I’m always looking for inspiration for weeknight meals. I love cooking low and slow on the weekends, simmering away for hours, but I just don’t have time for that during the week. I need a meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes but is flavorful enough to tantalize my taste buds. Even better – let’s make it all in one pot so cleanup is a breeze! Enter this sundried tomato chicken dish, which is really just an excuse to slurp up that incredible sauce.
Oh, this sauce is nothing short of heavenly. It’s rich. It’s creamy. And it’s healthy. Wait, repeat that last part – how can it taste so luscious and still be healthy? It’s all about choosing the right ingredients. Combine spicy and savory garlic with sweet sundried tomatoes and bring it all together with the richness of coconut milk. Top it off with fresh basil and this sauce has such depth, you’ll swear it simmered all day!
Why We Love Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you haven’t cooked with sundried tomatoes before, now is the time. I’ve had them on bagels and salads, but they never really stood out. I always found them a little bit chewy and slightly sour. Then, I tried simmering them in a rich, coconut milk sauce and my life was transformed. The dried little fruits rehydrated in the cooking liquid. Each bite became a divine experience, sweet and tart flavor bombs that infused into the coconut milk. It’s all I can do to keep my self from drinking the sauce!
Traditionally, ripe tomatoes were left out in the sun to dry (although, these days, everyone uses a dehydrator). They lose over 90% of their weight in the process, leaving you with all the tomato’s vitamins, antioxidants, and that pure umami-rich flavor. They’re very concentrated and their flavor can be really intense, so a little bit goes a long way. Don’t try eating them as a snack! They’re best chopped small and added as a flavoring ingredient.
You can find sundried tomatoes at most grocery stores, usually in the same aisle as the olives. They come as dried in bags or oil-packed in jars. The oil-packed ones are already rehydrated, making them ideal for use on salads. For this recipe, take it from us and skip the oil-packed ones. They’re more expensive, and the oil adds unnecessary fat to this dish. Since you’re simmering them in the sauce, they’ll have plenty of time to rehydrate and plump up.
Skip The Heavy Cream and Opt for Coconut Milk
If this dish were a classic French recipe, we would be using heavy cream. There’s something undeniably good about that full-fat ingredient…but it also makes me feel heavy and weighed down after eating it. The coconut milk does add a slightly coconutty flavor to the dish, but its sweetness is balanced out by all those tart, little sundried tomato nuggets.
Coconut milk is naturally thick, adding a creamy texture that mimics the mouthfeel of heavy cream. It might have more saturated fat than heavy cream, but those fats contain lauric acid (a beneficial fat that’s used by your body for energy). And, while we’re not quite sure why, research has shown that the saturated fats in coconut milk work in a different way than those in heavy cream – they actually boost “good” HDL cholesterol.
You might find coconut milk in the dairy aisle (next to the soy and almond milk), but always use the canned variety for cooking. The refrigerated item adds water to dilute the flavor and make it more drinkable. Great if you only want 45 calories per serving, but not so great if you want rich-and-creamy sauces.
Sundried Tomato Chicken
Once you try this recipe, your view of chicken will never be the same again. So say goodbye to boring weeknight dinners and hello to a no-fuss way to put dinner on the table. Let us know what you think of this recipe in the comments!
Yields: 4 servings | Serving Size: 1 chicken breast, 1/4 cup sauce | Calories: 372 | Total Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 190mg | Carbohydrates: 13g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Protein: 19g | SmartPoints: 13
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin strips
- 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped (do not use the oil packed tomatoes)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large oven safe skillet, heat the olive oil. Place the chicken breast in the hot oil and cook each side until lightly browned. It's ok if the chicken is not fully cooked, it will return to the pan to finish cooking later.
- Add the onion, tomatoes, and garlic to the same pan that contained the chicken. Cook, stirring often until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the Italian seasoning, coconut milk, and broth. Bring to a simmer and return the chicken to the sauce mixture.
- Cover with foil and place in the oven. Cook 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and top with fresh basil. Serve hot.