Healthy Chicken Cacciatore is simple enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner, but also ultra impressive for a dinner party. It's wonderful! This post shows you how to make this super easy, tasty, and comforting recipe.
I’m all about leveling up dishes to fit a clean-eating and healthy lifestyle.
For me, the best dishes are packed with flavor, nutrients, and those that get the whole family together. So I’m psyched to share my version that I’m sure your whole fam and even guests will enjoy!
I often see Chicken Cacciatore served over some type of noodle, like egg noodles. But as a healthy twist, I chose to serve it with zucchini noodles. (a.k.a zoodles) That’s right—zucchini noodles.
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try replacing your traditional pasta. They are so easy to make and are a pretty darn good replacement. Gluten-free and fewer calories? Check!
Now for a flavorful dish with herbs, tomatoes, garlic, and juicy chicken thighs? Sign me up anytime!
What is Chicken Cacciatore?
In cuisine, “Alla cacciatora” means “hunter-style” sauteed or cooked very slowly with herbs, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and occasionally wine. It refers to the method of preparing and using ingredients typically used for game dishes.
The key ingredient is the meat, which is usually chicken, pork, turkey, alligator, veal, etc. Pan drippings are usually an essential part of the sauce that is then mixed with the ingredients. Can you just imagine that for a second? Yummy!
For this recipe, I made a simple combination of tomatoes, capers, mushrooms, and onions and it turned out beautifully.
What Is In This Healthy Chicken Cacciatore?
The ingredients of this recipe are so easy to find and you can complete this dish in only one pot. You probably have most at home already. This meal is so simple to make and creates such a complex balance of flavors.
Here's what we're working with...
- Chicken thighs (skin-on): The juicy chicken thighs are perfect to add a burst of flavor to the drippings needed to make the savory sauce of the dish. They are a good source of essential nutrients as well as iron and zinc, which are vital for a healthy immune system.
- Sea salt: High-quality sea salt is actually beneficial for regulating blood pressure when used in moderation. It also contains necessary minerals that the body can use to boost immunity.
- Ground black pepper: An underrated ingredient! Promising studies have shown that piperine, the compound in ground black pepper may help reduce free radical damage.
- Olive oil: I love cooking with extra virgin olive oil because it has antioxidants that provide a lot of protection. They may help fight cancer and have anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a high smoke point and is a great replacement for unhealthy saturated fats.
- Yellow onion: Since yellow onions have a relatively high starch content, it takes them longer to cook without falling apart. So it’s perfect for this Cacciatore where the simmer time takes 20-25 mins. Not to mention it’s high in antioxidants, nutrients, and loads of other health benefits such as digestive health and cancer-fighting properties!
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are low in calories, rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants! They bring a good earthy and rich flavor to the dish. They are linked to preventing risk of serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and many more!
- Garlic: I cannot (just cannot) imagine a world without garlic. It's not only packed with antioxidants and essential nutrients but also has been proven to have medicinal properties. Boosted immunity, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol? Check.
- Low sodium chicken stock: Any time we can reduce excess salt and gain more control over what we consume, I’ll take it! It’s always better to add more salt to taste along the way than starting with a higher sodium option from a regular stock choice only to double your salt content by the end.
- Diced tomatoes (with juices): Apart from being packed with a chock-full of benefits, tomatoes are considered to be a major dietar source for lycopene (an antioxidant know to help with reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers).
- Capers: Did I mention how much Dustin hates capers? With a burning passion? (This recipe made him rethink his life choices though.) Rich in antioxidants, a good source of vitamins and manganese, niacin, and calcium, what’s not to love, hun?
- Dried oregano: This flavorful herb has many anti-aging properties for skin, hair, gut health and loads more. It even has anti-acne properties. What a fab addition to any meal!
- Fresh basil leaves (julienned): Oh — and please don’t forget the fresh basil on top! Trust me, the sweetness will balance out the tartness of the capers and the acidity of the tomatoes. The compounds of this herb are linked to protecting your brain health and even alleviate anxiety and depression.
How Many Calories Are In Chicken Cacciatore?
This recipe serves 4 and has a total of 591 calories per serving. You’ll probably save up to 500 calories with my healthy version recipe than you would dining out. It’s a perfect dish for a tasty, homey, and even “restaurant-worthy” quick fix that still fits a clean-eating diet. It also comes with essential vitamins and minerals from the veggies.
*Some variations of this recipe use wine but for this, we will not be using any. You can also add chicken breasts, bell peppers, zucchini, etc.
Is Chicken Cacciatore Good for Weight Loss?
This dish has all the character and richness of a typical Italian dish. Yet it doesn’t come with the heaviness of some traditional dishes that contain loads of cheese, oil, and carbs. Most of its flavor comes from the mix of onions, garlic, tomatoes, chicken (plus its drippings mhmmm), and seasoning.
It’s actually one of the healthiest Italian dishes with a good source of protein and a nutritional bang for your buck. So yes, it’s a good meal for anyone who wants a flavor-packed, quality dish looking to stay healthy and lean.
We’re also using low sodium chicken stock so less bloating!
What Goes Well With Chicken Cacciatore?
Healthy Chicken Cacciatore is tasty enough to eat on its own but here are some of my fave suggestions to pair it with.
- Brown rice (Imagine this soaking up all the flavor, the sauce and the chicken. Oh my word.)
- Cauliflower rice (The healthier and lighter alternative to rice!)
- Crockpot mashed potatoes (I’m just gonna say it straight up. These mashed potatoes are the bomb!)
- Egg noodles (3 ingredients, super simple to make)
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole (Originally a thanksgiving recipe. I was challenged to #makeithealthy but so good it will wow your taste buds beyond the holidays!)
You can also serve this with a refreshing salad or bread to soak up all the crockpot goodness.
How To Store This Healthy Chicken Cacciatore?
To store this dish, I keep it in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. You can also freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Allow the Healthy Chicken Cacciatore to thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat on medium-low in a skillet on the stove. Don’t overheat or you may cook the chicken more and you don’t want that.
MORE HEALTHY CHICKEN RECIPES
Chicken is good for you, flavorful, and so so easy to make. Want to know how easy? Try these other recipes!
This post contains affiliate links for products I regularly use and highly recommend.
*This post may contain affiliate links for products I use often and highly recommend.
- 4-6 chicken thighs skin-on
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to coat chicken
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper to coat chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 8-10 mushrooms quartered
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup low sodium chicken stock
- 28 oz diced tomatoes with juices 1 can
- 2 tablespoon capers drained
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 5-6 fresh basil leaves julienned
- Lightly coat chicken with kosher salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden, about 6-8 minutes. Flip over and cook other side until golden. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- Carefully pour out and discard ⅔ of the remaining oil and chicken drippings from the pan. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms to the same pan and cook over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices, capers, chicken broth, and oregano and stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt or pepper if needed.
- Return the chicken to the pan. Bring to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Once chicken is cooked, remove and heat sauce on high to thicken for 5-10 minutes, if necessary. If very liquidy, boil until it reduces to desired amount.
- Garnish with julienned basil and serve.