Lemon Basil Chicken

Several weeks ago, Ben and I mapped out a series of mini home renovation projects with the goal of having them completed by this weekend. Current completion count: zero. At least our dinners have been running on schedule, courtesy of easy, one-pan recipes like this Lemon Basil Chicken. It’s fresh, healthy, cooks in a single skillet, and is ready 20 minutes!

 One Pan Lemon Basil Chicken with Spinach – Ready in 20 minutes! Fresh, flavorful, and healthy. Serve with rice for an easy weeknight meal. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

My sister—who is in the midst of some home projects that make ours look as invasive as reorganizing a coat closet—warned me that real life is “not HGTV.”

I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant…until I was driving to an IKEA in a different state to pick up several missing parts of the shelving units that the store forgot to ship.

Add the shelf snafu to our first round of curtains being too short (the right length is now back ordered until July), the guy installing our blinds leaving halfway through the job for another appointment (he still hasn’t been back), and the fact that the only concrete step we’ve taken towards repainting our kitchen cabinets is to narrow down the color options from 17 shades of “white” to 7, and you have a situation that is a far cry from the 48-hour flips as seen on HGTV.

Healthy Lemon Basil Chicken – Fresh, flavorful, and ready in just 20 minutes! Everything cooks in ONE PAN. Serve with rice for an easy weeknight dinner. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

We have made some progress. Over the weekend, we built and installed the aforementioned IKEA shelves, which I gleefully loaded with stacks of plates, serving bowls, glassware, my entire cookbook collection, and heavy cast-iron skillets. It took the better part of an afternoon, but in the end, every dish and spoon had its perfect place.

Then, two hours later, we realized the shelves needed to move three inches to the right. We had to pull every single item from the shelves, and a good number of them are still scattered around my office. I feel like this probably doesn’t happen on HGTV.

Lemon Basil Chicken – Healthy ONE PAN recipe that’s ready in 20 minutes! Serve with rice for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Because we’ve been dedicating the majority of our free time toward the house, I’ve been appreciating quick and easy dinners like this Lemon Basil Chicken even more so than usual. Chunks of juicy chicken stir-fried with garlic, fresh lemon, and basil, this recipe requires hardly 5 minutes of prep and can be on your plate in 20.

Easy Lemon Basil Chicken – Healthy one pan meal that’s ready in 20 minutes! Perfect dinner recipe for busy weeknights. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

To make Lemon Basil Chicken a complete meal, I added several handfuls of fresh spinach. You can feel free to bulk it up further with any other sautéed veggies you enjoy or have on hand. We served our Lemon Basil Chicken over brown rice for dinner, and the next day, I tossed the leftovers with my salad for lunch.

When getting a healthy meal on the table feels like a project of its own, keep this simple Lemon Basil Chicken in mind. While it might not be reality TV-worthy, in the reality of NEED DINNER NOW, it’s a star!

Tools I used to make this Lemon Basil Chicken recipe:

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Lemon Basil Chicken

One Pan Lemon Basil Chicken with Spinach—Ready in 20 minutes! Fresh, flavorful, and healthy. Serve with rice for an easy weeknight meal.

Yield: 4 servings (about 4 cups total)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 cups loosely packed baby spinach (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • Prepared brown rice, for serving

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 additional seconds.
  2. Add the chicken, increase the heat to medium high, and let cook for 3 minutes, browning all sides. Stir in the soy sauce and black pepper. Let cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
  3. Stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, letting the heat of the pan wilt it as you go. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil. Cook and stir just until the basil is wilted, about 1 additional minute. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper as desired.  Serve warm with rice as desired.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 (of 4), with 1/2 cup brown rice

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 349 Calories
  • Total Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 98mg
  • Sodium: 534mg
  • Carbohydrates: 29g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Protein: 40g

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

12 comments

  1. I just took a cooking class at our local hospital called Sprouts of Spring and one of the things she had to sample was sorrel. It has a strong lemony flavor and I could picture using it in this dish in place of lemon – only if you wanted more greens along with the spinach. This recipe will be on my list to make for sure.
    P.S. Those HGTV people really laugh it up for the camera, huh? NOTHING in a remodel ever goes smoothly for us…we’ve done our entire house except one bathroom so far and there’s always something to keep you “laughing” and not in a good way! Hang in there – it’ll be beautiful when it’s done.

    • Thanks so much, Chris! It sounds like sorrel would be delicious here. If you do give it a try, I’d love to know what you think!

  2. Maybe you’re more Food Network and less HGTV. ;)

  3. Alexandra Wright Reply

    Made this tonight – excellent. Swapped out the spinach for local wild asparagus…mmmm. Thanks for another good one, Erin!

  4. This is a perfect recipe – simple and delicious ingredients and easy and fast to make.  We’ll be adding this to our “favorites”!  Thanks (again)

    Rating: 5
  5. 29g Carbohydrates – yikes! Enough to scare many of the growing number of low-carb people off. However, if I am interpreting the Nutrition info correctly, and you kick the brown rice out it becomes a very healthy 6g carbohydrates, at least as I see it (23g carbs in 1/2 C brown rice). I am no nutritionist and have grown weary of sorting out carbs vs sugar – I just treat them the same and leave it at that. I love almost anything with lemon in it – The basic recipe sounds great – I will make this with cauliflower rice or zoodles

  6. Made this and ate it over riced cauliflower -it was fantastic!

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Wendy! Riced cauliflower is an excellent serving suggestion…thanks for sharing how it went!

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