My Spring Vegetable Chicken Roulade is one of my favorite chicken dinners and it arrives just in time for springtime! This quick and easy dinner turns a regular chicken breast into a simple, elegant meal and it’s great to make ahead. It’s a chicken breast rolled with pancetta, Parmesan and basil for a zip of Italian flavor, along with seasonal peas and spinach, shallot and garlic. Yummy? Yes! Read on…

Rolled chicken filled with peas, pancetta and spinach on a white plate

These chicken rolls (or roll ups) are a great way to showcase spring vegetables. One of my favorite spring vegetable being peas. They add a lovely natural sweetness to any dish really.

Here are some of my own favorite pea recipes:

2 chicken roulades/rolls on a pewter plate

Make Ahead Roulade

Now this is the easy part. You can make both the filling and the rolls a day ahead. Just store them refrigerated in a sealed container and you’re good to go.

I love to serve this rolled chicken with Polenta. Not only does this make for a fabulous variation of textures and flavors, but it’s also deliciously comforting and just looks fantastic when served.

A side view of chicken roulade with vegetables

To finish the dish, I made a simple, easy basil oil that you can drizzle over the dish that brings even more color and also a lovely fresh taste of fresh basil.

What is roulade?

Roulade is a French word for roll, rolled or ‘to roll’. They can be made savory by rolling beef, chicken, turkey or even fish with delicious fillings. They can also be made sweet by rolling sponge cake filled with cream, fruit, or filled and rolled with ice cream, like my Swiss Roll recipe.

When it comes to making chicken roulade, it’s important to achieve an even thickness of the chicken. If you buy a thick chicken breast, you’ll likely need to butterfly it then pound it. If you choose to buy the ever popular thin cut chicken breasts, it’ll need less pounding out/thinning to achieve the desired even thickness. In either case, just remember that the goal is even thickness throughout so the rolls cook evenly.

A closeup of rolled chicken stuffed with vegetables

Now, the thickness of the chicken is solely up to you. But, I like the chicken on the thinner side so you can have a good amount of filling (kinda the good part!). If the chicken is thick this tends to make the roll look and feel heavy and will not only take longer to cook but you’ll be limited on filling.

As mentioned above, you can prepare this dish ahead and refrigerate for up 2 days before cooking, which is very cool. Just check the expiration of the chicken.

Roulade Serving Size

1 large chicken breast should serve 1 person. This is a large roll that I sliced into 3 for the photos.

Rolling Chicken Roulade

The orientation of the chicken breast when rolling is up to you. You can can make them short rolls by adding the filling on the short edge of the chicken, or you can make them long rolls by starting to roll at the longer edge. See the photo above.

Tip for tying: Add a piece of string on the long side, this helps keep the filling in place.

Chicken roulade tied up with string

Serving and slicing Chicken Roulade

To finish the dish (and give it a restaurant quality look!) I made a simple basil oil to drizzle right before serving.

There are 2 ways to slice the rolls. For presentation purposes, I cut then into tall segments, log style. Or you may choose to cut them into thinner slices (like the photo below). Just be careful of the thickness as the filling may fall out. The choice is ultimately yours how you want to present them so have fun!

Slices of vegetable stuffed chicken

Yield: 4

Spring Vegetable Chicken Roulade

Sliced chicken roulade filled with vegetables served over polenta

Thin chicken breasts rolled up with pancetta, peas, spinach, Parmesan and basil.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes


  • For the basil oil:
  • 2 cup (a large handful) basil leaves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (236 ml) olive oil
  • For the roulade:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thick or thin cut)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 ounces/¾ cup (83 grams) Pancetta chopped
  • 2 small shallots 3/4 cup (86 grams) chopped
  • ½ cup (70 grams) fresh peas or frozen (no need to defrost)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 cups (80 grams) fresh spinach
  • ½ cup (50 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, torn
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • String for tying the rolls
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. For the basil oil:
    Bring a small pan of water to a boil. Add cold water and ice to a bowl. Add the basil leaves and add to the boiling water for only 10 seconds (this sets the green color) and immediately remove and place into the ice water for a few seconds to cool. Remove from the ice water and dry well on a towel.
    Add the dried leaves to a food processor along with the lemon juice and a small pinch of salt, pepper and half the olive oil. Blend until you see the the leaves breaking up. With the blender running, drizzle in enough oil so the sauce is smooth and is to your desired thickness and texture, you may not use all the olive oil. Strain the oil through a fine sieve and/or cheesecloth so you end up with a nice smooth oil.
    Transfer the oil to a sealed container and set aside. If not using right away you can refrigerate (it will keep for 1 month). Return to room temperature when serving.
  2. For the roulade:
    If using thick cut chicken breasts, carefully slice through the chicken breasts lengthwise (skip this step if using thin cut chicken breasts). Place the chicken breasts in between plastic wrap and pound lightly with the flat side of a meat mallet to flatten to an even thickness.
  3. To a skillet/frying pan add the 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring a few times for a few minutes. Add the shallot and cook until the shallots soften, don’t brown (adjust heat as needed). Turn heat down to medium low, add the peas and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Add the spinach, toss well to mix and cook until the spinach has wilted. Remove and transfer to a bowl, refrigerate to cool (the filling stays together better when cooled, you can also leave it overnight). I did not salt at this stage because we will be adding Parmesan.
  4. Add ¼ of the filling to 1 chicken breast, spread into a log shape at the thickest part. Fold the ends and roll the chicken tightly over the filling. You can press any filling back into the ends if any falls out. Tie tightly with string evenly along the roll. Tie some string lengthwise to help keep the filling inside. Season the outside all over evenly with salt and pepper. Repeat with the other chicken breasts.
  5. To a large skillet/frying pan add the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the roulades. Cook until browned then turn as needed to brown on all sides. You may have to adjust the heat so they brown evenly. Once they have reached an internal temperature of 165°F/73°C, remove from the pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the string and slice to the thickness you like. Serve over Polenta (click for recipe).
  7. Drizzle with basil oil.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 494Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 24gCholesterol 109mgSodium 455mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 7gSugar 4gProtein 50g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.