A few weeks ago, one Saturday afternoon, while shopping in the US (we live near the border and go across often), Kyle asked to have lunch at the Olive Garden. In my mind, I said good-bye to yesterday’s burnt 800 calories and off we went. You can imagine my eyes (we don’t eat out often, especially at Italian restaurants, duh) when I saw a lighter menu. Whaaaat?!
Chicken Abruzzi was one of them. The description: Grilled chicken breast in a savoury broth simmered with cannellini beans, kale and garden vegetables. Let me explain to you my excitement, if you didn’t grasp it yet a.k.a let’s speak Insanity nutrition guide language: lean protein + complex carbs + veggies.
Honestly, the dish was very, very, very good! Better than I expected. Crispy veggies were floating in a delicious broth, the kale was raw and chicken breast had no nonsense sauce on it. The broth coating everything was huge. I still can’t believe it happened.
Of course, I left the restaurant inspired to re-create Chicken Abruzzi at home. Alex left promising he will order the same next time (he never does, he never remembers what we ate, and he never knows what to order). My version came out delicious as well, just like at the restaurant, less sodium for sure.
I panfried chicken breasts with a few spices and cooking spray. You can use any chicken, grilled or any leftover cooked chicken will work. Then I simmered veggies in a broth for a bit, cooked but still tender. I added kale at the end and just stirred into the vegetable mixture. And, I finally got a hand of organic cornstarch, so this dish is gluten free. Enjoy!
Healthy Chicken Abruzzi
Olive Garden’s Chicken Abruzzi copycat recipe – chicken breast in a savoury broth of cannellini beans, kale and garden vegetables.
- Prep Time: 7 minutes
- Cook Time: 23 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- 4 chicken cutlets, 6 oz each
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed & divided
- 1 small onion, minced
- 9 oz zucchini, cubed
- 1 small bell pepper, cubed
- 2 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 1 tbsp cornstarch or 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 14 oz can (2 cups) cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
- 3 cups (3 – 4 oz) kale, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 1/4 tsp + a pinch salt*
- 1/2 tsp + a pinch ground black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme, dried
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- In a medium bowl, combine chicken, 1 crushed garlic clove, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix to coat the chicken. Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add chicken and cook for 7-9 minutes per side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.*
- Return skillet to medium heat (wash if necessary), add olive oil, remaining garlic, onion and saute for 1 minute, stirring once. Add zucchini and bell pepper, and saute for 3 more minutes, stirring once. In the meanwhile, make a slurry by whisking together, in a medium bowl, chicken broth, cornstarch or flour, remaining salt and ground black pepper, and thyme. Pour over vegetables in a skillet and add the beans. Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add kale and stir again. To serve, spoon 1.25 vegetable mixture in a soup or deep plate and place sliced chicken breast on top. Serve hot.
Store: Refrigerate vegetables and chicken separately for up to 3 days.
*You can use any cooked chicken, grilled or boiled works great. *Adjust salt to taste. If using canned beans, you might need to add less salt. I used homemade cooked beans.
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