Chicken with Pine Nut Sauce

chicken with pine nut sauce

Chicken with Pine Nut Sauce

This pine nut sauce is a favourite of mine. It’s based on the Turkish nut sauce called ‘tarator’ which is usually made with walnuts. To be honest I prefer this creamy pine nut version. It’s super lovely served with chicken and doubles up as a tasty dressing to have with the salad leaves.

Enough for 2
takes: 15 minutes

4 chicken thigh fillets
100g (3.5oz) pine nuts
1/2 clove garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bag baby kale or other salad leaves to serve

1. Preheat a large frying pan or skillet on a high heat.

2. Bash chicken with the palm of your hand so that the thigh fillets are an even thickness across. Rub with a little oil. Season.

3. Pop chicken into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side.

4. Meanwhile, whizz pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until you have a smoothish sauce. Taste and season.

5. Turn chicken when well browned and cook on the second side for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink.

6. Divide sauce between 2 plates. Top with chicken and serve leaves on the side.


different meat – chicken breasts, 1 per person will work (bash them until flattened and about 1/2in thick before cooking). Also good with fish fillets (adjust cooking time and no need to bash) or pork chops. Lamb fillet or back straps will also be great.

vegetarian – replace chicken with sliced halloumi (just cook until golden on both sides) or eggplant. You could also try serving the sauce and salad with a couple of fried eggs each.

vegan – replace chicken with eggplant ‘steaks’. Slice 1 large eggplant crosswise and cook in oil until well browned on both sides and super tender. Will take about 5 minutes a side. You might like to increase the sauce recipe to make it more substantial too.

budget – replace pine nuts with cheaper nuts like cashews or almonds. Also consider using 1/2 nuts and 1/2 soft breadcrumbs.

nut-free – serve chicken and salad with a yoghurt sauce (natural yoghurt seasoned with salt & pepper) or just use a good quality mayonnaise or aioli.

carb lovers / more substantial
– serve with warm pita bread to wrap chicken, sauce and salad or serve with cooked couscous or quinoa.

more substantial (low carb)beautiful broccoli. More sauce.

more veg – add grilled veg like zucchini, red peppers (capsicum) or eggplant.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

chicken thigh fillets – freeze them.

pine nuts
– keep in the pantry.

garlic – pantry in the dark or a brown paper bag to prevent sprouting.

lemon – will keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge.

baby kale or other salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they wont go slimy.

Prep Ahead

Yes. Make sauce as per recipe but don’t add the chicken or salad. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze. To serve bring back to room temp and serve with freshly cooked chicken and salad.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  • This was an interesting change of pace! I think my husband liked it a bit better than I did, but we both enjoyed it. I used cashews for the sauce because my store didn’t have pine nuts. We also used chicken breast cutlets because that’s what we had on hand. We started with the chicken/lettuce/sauce on its own, but then I decided to tuck mine into a pita and it was delicious that way. Thanks Jules!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *