Home > Dinner > Chicken > Tomato-Basil Chicken Tomato-Basil Chicken July 20, 2023 | 3 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Classic Italian flavors, quick and easy, and very nutritious–this Tomato-Basil Chicken fits the bill! Marinated chicken simmered with a flavorful sauce proves that simple things can be just as delicious as the fancy meals! Tomato-Basil Chicken This is Italian food at its best, I have to say. Actually, it’s essential to note that defining “classic Italian flavors” is a challenge in itself. Each of Italy’s 20 regions has its own flavor profile, formed by the conditions and traditions of that area. But perhaps the most typical flavors– tomato sauces, pizza, mozzarella cheese–come from the Campania region in southern Italy. So maybe I should say that Tomato-Basil Chicken has the classic Campania flavors! At any rate, this is one scrumptious dish. You know me–I’m all about quick and easy cooking. This dish is a perfect example, once you get the chicken marinating. Heck, you could set up the marinade the night before, and then, when you’re ready to cook, dinner can be on the table in a half hour. I love that this recipe is so healthy. It offers high-quality protein through the chicken, and instead of relying on heavy cream or butter for the sauce, it features lighter and more nutritious components. The tomato paste, chicken broth, and basil really get to take center stage. Let’s Chat Basil Fresh basil leaves aren’t designed to withstand long cooking times; they tend to brown and lose flavor. That’s why use dried basil, in this recipe. It reconstitutes during the cooking process and provides all the flavor you’d want from basil–without any bitterness. Alternatively, you can use lightly dried chopped basil. It’s often available in the refrigerated produce section of your local grocery store. Trust me, it adds a fantastic touch to this dish! All this said, we do garnish the dish with fresh basil leaves–they’re so much more attractive! Sprinkling dried basil over top is certainly permissible, though. If you’re not a fan of basil, you could swap out oregano, but you’d have to call it Tomato-Oregano Chicken! I mean, of course! Tomato-Basil Chicken Ingredients Chicken: The chicken we need for this recipe is boneless, skinless breast. Try to find similar-sized pieces so that they’ll all cook evenly and be ready at the same time. We slice the breast in half widthwise to yield four thinner filets. You could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs–just don’t slice them in half. To make this recipe with boneless thighs, you may need six pieces, depending on the size you find. Tomato paste: With so many various tomato products out there, it’s hard to know which one is best for any given recipe. We use tomato paste here because it’s thick and concentrated. Swapping this with diced or puréed tomatoes will give you a very different dish, but if you’re going to try it, reduce the liquid a bit since those tomatoes are much juicier. Sugar: We do add a bit–just a bit–of sweetener to this sauce. This helps smooth out the acidic and sometimes bitter taste in some tomato products. If you’re skeptical about this, you can taste the sauce and decide for yourself if it needs sweetening, and proceed from there. We use white sugar, but you could also add honey or stevia. QUICK TIP Sugar in your tomato paste? I realize the concept of adding sugar to tomato sauce bothers some people, so feel free to leave it out if you’re one of those people. The sugar helps counteract the acidity and bitterness of the tomato paste and gives a smoother flavor. If your tomatoes don’t taste bitter, then you may not need the sweetener.) Ingredients, Continued: Vinegar: We use red wine vinegar in the marinade. The acidic content of the vinegar breaks down fibers in the chicken, and that helps make it more tender. You can also use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, but they’ll change the flavor a bit. We sprinkle the finished dish with balsamic vinegar, a sweeter, richer product. You can also use balsamic reduction (glaze), which is thicker, with a concentrated, sweeter, stronger flavor. Chicken broth: Just as you might expect, broth helps create the sauce. This recipe is pretty saucy, which makes it great for serving over pasta or rice. If you’re not planning to serve Tomato-Basil Chicken that way, you can cut back a bit on the broth. Or, fix it anyway and add that leftover flavorful broth to a soup or casserole. If you prefer to use bouillon instead of broth, Better Than Bouillon® has a strong, rich, chicken-y flavor. If you use powdered chicken bouillon, be sure to taste as you go so it doesn’t get too salty. How To Make Tomato-Basil Chicken This recipe is pretty straightforward. It’s excellent for beginner cooks, too as it involves no complex procedures! Marinate: Combine the oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Slice the chicken into the thinner filets and add everything to a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out the air, seal, and mix well by kneading with your fingers. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours, and turn a couple of times to keep the marinade circulating. The sweet spot for marinating for this recipe is four hours. That’s plenty of time for the flavors to permeate and the acids to work their tenderizing magic. Cook: Brown the chicken and cook until done. Set aside on a plate and tent with foil to keep it warm and moist. We’ll make the sauce in the same pan. Add tomato paste, chicken broth, sugar, and basil. Simmer at least 5 minutes, but up to a half hour–the longer it simmers, the more concentrated the flavors become. This also helps reduce the amount of sauce, if that’s a priority. Add the chicken back in and heat a few minutes more. Garnish and serve: If you’re using pasta or rice as a base, spoon that onto a platter. Then add the chicken pieces and scoop out the sauce and pour over it all. Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and some fresh basil leaves, if desired. QUICK TIP Marinade or marinate? Did you know that marinade, spelled with the letter d, is a noun–the combination of spices and liquid, whereas marinate, with a letter t, is a verb, describing the action of putting food in the liquid? Seriously! You add marinade to a bowl and then let the chicken marinate in it. Finishing Touches This Tomato-Basil Chicken is incredibly delicious straight from the skillet. But, with these final additions, you’ll elevate this dish to the next level! Balsamic vinegar: This ingredient provides a welcome hit of acidity to the dish. A good balsamic vinegar adds such a great, rich, and complex flavor. Alternatively, you can also use a balsamic glaze which is a reduced and slightly sweetened form of balsamic vinegar. It imparts a pleasant sweetness that complements the dish well. Parmesan cheese: Choose freshly grated Parmesan cheese over pre-grated versions. Fresh Parmesan is more flavorful and will melt better over your hot chicken, adding a creamy, savory touch. We like to use a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it right over the dish using a microplane. Fresh basil leaves: These provide a pop of fresh herby-ness to the dish. Try to use them right off the stem and add them just before serving to retain their fresh flavor and vibrant color. You can chiffonade the leaves by stacking, rolling, and thinly slicing them. Extra-virgin olive oil: Drizzling a dash of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil over the chicken is also something I recommend. It introduces a lovely depth of flavor that blends beautifully with the balsamic vinegar. What To Serve With Tomato-Basil Chicken: Pasta: To me, this recipe screams out for a bed of angel hair pasta to accompany it. The sauce from the chicken pairs well with pasta and makes for a filling meal. Another huge favorite at my home has been couscous (which is actually tiny balls of pasta). Not only is it ready in mere minutes, but it also is the perfect accompaniment to the sauce and chicken. Rice: A simple steamed white rice or flavored rice such as garlic rice or a pilaf would be a great accompaniment to the chicken. For a more hearty whole grain, try farro or brown rice instead. Bread: A nice crusty Italian bread or garlic bread can mop up the delicious sauce. Salads: A crisp green Garden Salad, Italian Salad, or tangy Caprese Salad lends a nice contrast to the richness of the chicken. Vegetables: Grilled, steamed, or roasted vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, or zucchini would complement the chicken well. More Italian Chicken Recipes: Baked Ziti with Chicken with flavors of a Philly Chicken Cheesesteak Tuscan Chicken Pasta creamy, cheesy indulgence Chicken Parmesan Soup ready in minutes! Chicken Alfredo with a lightened-up creamy sauce Chicken Pesto Tortellini with pesto and pasta FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Tomato-Basil Chicken 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe Classic Italian flavors, quick and easy, and very nutritious–this Tomato-Basil Chicken fits the bill! Marinated chicken simmered with a flavorful sauce proves that simple things can be just as delicious as the fancy meals! