Want to serve up a revamped Whole30 version of one of my Chinese granny’s best recipes? Then roll up your sleeves and make this ridiculously easy, Whole30-friendly, and super tasty Ginger-Scallion Chicken!
I know, I know—I’m always extolling the virtues of cooking chicken thighs, and you’re probably shocked that I’m not using ’em here. But to be honest, I actually prefer using chicken breasts in this Ginger-Scallion Chicken recipe. Call it nostalgia, but I adore this weeknight chicken breast recipe (which I first presented in our newest cookbook, Ready or Not!) precisely because it was inspired by one of my childhood favorites. (If you’d prefer to cook from your copy of Ready or Not!, flip to page 108. There, it’s got a longer title, “Chicken Breasts with Ginger Scallion Pesto,” and a fun cartoon with the family riffing on pesto puns.)
I grew up sharing the same house with my paternal grandparents. My mom normally ruled the kitchen, but on special occasions like birthdays and holidays, my grandma would take charge of preparing whole poached chicken with a ginger-scallion dipping sauce. Inspired by the traditional Cantonese flavors of my grandma’s home cooking, I came up with this umami-packed chicken breast recipe. I miss my grandma, but whenever I make Ginger-Scallion Chicken, I feel like she’s smiling down on me—and giving me a high-five for infusing the ginger-scallion sauce into the chicken breasts to keep ’em juicy and tender.
(Oh, and did I mention that this recipe is featured in the May 2018 issue of Rachael Ray Every Day Magazine? Because it is. Doesn’t Mini Michelle look cute standing on top of a tin of my Magic Mushroom Powder?)
Time to make Ginger-Scallion Chicken!
- ¼ cup softened duck fat, ghee, avocado oil, or fat of choice
- ½ cup thinly sliced scallions (about 3 scallions)
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (use a microplane for best results!)
- Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (10-12 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon melted duck fat, ghee, or fat of choice
- Small bowl
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Microplane rasp grater
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Stainless steel wire rack
- Instant-read meat thermometer
Preheat the oven to 450°F with the rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, add the fat, scallions, ginger, and 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt (use half the amount if you are using a fine grain salt or Morton’s kosher salt).
Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin of each chicken breast away from the meat to form a pocket.
Add 1 tablespoon of the “pesto” under the skin of each breast.
Carefully press and massage the skin to evenly distribute the ginger-scallion pesto. At this point, you can proceed with cooking the chicken, or you can refrigerate it for up to a day and roast it later.
When you’re ready to cook, put the chicken skin-side up on a wire rack atop a foil-lined baking sheet. (No foil? No problem. You can leave it unlined as long as you don’t mind using extra elbow grease when you clean up later.)
Brush the melted fat on the chicken breasts…
…and season with more salt.
Oven-roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the chicken registers 150°F.
Rest the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes.
Debone the breasts, slice, and serve!
If you have leftovers, they can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. But that’s a big “if”!
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
- ¼ cup softened duck fat ghee, avocado oil, or fat of choice
- ½ cup thinly sliced scallions about 3 scallions
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger use a microplane for best results!
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 4 chicken breasts bone-in, skin-on (10-12 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon melted duck fat ghee, or fat of choice
- Preheat the oven to 450°F with the rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, add the fat, scallions, ginger, and 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt (use half the amount if you are using a fine grain salt or Morton's kosher salt). Mix well.
- Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin of each chicken breast away from the meat to form a pocket. Add 1 tablespoon of the “pesto” under the skin of each breast.
- Carefully press and massage the skin to evenly distribute the pesto. At this point you can proceed with cooking the chicken, or refrigerate it for up to a day and roast it later.
- Put the chicken skin-side up on a wire rack atop a foil-lined baking sheet. You can leave it unlined if you don’t mind using extra elbow grease when you clean up later.
- Brush the melted fat on the chicken breasts, and season with more salt.
- Oven-roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 150°F.
- Rest the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, debone the breasts, slice, and serve!
- This tastes great with chicken thighs, too!
- You can marinate about 1 day in advance. If you go any longer, the raw ginger can make the texture of the chicken kinda mushy.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
I am excited to try this! It looks soo delicious! Quick question though – would it still work without the wire rack? I do not have one at the moment..
As much as I love 99% of your amazing Paleo recipes, this one didn’t wow me. It didn’t have a lot of flavor, and I’m not a huge fan of chicken breasts anyway. It was easy, and 30 min in the air fryer (flipping half way through) at 375F did the trick, but the skin shrunk up and all that was left was mostly plain, boneless chicken.
This recipe blows my mind. How so minimal ingredients can create an amazingly flavorful meal. This is what I love the most about your recipes, simple yet wonderfully unique flavors. I used chicken thighs in the recipe and air fried it. To prevent the scallion and ginger from burning I hid it under the skin and the chicken. 😉
My husband said this is one of the best chicken recipes I’ve made for us. He’s normally very chatty during dinner but got very quiet when he had this because he was enjoying it so much! That’s a five-star review from him! It is not complicated to make and is delicious. I liked it even more the second day. I used olive oil which worked fine but I can see that something more solid at room temp would make it a little easier to make and apply the paste.