A healthier, dinner-sized portion of your favorite appetizer.
You know what I love about bruschetta? You get a little bit of everything. The experience starts with a crunchy piece of bread, but then it blooms into something special once you bite into those saucy tomatoes and fresh herbs. You get a burst of sweet flavor and a punch of savoriness. It’s a perfect one-bite, but it’s not really a dish appropriate for dinner. So we made a dinner version: this healthy chicken bruschetta casserole.
There’s a lot to celebrate with this one-pan dish. Lean chicken breast filets provide a ton of protein while also being super easy to cook. The chicken is seasoned with garlic, black pepper, and oregano – the same flavors on my favorite appetizer! And then there’s the topping. Oh, that delicious breadcrumb topping.
You might think that breadcrumbs are breadcrumbs – but I’d have to disagree. When we combine them with chicken broth and diced tomatoes, the dry crumbs become hydrated and the whole thing transforms into a savory topping. Once they bake up over the seasoned chicken, you end up with an upside-down piece of bruschetta. Perfect!
Let’s Talk Tomatoes
We use a can of petit diced tomatoes for this recipe. You might be thinking that bruschetta is all about fresh tomatoes, and that’s absolutely true. Unfortunately, unless you live in California, you probably don’t have access to fresh tomatoes all year round.
In the winter time, most of the tomatoes in America come from Mexico. There’s nothing innately wrong with that, except that they’re picked green and allowed to ripen in the trucks during the long trip to your grocery store. They have less natural sugars, less nutrients, and a lackluster taste – overall, they’re a bit reminiscent of cardboard.
On the other hand, canned tomatoes are picked and packed at the peak of their freshness. That means that you can reach for a can – no matter what time of year it is – and it’ll always contain a “fresh” tomato. These tomatoes are filled with sweet, savory, and juicy flavors.
In addition, diced tomatoes contain an additive called calcium chloride. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s used as a firming agent. That means that those chopped tomatoes will keep their form even when you bake them. The result is individual pieces of tomatoes in your tasty bruschetta topping.
Feel free to use fresh tomatoes if they’re in season around you, but opt for the can the rest of the year. If you want to do a side-by-side comparison, let us know how it turns out! We’d love to hear about it.
Check out this video to see how to make the recipe:
Easy Chicken Bruschetta Casserole
- 2 1/2 cups herb seasoned bread crumbs (we used Pepperidge Farm's Herb Seasoned stuffing mix)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth fat-free (optional water)
- 15 ounces petit diced tomatoes can
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 cup mozzarella part-skim
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a mixing bowl combine bread crumbs, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes with liquid, set aside.
- In a 9 x 13-inch casserole pan add chicken pieces, garlic powder, pepper, salt, oregano, and 3/4 cup cheese, toss to combine.
- Add bread crumb mixture and spread evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until chicken is done.
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