This healthy chicken cacciatore is a delicious healthy version of the classic Italian dish, chicken Cacciatore, but does not taste lightened-up at all. Made with all real ingredients, this dish simmers over medium heat for the flavors to meld together. Peppers, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth are the main components of the flavorful sauce. Pan-seared boneless, skinless chicken thighs simmer away until fork-tender. This dish is packed with vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and most importantly, flavor.
What does chicken cacciatore taste like?
If you have never had this dish, you might be wondering what it tastes like. Chicken cacciatore is like a hearty, Italian chicken stew. It features chicken thighs (or bone-in chicken breasts) lightly floured and pan-fried, and then simmered in a flavorful sauce made with bell peppers, onions, garlic, wine, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Seasoned very simply with salt, pepper dried oregano and fresh herbs, this dish is easy to make, and easier to eat. You can serve this dish in many ways; either alongside potatoes and a vegetable, or over pasta or rice. You can also add other vegetables, like mushrooms or even fresh spinach. The real key to this recipe is the flavorful sauce that everything simmers in.
Questions re: substitutions
Can I use chicken breast? Theoretically, yes – you can use chicken breast. However, chicken breast is inherently much leaner and therefore, dries out more quickly than other cuts of chicken, such as thighs or even bone-in chicken breast. For this recipe, I do recommend using chicken thighs to remain as close to the intended recipe as possible. If you do use chicken breast, I advise using the bone-in variety, to add extra flavor to the sauce as it cooks. If you use regular boneless skinless chicken breast, I advise using thin cuts – just make sure it doesn’t dry out while cooking. Can I omit the wine? I do know some people prefer to not cook with wine; however wine offers such a great flavor to dishes like this one (you won’t taste the wine itself, but it adds depth of flavor). If you prefer not to use it, you can use more chicken broth and a splash of lemon juice (for acidity).
What will I need to make this recipe?
To make this recipe, you will need:
- boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- See substitutions noted above.
- all-purpose flour
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- olive oil spray
- red bell pepper
- dry white wine
- canned diced tomatoes (with juices)
- chicken broth
- tomato paste
- dried oregano
- fresh parsley
- fresh basil
How to make healthy chicken cacciatore
Start out by seasoning the flour with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper in a dish. Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour. Preheat your pan over medium high heat, and add olive oil spray. Sear the chicken thighs until golden brown on both sides (about 3-5 minutes per side). Then, remove them from the pan and set aside.
In the meantime, chop the peppers and onions, and mince the garlic. Add more olive oil to spray to the pan, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the peppers, onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to pick up the burnt bits (flavor!). Next, add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes with juices, tomato paste, capers, oregano, and remaining kosher salt (1 tsp). Stir to combine. Bring this mixture to a simmer, and return the chicken thighs to the pan. Simmer the chicken for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is tender. Add the fresh parsley and basil.
Healthy Chicken Cacciatore
- small Dutch oven or large frying pan
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, 6 pieces
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt, divided
- fresh cracked pepper
- olive oil spray
- 2 cups red bell pepper, diced (2 large peppers)
- 2 cups onion, diced (2 medium onions)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 28 oz diced tomatoes, with juice, canned
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- Trim any access fat off of the chicken thighs.
- Add the flour to a plate and add 1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour to coat.
- Preheat the pan over medium high heat, and add olive oil spray.
- Sear the chicken thighs until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes per side) and then remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Chop the peppers and onions and mince the garlic.
- Add olive oil spray to the same pan, reduce the heat to medium, and saute the peppers, onions and garlic.
- Cook the peppers and onions for 5 minutes or until tender.
- Add the white wine to deglaze the pan.
- Add the chicken broth and diced tomatoes with juices to the pan.
- Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of the brown bits off.
- Add the capers and tomato paste to the pan, along with the oregano and the remaining 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Return the chicken thighs to the pan and submerge them in the sauce.
- Simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is tender.
- Add the fresh basil and parsley.
- 5 WW points
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