Tomato Basil Chicken

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Easy, 6 ingredient Tomato Basil Chicken with a buttery tomato sauce made with canned tomatoes and fresh basil. Delicious with pasta, polenta, or spaghetti squash.

281 CAL 7g CARBS 11g FAT 34g PROTEIN

This healthy Tomato Basil Chicken is ready in less than thirty minutes and made with just a few ingredients. The rich tomato sauce with fresh basil and butter is just so good. Serve it with freshly cooked pasta or creamy polenta.

Last week the fridge was looking pretty barren but I was trying to hold out a few more days until my grocery delivery arrived. It was already late, I was tired, and I just wanted something easy and comforting. 

Instead of ordering takeout or grabbing something frozen, I did a quick once over of the fridge and pantry and decided that with chicken breasts, canned San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh basil - there must be something yummy to be had. I also needed something fast because we were starving.

Not quite sure of my plan, I started by pounding out the chicken and coating it in salt, pepper, and oregano. Then I quickly cooked it in olive oil while I figured out the rest of my plan. Once the chicken was cooked, I added the garlic to the pan and let that cook for a minute and then added the tomatoes, thinking I would make a quick tomato sauce for the chicken and serve it alongside some pasta or rice.

However, after adding the tomatoes and letting it simmer for a bit, there was still something missing. It was a bit too acidic and missing richness. That's when I decided to add butter! And the resulting sauce was delicious like we were spooning it out of the pan delicious. Tossed with some fresh basil - this chicken is a dish you will want to make again and again.

Tomato basil chicken breast on a plate with sauce and cherry tomatoes and fresh basil on the side.

How to Serve Tomato Basil Chicken

Almost every time I make this dish I am serving it over a bed of rice, pasta, or polenta since I want something that will soak up the sauce. Crusty bread would also be delicious. 

  • Go with classic Italian flavors and just cook up a big pot of regular pasta, whole wheat pasta, or alternative pasta on the side. Consider using medium pasta shapes like rigatoni or penne that can really soak up the sauce.
  • For a lower carb option, go with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. These palmini noodles are also becoming increasingly popular.
  • Polenta is an overlooked side dish that is actually quite simple to make and all you need is some corn grits. Another option is pre-cooked polenta tubes.
  • For side dishes, go for something green like this Parmesan Roasted Broccoli or Cauliflower.

Recipe Ideas and Tips

There are lots of ways to customize this recipe based on what you have at home or your personal preferences. Here are some ideas:

  • If you can find San Marzano tomatoes, then use those. They are sweeter and less acidic than regular canned tomatoes. However, if you don't have any, regular canned tomatoes will work. You may need to add a teaspoon of sugar to balance out the acid. Just taste and adjust as needed. 
  • If you like things spicy, add some red pepper flakes at the same time you add the garlic.
  • If you don't have chicken breast, you can make this with chicken thighs, pork cutlets or chops, and even white fish or shrimp. Just adjust the cooking time so the protein doesn't overcook. 
  • If you don't have fresh basil, you can make this with dried herb instead. Both dried basil and Italian seasoning will work. Add and adjust to taste. If you have some fresh parsley, add that for that fresh herb flavor.
  • You can make this dish with fresh tomatoes, it will just take some extra work since you will need to cook the tomatoes down until they are tender and have released the juice to make a sauce.
  • For a slightly different flavor, add some roasted red peppers to the sauce as well. Just chop them up and stir them into the tomatoes. This adds a delicious smoky element and some sweetness.
  • If you want more veggies, you could wilt some spinach into the sauce. You could also start by sauteing some zucchini or kale. 
  • Add a can of white beans or chickpeas right to the dish. 

Looking for more tomato basil recipes?

The Recipe
Tomato basil chicken with chicken breast served in a hearty tomato sauce with basil served over rice.

Tomato Basil Chicken

281 CAL 7g CARBS 11g FAT 34g PROTEIN
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  • 1.33 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 oz. canned San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped

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Pound or slice the chicken horizontally into 1 inch thick pieces. This will ensure they cook uniformly. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano on both sides.


Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Remove and set aside.


Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant but not burning. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon if desired.


Add the butter and basil. Stir until butter melts. Add the chicken and cook 1-2 minutes while coating with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz. chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 281
Calories from Fat 95
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 89mg
Sodium 79mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 5g
Protein 34g

* 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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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
† We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
On Tomato Basil Chicken
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January 16, 2024 - 16:40
Add a Rating:
This is a keeper. My grandson and I both loved it.
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Colleen Gooding
January 3, 2017 - 15:47
Add a Rating:
This was absolutely delicious ! I served it on high fibre penne pasta and it was so full of fresh flavour. I am definetly making this again.
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