Tender chicken breasts, plenty of flavorful veggies, a dairy-free sauce and the perfect blend of aromatic herbs and spices come together to make this quick and easy Creamy Tuscan Chicken Skillet. This dish can be on the table in less than 40 minutes using just one skillet, making it the perfect Paleo-friendly and Whole30 compliant dish to add to your weeknight dinner rotation that your whole family will love!
This dish is light, flavorful, hearty, filling and nutritious. It's not often a dish as simple as this encompasses all of those characteristics, but this one nails it. It's loaded with protein-packed chicken, plenty of nutrient-dense veggies, and it's gluten-free and dairy-free to boot! This skillet is what I like to consider a jack of all trades in the food world, if there ever was one. I'm pretty much obsessed with this one, so obviously I'm like super excited to share it with you!
What's this "TUSCAN" you speak of?
Before we jump into the recipe, let's quickly chat about why I called this recipe a Creamy TUSCAN Chicken Skillet. This can probably go without being said, but Tuscan-style food originates from the hills of Tuscany, Italy. Whenever I see the word "Tuscan" next to a menu item, I know the dish will be rustic yet elegant -using simple, fresh ingredients. Tuscan-style dishes are usually cooked in high-quality olive oils rather than heavy sauces. The natural flavors of the seasonal ingredients is what Tuscan-style cuisine is all about.
I think this recipe does a pretty good job of paying respect to traditional Tuscan cooking while adding a bit of my Paleoish Krista twist, if you know what I'm saying.
I wish I had some heartwarming story about what inspired me to create this dish, but truthfully my inspiration was drawn from a can of artichoke hearts that had been sitting in my pantry for far too long. Sure, I love artichokes enough to eat them straight out of the can, but I wanted to do something special with them. It's the least I could do considering I bought them at least a year ago and then completely forgot about them. Thus, the idea to create this Creamy Tuscan Chicken Skillet was born.
How To Make This Creamy Tuscan Chicken Skillet
A lot of love went into developing this recipe with January Whole30ers in mind. I wanted to create something flavorful, filling and fool-proof. I know how exhausting cooking almost every meal during a Whole30 can be, so this one-skillet dish is quick and easy and won't leave you with a pile of dirty dishes. Here's what you'll do:
- In a heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until hot but not smoking. Using a good EVOO is key seeing as Tuscan-style cuisine revolves around olive oil (I buy all of my cooking oils from the gourmet food aisle of HomeGoods because they are all super high-quality and super affordable). While the EVOO heats up, go ahead and pat your pound of chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, slice into thin strips and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Once the EVOO is nice and hot, add the seasoned chicken breasts to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken breast is no longer opaque and almost cooked through. Spoon the chicken onto a plate and set aside. Leave the pan as is (don't you dare clean it).
- While the chicken breast is busy browning, you could simultaneously be prepping the rest of the ingredients. Multi-tasking in the kitchen is totally a learned skill, but once you get a hang of it you'll find you're spending a lot less time in the kitchen. Here's what you'll do to prep the rest of the ingredients:
- Tear the kale leaves away from the stem and rough chop the leaves. You'll need about 2 cups of chopped kale leaves.
- Juice and zest 1 lemon.
- Slice 8 ounces of white mushooms and 1 large onion.
-Rinse the artichoke hearts and cut each quarter in half. Rinse a ½ cup of sun-dried tomatoes and give them a rough chop.
- Mince 4 garlic cloves.
I have faith that you can conquer all of these tasks within the 5 to 7 minutes it will take for the chicken to brown. You've got this, girlfriend!
- Now it's time to really get cooking! Using the same pan used for the chicken, heat an additional tablespoon of EVOO until hot but not smoking. Add the sliced mushrooms and onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes or until just softened. Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook until your house smells like garlic 😉 (1 to 2 minutes).
- Carrying right along, add 1 cup of coconut milk, ½ cup of chicken broth, 1 tablespoon of harissa and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
If you're curious about harissa, check out my recipe for Crispy Orange Harissa Chicken Wings with Tahini Ranch Dressing. I go into detail about what exactly this stuff is, but in short, it's the condiment you never knew you needed.
- Next, add the artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan and simmer for about a minute. Remember that par-cooked chicken we set aside? Now it's time to add it back to the pan along with a tablespoon of tapioca starch. The tapioca starch will help thicken the sauce. Give everything a good stir and continue to simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
- After 5 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through, so go ahead and add the chopped to the pan (without stirring), season with more salt and pepper, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 more minutes. After 5 minutes, promptly remove the skillet from the heat and give everything one last good stir.
As if the dish wasn't already bursting with fresh and flavorful ingredients, I like finishing the dish with the juice and zest from one lemon and extra harissa on the side ...AND VOILA!!! A satisfying low carb, Paleo-friendly and Whole30 compliant entree thrown together in less than 40 minutes. I think it's safe to say I made it up to that forgotten can of artichoke hearts with this one. What do you think?
Creamy Tuscan Chicken Skillet Serving Suggestions
This dish could totally be a meal on it's own, but if you're feeding a hungry family you may want to add a side dish to the table. I love serving this dish with fresh zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice, but the possibilities are pretty much endless. If you aren't currently on a round of Whole30, why not serve it with fluffy jasmine rice or your favorite gluten-free pasta? YUM!
This was somewhat of an afterthought, but this dish would also be DELICIOUS with mashed potatoes. If you have an Instant Pot, why not try my Quick & Easy Garlic Mashed Potato recipe?! Let your Instant Pot do the work on the mashed potatoes while you work on this dish over the stove. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
If you're currently on a round of Whole30, first and foremost -YOU'RE AMAZING! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, but also I really hope you try this recipe! I just know you're going to love it! If you give this recipe a shot, I'd love to hear your constructive criticism in the comments (don't be shy!), and be sure to shamelessly post pictures of your gorgeous food all over social media using the hashtag #paleoishkristaeats!
PS: if you're not on a round of Whole30, YOU'RE ALSO AMAZING and you should also try this recipe and tag the heck out of it! Just saying.
😉 Until next time,
Pin Now! Cook Later!
Hungry for more easy peasy lemon squeezy one-pan meals? Check out the recipes below!
Creamy Tuscan Chicken Skillet | Paleo & Whole30
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breasts sliced into strips
- 2 cups kale chopped
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 8 ounces white mushrooms sliced
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 14 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts halved
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- salt and pepper
- In a heavy pan, warm 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until but not smoking. While the oil heats, pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, cut into strips and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Add the seasoned chicken strips to the pan. Cook the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is evenly browned and almost cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Do not clean the pan.
- While the chicken cooks, prep the veggies and lemon. Cut the kale leaves away from the stem. Rough chop the leaves. Juice and zest the lemon. Slice mushrooms and onion. Rinse artichoke hearts and cut each quarter in half. Rinse sun-dried tomatoes and roughly chop. Mince garlic.
- Over medium heat (in the same pan used for the chicken), heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add sliced mushrooms and onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until just softened (2 to 3 minutes). Add the minced garlic to the pan. Cook until fragrant (1 to 2 minutes).
- Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, harissa and Italian seasoning to the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add the artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan and simmer for 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the pan along with the tapioca starch. Stir. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the chopped kale to the pan, season with salt and pepper, cover, reduce heat and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir everything together to combine.
- Finish with fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Serve immediately.
- This skillet is great served alongside fresh zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice or even mashed potatoes.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
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