This Tuscan chicken skillet is a glorious medley of flavors from spinach, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and lemon. It makes a wonderful hearty meal over pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash noodles.
In a traditional version, it would be served with wheat pasta. Of course at our house we often provide both “glutinous” and gluten-free. Spaghetti squash “noodles” can be the base for a low-carb meal, as shown here — or zucchini “zoodles.”
I love that the Tuscan chicken can be made in one pan, and is gluten-free and dairy-free. The sauce gets its creaminess from coconut cream and has enough body to hold up with the sweeter flavor of zoodles (zucchini squash noodles) or spaghetti squash noodles.
Cooking tips for Tuscan chicken
The chicken pieces are seasoned and sautéd in oil first until nearly done, then removed to a plate while you make the sauce. Sautéing starts the cooking process for the chicken and seals flavors into the meat.
It’s important to simmer the sauce long enough for it to thicken and, once you add the chicken back in, for it to be completely cooked through. Times can vary depending on the thickness of your chicken thighs.
My cooking times are based on the Mary’s Organic boneless and skinless chicken thighs I buy at Natural Grocers.
This recipe was inspired by this one but I made several changes that tweaked the flavors toward our preferences. I like fresh tomatoes better than sun-dried, thus the Roma tomatoes. That added more liquid, which is why I’ve made comments about simmering until the sauce is thick.
Chicken thighs can take a lot of heat without becoming tough, and they just take on more flavor as you simmer the sauce. If you used chicken breasts for this, they’d need much less cooking and I’d add them back to the pan later in the simmering process so they remain tender.
Marinated artichoke hearts contain lots of savory herbs plus the vinegar from the marinade for tartness. I added lemon juice for more acidity, which brings out all the other flavors.
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The nutritional yeast gives a cheesy tang and umami. Not everyone enjoys the slightly yeasty flavor, though, so if you can eat dairy, you could toss in a little Parmesan instead.
My taste-testers declared this to be “really good” which is high praise in my house. There were also no leftovers, another clue that it was good! I hope you have a chance to make this recipe and let me know in the comments if you did.
Other chicken recipes on A Meal In Mind
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Tuscan chicken with spinach, tomatoes and artichokes
- 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small yellow onion minced, about 3/4 cup
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 13.5- ounce can coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon pink sea salt or to taste divided
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cups fresh spinach packed coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup marinated sliced artichoke hearts, drained
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
- Season both sides of chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and thyme. Heat olive and coconut oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Carefully place chicken thighs in skillet and cook 5-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness, or until chicken is browned and firm. Transfer to a plate.
- Clean out your pan if it has any burnt residue, then return to medium heat. You should still have some leftover oil in the pan, and browned bits will add a lot of flavor to your sauce. But if it is very dry, add another tablespoonful or so of oil.
- When hot, add onion. Sauté until soft, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes. If the onion looks like it will stick, deglaze the pan with a little water and stir up the brown bits. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
- Pour in the coconut cream; stir well and bring to a simmer. Add the spinach and tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes, then stir in artichoke hearts, lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Simmer until flavors are well combined and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer until it is done, about another 10 minutes.
- Test chicken for doneness. Taste and adjust seasonings, as this is a fairly low-salt version. You may wish to add more lemon juice instead, which brings out salty flavors.
- Serve over spaghetti squash, or pasta of choice.
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