can pair it with cauliflower rice, roasted cauliflower or fried broccoli.

Meal prep

This dish can be prepared by frying the chicken ahead of time. You can assemble the entire casserole and keep in the fridge for a day before baking it. Just make sure you let it come to room temperature before placing in the oven. It's also good to give it a stir since the pesto can sink to the bottom.

If you have chicken or turkey leftovers, they are perfect for this dish. Just skip the first 3 steps of the instructions and take it from there.

If you're short on time you can also use a rotisserie chicken. Take the meat off the bones and divide it into bite-sized pieces. Follow the instructions from step 3.

Storing and reheating

If you intend to eat the casserole within 2-3 days you can store it in the fridge. Otherwise it's better to place the casserole in the freezer where it will last up to 3 months. Make sure your casserole dish is suitable for freezing.

If freezing, let thaw in the refrigerator the day before you plan on serving it. Don’t place a cold baking dish straight from the fridge into a hot oven as this can cause your dish to crack. Reheat the casserole in the oven at 300°F (150°C) until thoroughly warm.

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442 comments

  1. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    If I can't find chicken due to the coronavirus can I use sausage?

    Yes, this is a pretty flexible recipe and sausage would work well!

  2. Nicole
    Hi, 650g of chicken thighs is around 180g protein so divided by four that's 45g of protein just for the chicken alone, so not sure how the nutritional info is working out at 38g per serve? Really love the Diet Doctor site and the recipes but it would be nice to be able to rely on the nutrition info (which I was doing blindly but wanted to put some recipes in My Fitness Pal to track my macros).
    Think this one needs updating!

    Thanks

    Reply: #403
  3. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    Hi, 650g of chicken thighs is around 180g protein so divided by four that's 45g of protein just for the chicken alone, so not sure how the nutritional info is working out at 38g per serve? Really love the Diet Doctor site and the recipes but it would be nice to be able to rely on the nutrition info (which I was doing blindly but wanted to put some recipes in My Fitness Pal to track my macros).
    Think this one needs updating!
    Thanks

    Diet Doctor uses the USDA nutritional database to calculate the nutritional value of our recipes. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/ We encourage you to calculate the nutritional information with the ingredients you use.

  4. charinag
    Hi guys! Could I put the casserole in the freezer after I cook that?
  5. Shuggins
    Anyone make this in the instant pot
    Reply: #406
  6. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    Anyone make this in the instant pot

    It has not been tested in an instant pot. If you try it, stir in the heavy cream at the end.

  7. Andreja
    Today on my table!
    Very delicious dish!
  8. microchap2001
    Very good. Very rich. I made green pesto w/ homegrown basil.
    Reply: #409
  9. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    Very good. Very rich. I made green pesto w/ homegrown basil.

    I am so glad you enjoyed this one! I know homemade pesto make it extra special.

  10. Courtney Manuel
    I need the calories, I don’t under stand how a serving is 1018 kcal which is equal to 1018 calories, right? What’s the serving size 4 oz?
    Reply: #411
  11. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    I need the calories, I don’t under stand how a serving is 1018 kcal which is equal to 1018 calories, right? What’s the serving size 4 oz?

    Yes, kcal is basically the same as calories. The actual serving size may fluctuate depending on how much the total dish reduced across the different cooking steps. The recipe, as written makes 4 servings, so a serving size is 1/4 of the total dish.

  12. Jen
    this one is incredible! Absolutely loved it! Used the recipe to make my own pesto and it was beautiful. I left out olives as I dont eat them but added spinach through the casserole for some extra vitamins. Will definitely be making this one again as we cannot fault the flavour at all!
    Reply: #413
  13. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    this one is incredible! Absolutely loved it! Used the recipe to make my own pesto and it was beautiful. I left out olives as I dont eat them but added spinach through the casserole for some extra vitamins. Will definitely be making this one again as we cannot fault the flavour at all!

    Yay! I am so glad you loved this one and was able to personalize it.

  14. Sophia Moss
    This was surety tase, rich and DELICIOUS! Cooked some rice for the sides for my family so was a winner for all. Thank you!
  15. Chrissy
    I really wanted to like this one, as I enjoy all of the ingredients. However, something about the way the flavors baked together reminded me faintly of regurgitated stomach contents.
    Replies: #416, #448
  16. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    I really wanted to like this one, as I enjoy all of the ingredients. However, something about the way the flavors baked together reminded me faintly of regurgitated stomach contents.

    Oh, no! So sorry this recipe didn't work for you!

  17. Cheri
    Oh WoW! This one is so good, my house smelt incredible as it was baking!! This will be in my rotation for sure!
    Reply: #418
  18. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    Oh WoW! This one is so good, my house smelt incredible as it was baking!! This will be in my rotation for sure!

    I had the same experience with the smell! I couldn't wait to try it!

  19. Laura
    Excellent and delicious. Didn't do anything different and it was a wonderful meal.
  20. 1 comment removed
  21. Sarah Hart
    One of the few that just didn't do it for me, I found it a bit sickly
    Reply: #422
  22. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    One of the few that just didn't do it for me, I found it a bit sickly

    So sorry this one didn't work out for you, Sarah!

