by Olena

Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini

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Olena Osipov
5 from 332 votes

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One pan Mexican chicken and zucchini recipe with black beans, corn, tomatoes and melted cheese on top. Low carb and crowd pleasing 30 minute healthy dinner.

Our other favorite light skillets include this Caprese chicken and zucchini and low carb ground turkey and zucchini with pesto.

Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini

Mexican Zucchini and Chicken

This Tex Mex chicken and zucchini is a variation of my black bean quinoa casserole with added chicken for a protein boost and quinoa replaced by zucchini. Everything is cooked within 30 minutes, right in one pan.

Tender chicken breast, soft black beans, sweet corn and squash, which is added at the very end to preserve the crunchiness. Whenever I make Mexican food like this tostada recipe, Instant Pot white chicken chili or fish tacos, I know dinner table will be quiet 100%.

Need more help meal planning? Check out iFOODreal healthy meal plans.

Mexican Chicken and Zucchini covered in melted cheese

This Mexican zucchini and chicken was delicious! Chicken and squash are cooked with diced tomatoes, cumin, taco seasoning, topped with cheese and fresh herbs. I added just a cup of shredded organic Colby Jack cheese and a few handfuls of cilantro and green onions. Fresh herbs are a great way to add flavour to any dish without extra calories.

Enjoy! Also make sure to try my chicken zucchini with garlic corn and zucchini bake. Or any of these easy zucchini recipes are healthy and delicious.

Why This Recipe Works?

  • Healthy ingredients like lots of veggies – zucchini, bell pepper, corn, tomatoes, and lean chicken breast make this a low carb skillet dinner recipe. Also gluten free and high in fiber!
  • Easy to prepare as all you have to do is chop!
  • It’s perfect for a large group as this recipe makes a lot. Or great for leftovers!
  • The pickiest eaters approved, even kids do not complain.
  • Perfect to use up produce especially during July-August months when local produce is in abundance. If you have a garden or went a bit crazy (like me) at the farmer’s market, this recipe is perfect.

Ingredients for Chicken Zucchini Recipe

  • Chicken: You can use raw boneless and skinless chicken breasts, thighs or even tenders.
  • Zucchini: Green or yellow zucchini. Also patty pan squash or chayote works great too!
  • Bell peppers: You can use any color. I like to add 1 green bell pepper for a bit of bitter taste but it’s a personal preference. Only sweet ones will be great! You can also omit bell peppers entirely.
  • Corn: Frozen ( no need to thaw), fresh (cut off the cob and uncooked) or canned (drained) corn works.
  • Black beans: Low sodium canned and drained black beans. Also you can use homemade beans like black beans cooked in Instant Pot.
  • Diced tomatoes: From a can and low sodium or no salt added. All or part of fire roasted tomatoes or Rotel would be great too!
  • Onion, garlic and cilantro: Fresh veggies and herbs best because they add most flavor with minimum calories. If you are not a fan of cilantro, omit it and just use green onion or substitute with parsley.
  • Spices: Cumin, low sodium taco seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Cheese: I use Colby Jack also known as marble cheese. Tex Mex, white or yellow cheddar cheese will be great too.
  • Lime: It rounds out all flavors nicely in a final dish.

If your canned goods are not low sodium, just add 1/4 tsp salt while cooking and then eason more to taste after.

tex mex chicken and zucchini ingredients

How to Make Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini

  • Preheat large deep skillet on low – medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper; saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Move vegetables to the side of the skillet and add chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tsp cumin, salt and black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Make sure side of the skillet with chicken and spices is over direct heat. And not the veggie side – they are already cooked.

  • Add corn, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, taco seasoning and remaining cumin. Stir, cover and cook on low-medium for 10 minutes. 

It is very important not to overcook zucchini. It might be tempting to cook until soft but just cook for 10 minutes and turn off heat while zucchini still appears firm.

  • Sprinkle with cheese, cover and cook for a few minutes or until cheese has melted. Top with green onion and cilantro. Serve hot, on its own or with brown rice or quinoa.

Shredded at home cheese melts better than store-bought because it doesn’t contain anti-caking agents like cellulose. That’s what I use.

Top Tips for Best Results

  • Do not over cook zucchini: Follow the chicken zucchini recipe and do not cook until zucchini appear soft and cooked.
  • Cut garden zucchini smaller: Garden zucchini often are giant. Just cut them into cubes instead of quarters.
  • Cook garden zucchini less time: Extra large zucchini from the farmer’s market or homegrown are more spongy and need to be cooked for shorter amount of time to avoid soggy veggies.
  • Do not drain diced tomatoes: Its juices add flavor and substance to the sauce. Just like with this Ukrainian borscht or hearty vegetable soup.
  • Add less salt: If canned black beans and diced tomatoes you have on hand contain sodium and are not “low sodium” or “no salt added”, make sure to start cooking with less salt to avoid overly salty dish.
  • Use very large skillet: This tex Mex recipe makes a lot and not overcrowded skillet results in more firm zucchini. I used 14 inch Green Pan, you can also use 12 inch skillet with very tall walls, around 2-3 inches high.
  • Good kitchen tools are key: This dish comes easily as there is just quick chopping involved. Having a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board help tremendously to get chopping done fast.

Optional Add-Ins and Recipe Variations

  • Ground beef: Substitute lean ground beef or even pork in place of chicken. Just cook until separated and cooked through. You can also drain fat, if you wish.
  • For heat: Add chopped and not seeded jalapenos to taste.
  • V8: If you have V8 on hand, feel free to add some in place of some of diced tomatoes or for extra sauce. One of the reader’s tips.
  • Fresh tomatoes: You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned. That’s what I do with Caprese chicken and zucchini. Chop them up and saute for 3-4 minutes after cooking peppers and chicken but before adding zucchini.
  • Can of diced green chiles: It will add nice extra Mexican dish flavor.
  • Make it vegetarian: Just omit chicken or use meatless crumbles. No other changes to the recipe are necessary.

FAQs

Why is my chicken and zucchini too watery?

If you have a lot of extra liquid in the skillet it is more likely because you overcooked zucchini. This vegetable comprises of 95% water and the longer you cook squash, the more water it releases.

Can I use cooked chicken?

Yes, any leftover cooked chicken works – just cook it for a few minutes until warmed through. Heck, if you forgot to thaw your chicken, you can also make Instant Pot frozen chicken breast, cook this low carb chicken skillet recipe at same time and then add shredded chicken. So easy! I can’t tell you how many times Instant Pot recipes saved dinner in our house, especially when it’s my husband’s turn to cook.

Can I freeze it?

I do not recommend to freeze cooked zucchini dishes because their delicate texture doesn’t hold up well to it. Once thawed and reheated the amount of extra water will be too much for an enjoyable and appealing dish.

Can I omit tomatoes?

If you are allergic to tomatoes or for another reason, you can substitute tomatoes with 1/2 cup any low sodium broth and add more to taste, if necessary. Also chopped marinated roasted red peppers would be great too.

What to Serve It with?

You can serve this Mexican chicken and zucchini on its own as is – that’s what we usually do. Or as a garnish, feel free to add sour cream, diced avocado, cilantro and black olives after the cheese was melted. Top with crushed tortilla chips.

Use as filling in low carb wraps, garnished with sliced avocado.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container.

I do not recommend to freeze this Tex Mex dish. Zucchini will become a total mush once thawed. Again, it is because of 95% water content issue.

To reheat, simmer on low heat in a skillet for 5 minutes covered. If you use non-stick skillet you should not need any water or oil to reheat the chicken and zucchini stir fry as again zucchini will release water.

Making Chicken and Squash Recipe in Advance

You can definitely prep ingredients in advance, great for busy weeknights when you want to eat healthy. Especially, with work, kids and sports. Chop vegetables and refrigerate covered for up to 2 days. Also cut up chicken and refrigerate separately for up to 2 days as well. As well as cheese can be grated in advance. Can even measure out spices and store in a small bowl in a pantry.

More Healthy Dinner Recipes

closeup chicken and zucchini covered with melted cheese
Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini

Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini {Low Carb}

One pan Mexican chicken and zucchini recipe with black beans, corn, tomatoes and melted cheese on top. Low carb and crowd pleasing 30 minute dinner.
4.95 from 332 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 323kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless & skinless chicken breasts cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 large zucchini diced
  • 2 medium bell peppers chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup corn frozen or fresh
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • 14 oz can low sodium black beans drained & rinsed
  • 14 oz can low sodium diced tomatoes not drained
  • 1 tsp store bought or homemade taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Tex Mex or Colby Jack cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup green onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat large (12 inch) deep skillet on low – medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper; saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini
  • Move vegetables to the side of the skillet and add chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tsp cumin, salt and black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini
  • Add corn, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, taco seasoning and remaining cumin. Stir, cover and cook on low-medium for 10 minutes.
    Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini
  • Sprinkle with cheese, cover and cook for a few minutes or until cheese has melted. Top with green onion and cilantro.
    Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini
  • Serve hot, on its own or with brown rice or quinoa. Or as a garnish, feel free to add sour cream, cilantro and black olives after the cheese was melted. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Use as filling in low carb wraps, garnished with sliced avocado.

Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 3 – 4 days. Do not freeze.

    To reheat: Simmer on low heat in a skillet for 5 minutes covered. If you use non-stick skillet you should not need any water or oil to reheat the dish as again zucchini will release water.

      Video

      Notes

      • Do not over cook zucchini: Follow the recipe and do not cook until zucchini appear soft and cooked.
      • Cut garden zucchini smaller: Garden zucchini often are giant. Just cut them into cubes instead of quarters.
      • Cook garden zucchini less time: Extra large zucchini from the farmer’s market or homegrown are more spongy and need to be cooked for shorter amount of time to avoid soggy veggies.
      • Do not drain diced tomatoes: Its juices add flavor and substance to the sauce. Just like with this Ukrainian borscht or hearty vegetable soup.
      • Add less salt: If canned black beans and diced tomatoes you have on hand contain sodium and are not “low sodium” or “no salt added”, make sure to start cooking with less salt to avoid overly salty dish.
      • Use very large skillet: This recipe makes a lot and not overcrowded skillet results in more firm zucchini. I used 14 inch Green Pan, you can also use 12 inch skillet with very tall walls, around 2-3 inches high.
      • Good kitchen tools are key: This dish comes easily as there is just quick chopping involved. Having a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board help tremendously to get chopping done fast.
      Recipe updated June 2021. See Recipe Post for more FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1.75cups | Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 699mg | Potassium: 689mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1837IU | Vitamin C: 68mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 2mg
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