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Tomato-Basil Chicken 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Classic Italian flavors, quick and easy, and very nutritious–this Tomato-Basil Chicken fits the bill! Marinated chicken simmered with a flavorful sauce proves that simple things can be just as delicious as the fancy meals! Course Dinner, Main Course Cuisine Healthy, Italian Keyword Tomato-Basil Chicken Prep Time 15 minutes minutes Cook Time 15 minutes minutes Marinating Time 30 minutes minutes Total Time 1 hour hour Servings 4 servings Chelsea Lords Calories 308kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $10.98 IngredientsFor the marinade:▢ 3 tablespoons olive oil▢ 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar▢ 1 teaspoon dried basil (Note 1)▢ 2 cloves garlic, minced▢ Fine sea salt and pepperFor the chicken:▢ 2 tablespoons olive oil▢ 1 lb. (2 large) boneless, skinless chicken breasts▢ ¼ cup tomato paste▢ 1 cup chicken broth▢ ½ teaspoon white granulated sugar▢ 1 teaspoon dried basil▢ Optional: 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves, drizzle of oil (Note 2)▢ Optional for serving: couscous, pasta, or rice (Note 3) InstructionsMARINADE: In a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Season to taste; I add ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Whisk. CHICKEN: Slice each chicken breast in half widthwise to create two thinner pieces (four pieces total). If needed, pound the breasts slightly to ensure uniform thickness. MARINATE: Add the four chicken pieces to a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Pour in the marinade, seal the bag without air, and gently knead to coat the chicken pieces. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours, flipping the bag occasionally to keep the chicken coated.CHICKEN: Remove the chicken from the marinade. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp oil. Once oil is hot, transfer the chicken pieces to the pan; don't overlap. Cook the chicken about 4-6 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. The thermometer should register 160 degrees. (Residual heat will take the chicken up to the desired 165 degrees.) Remove chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep it warm. Reduce pan heat to low. SAUCE: Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, 1 tsp. dried basil, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.) Whisk until smooth and then bump the heat a bit to medium-low.SIMMER: Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes until it thickens slightly. If time allows, you can let it simmer for up to 30 minutes (on low heat) for a deeper, richer flavor. If the sauce reduces too much, add a bit more chicken broth. FINISHING: Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon sauce over. Allow to simmer a minute longer and serve.SERVE: To serve, drizzle with optional balsamic vinegar (or balsamic glaze), add a sprinkle of Parmesan, and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Drizzle on a touch of oil (optional). Serve as is or over pasta/couscous with crusty bread for mopping up leftover sauce! Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Basil: Fresh basil leaves aren't designed to withstand extended cooking durations, as they tend to brown and lose flavor when subjected to heat for too long. That's why we use dried basil, which reconstitutes during the cooking process. OR, you can use lightly dried chopped basil. It's available in the refrigerated produce section of your local grocery store. It is delicious! Note 2: Toppings: Balsamic vinegar adds a great, rich, and complex flavor. Alternatively, you can also use a balsamic glaze which is a reduced and slightly sweetened form of balsamic vinegar. For Parmesan, we like to use a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it right over the dish using a microplane. Fresh basil adds a wonderful freshness to the dish. You can chiffonade the leaves by stacking, rolling, and thinly slicing them. And finally, I recommend drizzling a dash of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil over the chicken. It introduces a lovely depth of flavor that blends beautifully with the balsamic vinegar. Note 3: Serving suggestions: The sauce from the chicken pairs well with angel hair pasta and makes for a filling meal. Another huge favorite at my home has been couscous (which is actually tiny balls of pasta). Not only is it ready in mere minutes, but it also is the perfect accompaniment to the sauce and chicken. A nice crusty Italian bread or garlic bread can be used to mop up the delicious sauce. A big garden salad or roasted/steamed veggies make great healthful sides. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 480mg | Potassium: 618mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 289IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.