Stuffed Chicken Pillows with Cream Cheese and Arugula Pesto: Gourmet Chicken Empanadas

July 8, 2013
Stuffed Chicken Pillows1

These Stuffed Chicken Pillows are like little gourmet chicken empanadas. The cheesy filling paired with the arugula pesto and shredded Bounty Fresh chicken breasts are a treat to have when you feel hunger pangs invading your belly.

Stuffed Chicken Pillows2Stuffed Chicken Pillows3

This dish is best prepared ahead. They’re great as either the main course in your office lunchbox or as a quick snack whenever you want. The arugula pesto is made with cashew nuts, giving it a roasted, smoky taste that blends well with the cheese. The water chestnuts add a soft, crunchy bite for a whole other layer of texture. We packed the stuffing into some buttery puff pastry as we felt this combination works best with the yummy chicken creaminess within.

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Stuffed Chicken Pillows with Cream Cheese and Arugula Pesto

Total Time: 60 minutes / Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients for the Chicken

  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 3-4 Bounty Fresh boneless chicken breasts, poached and shredded
  • 5 pieces water chestnuts, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Quickmelt cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 2 375-gram pack frozen puff pastry blocks, thawed and cut to 4×4-inch squares (makes around 8 per pack)
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Instant gravy

Ingredients for the Arugula Pesto

  • 2 cups arugula leaves, blanched and squeezed dry
  • ½ cup roasted cashew nuts
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. To make the pesto, blend arugula, cashew and garlic in a processor, while drizzling in olive oil. Season to taste. Transfer to a container.
  2. In a bowl, place 3 tablespoons of pesto, cream cheese, chicken, chestnuts and grated cheese and mix until well combined. Season and set aside.
  3. Place 1-2 tablespoons chicken mixture in the middle of a cut up puff pastry. Fold the dough corners to the center and over the chicken mixture forming a pillow, making sure there are no openings. Do the same with the rest.
  4. Dip each pillow in melted butter. Roll on breadcrumbs and shake excess crumbs. Place chicken pillow on lined sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until light brown.
  5. As the pillows bake, prepare the gravy by following the instructions on the package.
  6. Serve warm with gravy on the side.
Mikka Wee Mikka Wee Mikka Wee’s goal is to travel the world with a backpack stuffed with her books and not much of an itinerary. With an appetite thrice the size of her 5-foot frame, waffles are the one thing that makes her weak in the knees. She also likes to torture herself with sci-fi movie marathons until her brain turns into goop. Her list of not-so-secret culinary crushes includes David Chang, Ivan Orkin, Rene Redzepi, and Anthony Bourdain. Alexander Supertramp is her hero. FOLLOW
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Addi dela Cruz
Addi dela Cruz



HAD THE SAME REACTION!!! Will make it this weekend! Sooooo excited! Arugula, cream cheese and shredded chicken pa lang, nagugutom na ako. E deep-fried pa! SARAP!


Hoy Agnes! Sa’min mo muna pa taste test yan! 😀


Where do you buy the arugula and the frozen puff pastry?


Frozen puff pastry is available at Santi’s. 🙂 As for the arugula, I think Rustan’s has it sometimes.


Unimart, SnR, Trinoma and SM has it sometimes. 🙂


Can you use a lower-fat substitute for cream cheese? 🙂 Any recos?

Mikka Wee
Mikka Wee

Yogurt is surprisingly a good substitute for tangy dairy. 🙂 You can also use cottage cheese, if you wish.

Clare Lorenzo
Clare Lorenzo

drooool! 🙂 :O

Aiza Zantua
Aiza Zantua

i love this…i’ll try this weekend…family time..thy will love this recipe.hmmmmm


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