One pan Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini Recipe with black beans, corn, tomatoes and melted cheese on top. Low carb and crowd pleasing 30 minute healthy meal.
Table of Contents
- Ingredients for Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini
- How to Make Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini
- Top Tips for Best Results
- Optional Add-Ins and Variations
- What to Serve Chicken and Zucchini Recipe With?
- How to Store and Reheat
- Make It Ahead
- More Chicken and Zucchini Recipes to Try
- More Healthy Dinner Recipes
- Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini Recipe Recipe
This Tex Mex chicken and zucchini recipe 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.
Chicken and zucchini are cooked with diced tomatoes, black beans, corn and simple seasonings, then topped with cheese and fresh herbs. Note that we add squash at the very end to preserve the crunchiness.
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 flavor to any dish without extra calories.
Ingredients for Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini
You will need very simple ingredients to make this chicken and zucchini recipe.
- Chicken: You can use raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs or even chicken tenders.
- Zucchini: Green or yellow zucchini. Also patty pan squash or chayote works great too!
- Bell peppers: You can use any color peppers. 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 corn (no need to thaw), fresh corn (cut off the cob and uncooked) or canned corn (drained) works in this chicken and zucchini recipe.
- Black beans: Low sodium canned and drained black beans. Also you can use homemade beans like black beans cooked in Instant Pot.
- Diced tomatoes: Use canned low sodium or no salt added diced tomatoes. Substitute all or partially with fire roasted tomatoes or Rotel, if you wish.
- Onion, garlic and cilantro: Fresh veggies and herbs are the best because they add maximum flavor with minimum calories. If you are not a fan of cilantro, omit it and use green onion or fresh parsley instead.
- Spices: Cumin, low sodium taco seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Cheese: I use Colby Jack also known as marble cheese. Tex Mex cheese, white cheddar or yellow cheddar cheese will be great too. Shredded at home cheese melts better than store-bought because it doesn’t contain anti-caking agents like cellulose. That’s what I use.
- Lime: It rounds out all flavors nicely in a final dish.
- Oil for frying: I like to use avocado oil but you can also use olive oil or butter.
If you are using not low sodium canned goods, add 1/4 teaspoon salt during cooking and then season more to taste later.
How to Make Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini
Here is a quick step-by-step overview how to make Tex mex chicken and zucchini recipe. Full recipe card is located below.
Preheat deep large 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 pieces. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon 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 to the skillet. Stir, cover and cook chicken and zucchini recipe on low-medium for 10 minutes.
It is very important not to overcook zucchini. It might be tempting to cook it until soft but cook only for 10 minutes and turn off heat while zucchini still appears firm.
Top Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips for the best chicken and zucchini recipe from the first try.
- Do not over cook zucchini: Follow the recipe and do not cook until zucchini appears soft and cooked.
- Cut garden zucchini smaller: Often garden zucchini are giant. Cut them into cubes instead of quarters.
- Cook garden zucchini less time: Extra large zucchini from the farmer’s market or homegrown zucchini are more spongy and need to be cooked for shorter amount of time to avoid soggy vegetables.
- Do not drain diced tomatoes: Its juices add flavor and substance to the sauce. Just like with this Ukrainian borscht.
- 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 Tex Mex chicken and zucchini.
- Use very large skillet: This chicken zucchini 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 Variations
This chicken and zucchini recipe is very versatile and forgiving. Use what you have on hand. Here are a few ideas:
- Ground beef: Substitute lean ground beef or ground pork in place of chicken breasts. Saute ground meat until cooked through, breaking into small pieces. You can also drain extra fat, if you wish.
- For heat: Add chopped, not seeded jalapenos to taste.
- V8: If you have V8 on hand, feel free to add it instead of some diced tomatoes or for extra sauce. It is one of the reader’s tips.
- Fresh tomatoes: You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes in this Tex Mex chicken and zucchini. Chop them up and saute for 3-4 minutes after cooking bell peppers and chicken but before adding the zucchini.
- Can of diced green chiles: It will add nice extra Tex Mex flavor.
- Make it vegetarian: Just omit chicken, use meatless crumbles or diced tofu. No other changes to the recipe are necessary.
What to Serve Chicken and Zucchini Recipe With?
You can serve this Tex Mex chicken and zucchini on its own as is, that’s what we usually do. Or feel free to top it with sour cream, diced avocado, cilantro and black olives after the cheese has melted. Then top with crushed tortilla chips. Delicious!
Use it as a filling in wraps. We love to do that with chicken burrito skillet!
How to Store and Reheat
Refrigerate leftovers for healthy lunch up to 3-4 days in an airtight container.
Freeze: I do not recommend to freeze this chicken and zucchini recipe. Zucchini will become a total mush once thawed because it consists of 95% water.
To reheat, simmer in a skillet on low heat on stovetop for 5 minutes while covered. If you use non-stick skillet, you should not need any water or oil to reheat it as zucchini will release water.
Make It Ahead
To make chicken and zucchini recipe in advance, you can definitely prep ingredients ahead of time. Great for busy weeknights when you want to eat healthy.
Chop vegetables and refrigerate covered for up to 2 days. Also cut up chicken breasts and refrigerate separately in an airtight container for up to 2 days as well.
You can also grate cheese in advance and store it in airtight container. Feel free to measure out spices and store them in a small container in a pantry.
If you have a lot of extra liquid in the skillet, it is more likely because you overcooked the zucchini. Squash consists of 95% water and the longer you cook it, the more water it releases.
Yes, any leftover cooked chicken works in this chicken and zucchini recipe. Cook it only for a few minutes until warmed through.
I do not recommend to freeze cooked chicken and zucchini recipe because its delicate texture doesn’t hold up well freezing. Once thawed and reheated, the amount of extra water will be too much for an enjoyable and appealing dish.
If you are allergic to tomatoes or for another reason, you can substitute tomatoes with 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth and add more to taste, if necessary. Also chopped marinated roasted red peppers would be great too.
More Chicken and Zucchini Recipes to Try
- Chicken zucchini casserole
- Chicken mushroom recipe
- Chicken bell pepper recipe
- Chicken cauliflower recipe
- Chicken tomato recipe
- Chicken and asparagus recipe
- Quinoa skillet
- Mediterranean chicken recipe
Or any of these healthy zucchini recipes!
More Healthy Dinner Recipes
Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini Recipe
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add corn, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, taco seasoning and remaining cumin. Stir, cover and cook on low-medium for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with cheese, cover and cook for a few minutes or until cheese has melted. Top with green onion and cilantro.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.