Making a Lighter Chicken Parmesan

Love your chicken parm but not the crazy calorie overload you get at a restaurant? Try this lighter version that’s easy to make at home.

Most of the unwanted calories in chicken parmesan come from heavy breading plus the typical big side of pasta. Both bring down the nutrition profile since the breading is made from white-flour breadcrumbs and the side is usually white pasta. So skip the breading and replace the pasta with a veggie side dish to save hundreds of calories without sacrificing taste. As a bonus, the cheeses and the broccoli provide more calcium per serving than a glass of milk.

Lighter Chicken Parmesan

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, jarred or homemade
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Coat a large, oven-safe skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook 4 to 5 minutes until the chicken browns. Flip and cook 3 to 4 minutes more (the chicken will finish cooking in the oven).

Turn off the heat and carefully add the sauce. Place one slice of mozzarella over each chicken piece and evenly sprinkle grated Parmesan on top.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken bakes, prepare the side dish. Heat another large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the broccoli florets. Season, tossing well. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 8 to 10 minutes more, tossing occasionally until the broccoli is well-browned and tender. Serve immediately with the chicken.

Yield: 4 servings

More information

The University of California, San Francisco, has more on foods with a high calcium content.