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

November 13, 2018
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 is former editor of Pepper.ph and was part of the team until she got whisked away to Singapore in 2016 where she worked in advertising and eventually found herself back in the food industry. She currently does marketing work for two popular Singaporean dessert brands and is a weekly columnist for The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s lifestyle brand, Preen.ph. She has always been crazy about travel, food, and her dog Rocket.

11 comments in this post SHOW

11 responses to “Stuffed Chicken Pillows with Cream Cheese and Arugula Pesto: Gourmet Chicken Empanadas”

  1. Addi dela Cruz says:


    • misshannamargherita says:

      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!

  2. Athena says:

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

  3. Jasmine says:

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

    • Mikka Wee says:

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

  4. Clare Lorenzo says:

    drooool! 🙂 :O

  5. Aiza Zantua says:

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

  6. […] Chicken pockets are one of Mathlete’s favorite meals.  These stuffed chicken pillows look like they are sure to […]

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