Tuscan Chicken is grilled marinated chicken breasts smothered with vegetables and a balsamic mixture, all on top of a pile of cooked farro. The recipe was inspired by a popular recipe found at The Cheesecake Factory restaurant, but when you can’t get to the restaurant, make your own! You might also want to try my Tuscan Salmon.
Traditional Tuscan foods were all about simplicity and quality. And, of course, you can’t leave out olive oil when it comes to Italian recipes. Most Tuscan dishes are relatively light and this Tuscan Chicken is no exception. In fact, the Tuscan Chicken dish served at the Cheesecake Factory is one of the lowest calorie and healthy options you can choose from their menu!
Tuscan Chicken Recipe
To keep this dish healthy, the chicken is served on top of farro, a whole grain similar to rice or quinoa. It is packed with nutrients, and I will let you know a little more about that later. For now, gather up the farro and the other ingredients you need to make this light and healthy meal.
How to Make the Balsamic Mixture
The balsamic mixture will be added to the veggies at the end of the recipe, but you can make it right away and set it aside. To make the balsamic mixture, simply whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Salt and pepper can be added to taste. Set this aside as you prepare the chicken. (You could also put this together while the chicken is marinating.)
Marinating and Cooking the Chicken
Before you marinate the chicken, lightly pound out the chicken breasts until they are about 1/2-inch thick. This allows the chicken to be cooked more evenly. Pounding also tenderizes the chicken a bit. To make the marinade that the chicken will soak in, mix together the oil, shallots, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Let the chicken marinate in the mixture for about 20 minutes.
After the chicken has had time to marinate, heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken breasts, marinade and all, into the skillet to cook. Cook the chicken breasts for 3-5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reads 165°F. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place them on a plate, tenting them to keep warm while you cook the veggie mixture.
Cooking the Veggie Mixture
After you have cooked the marinated chicken breasts, use the same skillet to cook the vegetables. Add the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, capers, and the balsamic mixture you had set aside. This only needs to cook for about 30 seconds.
Once that is done, place some of the cooked farro on a plate. Top the farro with the chicken, and then add some of the veggie mixture on the chicken. Drizzle with any leftover balsamic mixture from the skillet, and enjoy!
What is Farro?
As I mentioned earlier, farro is a whole grain. It is rich in nutrients and has a slightly nutty flavor. It has been around for close to 20,000 years and has been a staple in Italy for a few decades. It’s finally getting more popular in the United States because of its protein and fiber, as well as being a healthy alternative to rice.
But, farro can be hard to find, and there are three varieties of farro–pearled, semi-pearled, and whole. Look for pearled farro for the shortest cook time (but least amount of flavor). That is also the most common to find in the grocery store.
If you can’t find farro, your next best bet would be to serve this chicken on top of quinoa.
- 6 ounces raw farro, cooked (will yield about 2 cups)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 inch thick if they are thick
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon capers, drained and rinsed
- In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oil, shallots, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Add the chicken and let marinate for 15-20 minutes. (Up to 2 hours but no longer or chicken with toughen.)
- After the chicken has had time to marinate, heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add the chicken. Cook about 3-5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature of 165°F).
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on a plate. Tent with foil to keep warm.
- To the same skillet, add the artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, capers, and balsamic mixture.
- Cook the ingredients for 20-30 seconds.
- Mound the cooked farro onto the center of a serving dish.
- Top with the chicken, then the veggies mixture. Drizzle with any leftover balsamic mixture from the pan.
Did you make this recipe?
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