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  • Writer's pictureSophie Zuckerman

Lightened Up Chicken Parmesan

In no way will this dish take you down memory lane to your last visit to the Amalfi Coast, sipping an Aperol Spritz, wearing a lemon themed dress, and watching the waves break against the cliffs ...or maybe it will, for nostalgia purposes only. Although this dish is significantly healthier than a traditional Chicken Parm, it is packed with flavor, and it's a dish I go back to time and time again.

Yields - 4 servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

Recommended equipment: meat tenderizer, large cast iron skillet, medium skillet


  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon of water

  • 1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil

  • 1 jar of Rao's marinara sauce

  • 1/4 c Pecorino Romano

  • 1 slice of fresh mozzarella for each piece of chicken

Ingredients for the Zoodles:

  • 6 cups of spiralized zucchini noodles

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 lb of mushrooms of your choice, sliced

  • 1 clove of fresh garlic

  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

  2. Place your zoodles in a colander over a bowl with 2 tsp of kosher salt. This will bring a lot of the moisture out so your final dish isn't soggy. Set aside until time to prepare.

  3. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin or wine bottle (be careful not to break, that would be tragic) until they are about 1 inch thick and even all around.

  4. Remove the plastic wrap and discard. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

  5. In a shallow bowl or plate, whisk the egg with 1 T of water until combined and thinned out, In another dish, combine the Panko breadcrumbs, all your spices, lemon zest and fresh thyme. Mix until combined.

  6. Dip each breast first into the egg, coating both sides, and then dip into the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to make sure the crumbs adhere to both sides of the breast. Set aside on a plate.

  7. In a large cast iron skillet, pour 2 tablespoons avocado oil in the pan over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, you can add the chicken to the pan. Do not crowd the pan, if needed you can cook in batches. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is golden brown and mostly cooked through. When all the chicken is done cooking, place them on a clean plate while you add the marinara sauce.

  8. Lower the heat in your skillet and pour in the marinara sauce. Bring to a simmer and then add chicken breasts back to the pan. Place as much marinara sauce as you'd like on top of the chicken, followed by the Percino Romano and Mozzarella.

  9. Place the skillet in the oven until cooked through and the cheese is bubbling, about 5-10 minutes.

  10. While the chicken is in the oven prepare the zoodles.

  11. Place onions with a pinch of salt in a skillet over medium heat and cook until translucent.

  12. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, then add a little pinch of salt. Add 1 clove of garlic and cook until fragrant

  13. Add the zoodles and 1 cup of your marinara sauce, stir to combine. Take off the heat and add 1/4 cup of freshly chopped basil.

  14. To serve, place 1 serving of the zoodles on a plate, top with chicken and some sauce, and add the remaining fresh basil. Enjoy!

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