This Healthy Tuscan Chicken is a copycat of the Olive Garden favorite but lightened up! This dish is made with the most delicious creamy tomato Parmesan sauce, tender chicken breast, zucchini, and summer squash. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
Next time you are craving comfort food, I've got you covered with this healthy creamy Tuscan chicken recipe. It tastes indulgent and rich, but is actually a meal you can feel good about that's packed with lean chicken, tons of veggies, and a lightened up Parmesan cream sauce. It's delicious.
Creamy garlic chicken lovers, take note! There is a new creamy, cheesy chicken recipe on the block that you have to try.
This lightened up take on the classic Olive Garden dish is like a hug in a bowl. It starts with chicken breast seasoned with a quick homemade Tuscan spice blend. That is browned in some olive oil. Then comes the sauce. It starts with garlic, zucchini, summer squash, and cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes burst and begin to create the sauce. To that, you add some light cream cheese, a touch of milk, and Parmesan cheese. Then the chicken is added back to the dish and dinner is ready. Less than twenty minutes and as good as any restaurant.
Serve it with pasta, whole grains, polenta, mashed cauliflower, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or do what we did. Grab a spoon, some crusty bread, and eat it right out of the skillet with a nice green salad.
What is Tuscan Chicken?
Let's talk about Tuscan Chicken for a minute. Although there are tons of recipes floating around the internet for Tuscan chicken, it actually got its start at the Olive Garden.
The original dish was made with chicken breast, spinach, red bell peppers, and fettuccini all served in a super creamy Parmesan and white wine sauce. Since then, Tuscan chicken usually refers to a creamy garlic chicken dish. It can be made with all kind of different vegetables and may or may not have white wine. It also may or may not include pasta.
Today, people use this base recipe for Tuscan chicken to make all kinds of different recipes including pasta, mac and cheese, sandwiches, soup, and even pizza. It's super versatile and tastes good pretty much any way you serve it.
How to make Tuscan seasoning?
Tuscan seasoning is a spice blend made with a combination of rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram, garlic powder, onion powder, and fennel. It's very similar to Italian seasoning, except that Italian seasoning typically includes oregano and doesn't use fennel. However since the flavors are so similar, they can be swapped in recipes. It can be used on chicken, steak, pork, veggies, and in sauces, soups, and stews.
Here is the basic recipe to make Tuscan seasoning at home:
- 2 tablespoons crushed rosemary
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1.5 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon crushed fennel
How do you make Healthy Tuscan Chicken?
Traditionally Tuscan chicken is quite simply seared chicken coated in Italian or Tuscan spices covered with a thick cream sauce that is made with heavy cream, butter, white wine, and Parmesan cheese. Many times there are some roasted red peppers and spinach added in right before serving. However this lightened up version is made a little differently. It uses lightened up cream cheese to create a rich, creamy sauce without heavy cream. Here's how it's made
- Gently coat either a whole chicken breast, chicken breast tenderloin, or chopped chicken with salt, pepper, and Tuscan seasoning.
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add the chicken over medium high heat. Once it browns on one side, flip it over and cook it on the other side until it is just cooked through.
- Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Add your vegetables to the pan along with some chopped garlic and cherry tomatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst.
- Turn down the heat and add the cream cheese and a splash of milk. Stir until the cream cheese melts into a sauce.
- Add Parmesan cheese and stir until a creamy sauce forms. Taste and season if needed.
- Add back the chicken and stir everything together.
- Serve with fresh basil.
What to serve with Creamy Tuscan Chicken?
There are tons of side dish options for Tuscan chicken.
- You can go the traditional route and serve it with your favorite whole grain, high fiber, or bean/lentil pasta.
- You could also be served it over some creamy polenta, mashed cauliflower, or even mashed butternut squash.
- For a lower carb option, you can serve it with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
- To add fiber, you can serve it tossed with white beans or chickpeas.
- Whole grains are another excellent choice and you can reach for couscous, quinoa, farro, or rice.
Is Tuscan Chicken healthy?
Normally Tuscan chicken is not the healthiest dish. The Olive Garden version has over 1000 calories and 45 grams of fat. Similarly most versions you will find online have lots of butter and heavy cream, making them relatively unhealthy options. However, this version has been lightened up and is packed with lean chicken breast, zucchini, summer squash, and cherry tomatoes. It has under 400 calories.
- Chicken breast is an excellent lean protein source with 19 grams of protein in just 3 ounces of chicken. Chicken breast is also naturally low in sodium and contains important vitamins and minerals like selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and niacin. Plus it's readily available and affordable.
- Zucchini and summer squash are a great nutrient rich, low calorie vegetable. Its known to aid in digestion, lower blood sugar, and also believe to have anti-aging properties.
- When it comes to antioxidants, tomatoes are one of the best sources. They are also packed with Vitamin C, lycopene, and Vitamin K.
- Garlic is an ingredient that has been used for ages for its medicinal qualities and is known to help fight colds and combat illness. It's also been shown to help reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Healthy Tuscan Chicken with Zucchini and Tomatoes
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
- 2 tsp Tuscan seasoning (or Italian seasoning)
- 1 U zucchini, sliced
- 1 U summer squash, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 3 U garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup light cream cheese
- 2 tbsp skim milk
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
Toss the chicken with the Tuscan seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add it to the hot skillet in a single layer.
Cook for 3-4 minutes until it browns and easily releases from the pan. Flip the chicken pieces over and brown on the other side until it is cooked through. Remove and set aside.
Add the zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to burst. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Stir in the cream cheese and milk. Stir until the cream cheese melts into a sauce. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until it melts into the sauce.
Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh basil, extra Parmesan, and fresh black pepper if desired.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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