Why is it that the most delicious dishes at Italian restaurants also tend to be the cruelest to the waistline? Cheese stuffed pastas, fully loaded pizzas… and don’t get me started on my favorite dessert of all time: Tiramisu. I can feel my pants getting tighter just thinking of it.
Chicken Parmesan also usually falls on the “unhealthy” list. It’s typically breaded and deep-fried until golden brown, and then swimming in sauce and smothered with cheese. It’s delicious, but a far cry from healthy. Thankfully, with this recipe you can make your own healthy chicken parmesan at home — without the fryer. To replicate the crispy fried coating, we dipped lean chicken breasts in spiced breadcrumbs and baked them. A bit of parmesan cheese mixed in ensures the breadcrumbs stick.
When the chicken is cooked, and the breading is crisp and golden brown, it is topped with a healthy portion of marinara sauce and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese that melts to perfection after a few more minutes in the oven. Look for part-skim mozzarella for this recipe. It’s an easy way to save on fat and calories, and you’ll never notice a difference in flavor.
Healthier Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan is typically deep-fried and smothered with cheese. Thankfully, with this recipe, you can make your own healthy chicken Parmesan at home.
- 1 cup whole grain Panko bread crumbs
- 4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese divided use
- 1 dash sea salt or Himalayan salt
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 4 4-oz. raw chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 1 cup all-natural marinara sauce, no sugar added
- ¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Preheat oven to 450° F.
Lightly coat medium baking sheet with spray. Set aside.
Combine bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl; mix well. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
Place eggs in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken breast in eggs, completely coating, then bread crumbs; coating each evenly on all sides. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and juices run clear.
Preheat broiler on high.
Top each chicken breast evenly with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and remaining 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese. Return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
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Photographs by Anguel Dimov