  23. Ade
    New to Keto and glad I found this site for advice and Recipes. I tried this Pesto chicken dish tonight - replacing the Olives with Mushrooms (really hate Olives, and it looks like there is half the carbs in Mushrooms in comparison) - What a flavour sensation!! Absolutely loved this meal (served with leafy green salad of lettuce, spinach, rocket, cucumber and spring onions) - the pesto pops in the creamy sauce, the saltiness of the fetta (which I've never had before) with the subtle flavours of chicken and mushroom - Awesome!
    Will definitely being doing this one again!!
    Ade - Sudbury, Suffolk, UK
    Reply: #424
  24. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    New to Keto and glad I found this site for advice and Recipes. I tried this Pesto chicken dish tonight - replacing the Olives with Mushrooms (really hate Olives, and it looks like there is half the carbs in Mushrooms in comparison) - What a flavour sensation!! Absolutely loved this meal (served with leafy green salad of lettuce, spinach, rocket, cucumber and spring onions) - the pesto pops in the creamy sauce, the saltiness of the fetta (which I've never had before) with the subtle flavours of chicken and mushroom - Awesome!
    Will definitely being doing this one again!!
    Ade - Sudbury, Suffolk, UK

    Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed this dish so much!

  25. Mad
    Hi, can’t wait to try this but a little issue! I have a nut allergy so can’t have pesto, is there any substitute for this?
    Thank you
    Reply: #426
  26. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    Hi, can’t wait to try this but a little issue! I have a nut allergy so can’t have pesto, is there any substitute for this?
    Thank you

    The pesto is a key element in this dish. Are you able to tolerate any nuts? If so you can use that nut to make your own pesto. Otherwise, you may try adding a layer of fresh basil and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

  27. Doro
    This is incredible delicious. I took chicken breast instead of thighs, it went well. And I've tried the cauliflower-rice as a side dish for the first time. It's so easy to prepare and it replaces rice excellently. Thank you!
    Reply: #428
  28. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    This is incredible delicious. I took chicken breast instead of thighs, it went well. And I've tried the cauliflower-rice as a side dish for the first time. It's so easy to prepare and it replaces rice excellently. Thank you!

    Great! So glad you enjoyed it!

  29. Gerry Molloy
    Is it ok to reheat this dish in a microwave?
    Reply: #430
  30. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    Is it ok to reheat this dish in a microwave?

    Hi, Gerry! That should be fine! If it's frozen, I would let it thaw some before reheating.

  31. Jennifer
    Tastes great but mine is really watery or runny.
  32. 1 comment removed
  33. Melissa Taukiri
    Love this so much! I've made it on many occasions now and the whole family likes it... which believe me is rare in my house.
    Reply: #434
  34. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    Love this so much! I've made it on many occasions now and the whole family likes it... which believe me is rare in my house.

    Awesome! I am glad it's a family favorite.

  35. Julianne
    My husband is not really on Keto, but has agreed to eat whatever recipe I try from this site. I made this for us last week - we both loved it and he has asked for it again this coming week! It's definitely going to make a regular appearance at our house - new favorite!
  36. brennans2904
    How can you have 80mls if pesto when it’s not a liquid? Shouldn’t it be in grams? What would be the weight measurement? Thanks
    Reply: #437
  37. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    How can you have 80mls if pesto when it’s not a liquid? Shouldn’t it be in grams? What would be the weight measurement? Thanks

    The default for this recipe is 4 servings which require 83 grams of pesto.

  38. Sarah
    I have a question please, I'm very new to keto. When a meal says 6g carbs, does this carb include the vegtables that has been used? Thanks
    Reply: #439
  39. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    I have a question please, I'm very new to keto. When a meal says 6g carbs, does this carb include the vegtables that has been used? Thanks

    The nutrition information provided reflects the net carbohydrates for the entire meal.

  40. csiegbahn
    Can coconut milk be substituted for cream?
    Reply: #441
  41. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    Can coconut milk be substituted for cream?

    We haven't tried that, but I imagine it would work well. Let us know if you try it out!

    Reply: #442
  42. csiegbahn
    Hi!

    I substituted the heavy cream for coconut milk, and baked the dish in the cast iron pan used to sauté the chicken. It was a delicious result! I highly recommend doing both!

  43. csiegbahn
    For the pesto, I substituted pine nuts for macadamia nuts, because I had some at home, and added spinach to make the pesto greener. Also a delicious result!
    Reply: #444
  44. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    For the pesto, I substituted pine nuts for macadamia nuts, because I had some at home, and added spinach to make the pesto greener. Also a delicious result!

    Great job using what you have!

  45. LM
    Hi -- I made this tonight, and the sauce came out runny. More like soup than sauce.
    It never thickened up. Did I do something wrong?
    Reply: #446
  46. Crystal Pullen Team Diet Doctor

    Hi -- I made this tonight, and the sauce came out runny. More like soup than sauce.
    It never thickened up. Did I do something wrong?

    I'm not sure. There are many factors that could be at play including using a lower fat milk or cooking at a lower temperature.

  47. Emma
    This is brilliant, but it worked out at 800+ calories so no leftover lunched for me!
  48. Brenda Lee
    Maybe it was the feta, My kids dont like the flavor it imparts so I used shredded cheddar and it was fantastic!
  49. Filao
    I substituted the cheese with 50% Buffalo mozzarella because it's what I had in, I only had a bit of feta in the fridge. It was lovely and my husband preferred this variation. Have only ever made with all feta previously, but will stick with my "accidental variation" now
    Reply: #450
  50. Kerry Merritt Team Diet Doctor

    I substituted the cheese with 50% Buffalo mozzarella because it's what I had in, I only had a bit of feta in the fridge. It was lovely and my husband preferred this variation. Have only ever made with all feta previously, but will stick with my "accidental variation" now

    Sounds great!

  51. Louise
    One of my faves, really tasty dish, I like it with rocket/arugula leaves.
  52. Sandy Bachik
    My husband and I have modified this recipe over the years.
    We grill our chicken and broccoli and add a little smoky flavor.
    We also cut up the chicken (after grilled - before baked)
    Baby arugula has been my favorite green to serve it over, so far.
    Mushrooms are good, but they make the dish very watery.
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