Sheet Pan Healthy Chicken Parm
Healthy Sheet Pan Chicken Parmesan is a quick weeknight meal that is ready in less than 30 minutes and full of all the classic flavors, just healthier! Crispy chicken, marinara sauce, melted cheese - is there really anything better?
This Sheet Pan Healthy Chicken Parmesan is so much easier to prepare than the traditional fried version and it's much better for you. We also love this low-carb chicken parmesan with spaghetti squash and vegetarian healthy eggplant parmesan.
I am so excited to share today's recipe for healthy chicken parm with you.
It's a staple weeknight recipe since almost every kid and adult I know loves the classic flavors of chicken parm and will happily scarf down crispy chicken covered in marinara sauce and cheese. What's not to like?
It all starts with chicken breast covered with a crunchy, cheesy mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. I like to use chicken breast cutlets for this recipe since they are thin and cook quickly.
To keep things light and healthy, I only coat the chicken on one side. This also prevents the soggy, breaded bottom which happens all too often with baked breaded chicken recipes.
From there, the rest is simple! Toss your favorite vegetable in olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw it on the sheet pan with the chicken.
Let the vegetables roast until they are nice and tender while the chicken crisps up. Add your favorite marinara sauce and cheese, toss it back in the oven, and dinner is done.
Serve it with a side of whole wheat pasta, spaghetti squash, polenta, or zucchini noodles. It's also delicious stuffed into a sandwich roll if a chicken parm sub is more your style.
Why You'll Love this Healthy Chicken Parmesan
There are so many reasons to love this recipe, but here are the top three!
- Baked not fried: All the same crispy texture without deep frying
- Ready in 30 minutes: Classic chicken parmesan takes a long time to make between pounding the chicken, breading it, deep frying it, and then baking it with sauce and cheese. This recipe eliminates those steps by using store-bought chicken cutlets and sauce. The chicken is only breaded on one side and cooked in the oven with a built-in side dish.
- Classic flavor: Even though this recipe is lightened up, it still has all the classic flavors you'd expect in chicken parm.
What can you serve with chicken parmigiana?
There are tons of options for side dishes when it comes to chicken parm.
- Pasta: Chicken parm is classically served with spaghetti or another thin pasta. For something healthier, swap in whole wheat pasta or an alternative pasta made with chickpeas or lentils. To keep things very light, use a veggie noodle like zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
- Polenta or grains: Pairing the crispy chicken with something creamy like this Basil Parmesan Polenta is always a good idea. Quinoa, rice, or this garlic Parmesan cauliflower rice also works.
- Salads: Make a big green salad to serve on the side to get in some extra veggies. This Arugula Salad or Healthy Caesar Salad are great options.
- Veggies: Double up on the vegetables and serve this with roasted mushrooms, crispy baked broccoli, or sauteed garlic spinach.
- Make a sub: Chicken parm makes a really delicious sandwich. We usually eat the leftovers on whole wheat or low-calorie hamburger bun. Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.
What kind of cheese is best for chicken parmesan?
Mozzarella is the classic option for this Italian dish. You can use shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, or even smoked mozzarella.
Make sure to opt for a whole milk mozzarella if you really want that melty, stringy cheese. For something different, I love swapping in provolone cheese.
Most recipes also use Parmesan cheese in the breading or sprinkled on top.
If you want to switch things up, you could also try using another mild cheese that won't overpower the chicken or marinara sauce.
Tips for Making this Healthy Baked Chicken Parmesan
Follow these tips to ensure crispy, flavorful chicken every time.
- Leave off the breading: You can make this healthy chicken parm without breading if you like. Just leave out the breadcrumbs when creating the Parmesan topping. You can also make a low-carb version by using a combination of almond flour and parmesan cheese.
- Choose a delicious sauce: When it comes to marinara sauce, you can either make a quick homemade version (this one only takes 20 minutes) or use store-bought sauce. For store-bought, some of my favorites are Rao's (expensive but worth it and surprisingly low in sugar) and Newman's Own. Rao's is incredible and consistently wins taste tests for jarred sauces. It's definitely on the pricey side but it really does deliver in flavor.
- Extra crispy: If you want really crispy chicken, one trick is to mix a small amount of olive oil or melted butter into the breading. Using just a small amount, a tablespoon or so, will create a really nice, crunchy texture and ensure you get the crispiness you are looking for. Another trick is to preheat the baking sheet so it's hot when you add the chicken.
- Cheese selection: I absolutely adore everything about fresh mozzarella, especially the creamy texture it takes on when it melts. However part-skim shredded mozzarella would work as well and is more traditional for a chicken parmesan recipe.
- Change up the vegetables: You can use almost any quick-cooking vegetable for this recipe - green beans, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, cauliflower, etc. Season it simply with salt and pepper or add your own spice blend. You can also make some extra panko and Parmesan breading for the vegetables if your family doesn't love plain veggies. It will give them some crunch and can make them more appealing for those who don't always want to eat their veggies.
Storage and Leftovers
There are so many different uses for both the leftover crispy chicken and leftover chicken parmesan. Use the leftover chicken for sandwiches, salads, and meal prep.
- If you know you want leftovers, leave the sauce and cheese off the chicken you plan on storing for later. Add the sauce and cheese right before serving so the chicken stays nice and crispy.
- Reheat the leftovers in the oven, toaster oven, or a hot skillet if possible. The chicken can get rubbery and soggy when reheated in the microwave.
- Always let the dish fully cool before placing it in the refrigerator. The extra moisture from the warm chicken can cause it to get soggy when it is stored too early.
- The baked cooked chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, but it will lose some of the crunch.
Here are the most common questions about making this healthier chicken parmesan.
What are the best noodles to use with healthy chicken parmesan?
To keep things light and healthy, your best bet is to make a vegetable noodle or choose whole-grain pasta. The easiest vegetable noodles are probably spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles but you can experiment with any type of veggie you like. For pasta, the healthiest options are those made with whole wheat, chickpeas, and lentils.
What can I use instead of breadcrumbs for chicken parm?
If you want to make chicken parmesan without breadcrumbs, there are a few options.
- Make a naked chicken parm by simply leaving the breadcrumbs off the dish. Baked chicken covered in tomato sauce and melted cheese is really delicious with or without the breadcrumbs.
- For a gluten-free breading, look for gluten-free breadcrumbs or swap in almond meal to add a nutty crust to the chicken.
- For low-carb breading, many people use crushed pork rinds or simply bread the chicken in grated Parmesan cheese.
Is chicken parmigiana healthy?
Traditionally chicken parmigiana is made with deep fried chicken cutlets and lots of cheese, making it a more indulgent dish that is high in fat and calories. In fact, a typical serving of chicken parmesan in a restaurant has over 1000 calories and 50 grams of fat. That's before the pasta. Even the Grilled Chicken Parmesan from the Olive Garden has 740 calories.
This homemade baked chicken parmesan is much healthier with less breading, oil, and it includes two servings of vegetables with tomato sauce and green beans.
Sheet Pan Healthy Chicken Parm
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1 lb boneless skinless chicken cutlets
1 egg, whisked
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
3 cups green beans
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese (or part skim shredded mozzarella)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
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* 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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