Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Today, I want to know: What does romance look like to you? For me, it’s Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese, the dishes, and time.

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese. An easy but delicious twist on baked chicken.

In the movies, Romance (total capital “R”-ing it here) involves acts of gallantry, disapproving families, and fine chocolates. Enemies are slain, prejudices are overcome, and golden sunsets are followed. This fanfare is beautiful and all, but my real life is much more dishes and sleep deprivation.

Over the past few weeks, I have come to deeply understand that one of the most romantic things you can give someone is your time—not only time together, but also time alone. For independent reasons, Ben and I have been experiencing lose-your-sanity levels of “busyness” over the past few weeks, and our free hours have not aligned.

The night I made Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese, Ben was in the library. He studied until the moment dinner was ready, came home to eat with me, then went right back to his books, apologizing for not having time to help with dishes.

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese. The perfect healthy summer dinner.

On Monday night, Ben drove back from Milwaukee to stay with me in Madison. (He’s been staying in Milwaukee, helping his parents with a variety of urgent items around the house.) I thanked him by spending the evening catching up on work, after my weekend at BlogHer Food in Miami. He didn’t say one word, let me focus as needed, then helped me clean up after that day’s photo shoot.

This isn’t what our marriage looks like most of the time, but it does highlight something important that I’ve learned—sometimes, the most romantic thing you can give someone is time. In college when free time reigned supreme, romance was easy. We had plenty of hours for dates, surprises, and long walks on a hypothetical beach. Now, we are far more occupied, and our time together must be more intentional. I don’t view this as a bad thing.

Pecan Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese. A simple, healthy dinner!

Preparing dinner for someone is romantic, doing the dishes is romantic, and sweeping the floor after the dishes is really romantic. No, it’s not glamorous, but it’s real.

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese is capital-“R” Romance for real life. It has elements of an elegant meal—toasty, crunchy pecan crust; juicy, meaty interior; creamy goat cheese and bright balsamic strawberries—yet requires less than a half hour of active effort. No need to spend hours in the kitchen or break the bank to sweep someone off their feet—Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese is ready to woo!

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese. Healthy, easy, and beautiful!

Don’t mistake me. I still love my evenings out, and I am never am sorry to see a bouquet of flowers; however, I also like remembering that we can do small things every day to say, “Hi. I’m kind of nuts about you.” For today, Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese is mine.

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Pecan Crusted Chicken topped with a warm balsamic strawberry sauce and creamy goat cheese. A quick, healthy, and easy dinner that feels absolutely elegant!

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 75 minutes


For the Pecan Chicken

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4, 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

For the Strawberries and Goat Cheese:

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces goat cheese


  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Lightly beat the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, grind the pecans into fine crumbs. Place in a large, study ziptop bag and add in the bread crumbs, basil, salt, and pepper. Seal top and shake to combine.
  3. Lightly pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. They need not be very thin—just flatten the middle a bit so that the chicken will bake more evenly. Working one chicken breast at a time, dip the chicken in the egg wash, then place in the ziptop bag and shake to coat with the pecan mixture. Gently press the pecan mixture so that it sticks to the chicken, then lay the chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Drizzle with olive oil, then bake until the juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While the chicken bakes, prepare the strawberry sauce. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan, then add strawberries, balsamic vinegar, basil, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  5. To serve: Top baked chicken with a spoonful of strawberry sauce, then crumble goat cheese over the top. Enjoy immediately.

More romance-worthy meals:

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...


  1. One of my favorite salads has strawberries, pecans, chicken and goat I am all about a new, “un-salady” twist! Great to meet you at BHF! Pinned :)

  2. Looks fabulous! And your photos are becoming increasingly beautiful and well-styled all the time too.

  3. You’re so right. I think this is 99% of my issues in my marriage is that I can’t give someone my time. I’m too busy. I’m going to make more of an effort. Miss you!!!

  4. You are SO right about that…time is incredibly important and so easy to overlook! I love this chicken!

  5. Great post!!! I didn’t know my husband while I was in law school, but I can imagine that trying to find time to spend together would have been very difficult. When I was studying for the Georgia bar, I pretty much locked myself into our guest bedroom and it was really hard to say “no” when he wanted to hang out at night after he got home from work. This looks like a great special home-cooked meal. I’m sure your husband appreciates all of your love and support while he is trying to make it through law school! I know from personal experience that it can be super stressful!

    • Thanks so much for this thoughtful comment! It’s sometimes nice to remember that we aren’t the only ones dealing with stresses and time constraints, though I’m certainly no master at handling it.

  6. Last night my husband actually took the phone from my hands and put it in another room. I gave him a hard time asking how old we were that I just got my phone taken away but he wanted me to spend time with him and the baby. Definitely need to readjust my priorities.

  7. Great post Erin :D I’m big on the little things that show someone you love them. Understanding each other needs is the best way to show your love. :D
    Speaking of love…this pecan crusted chicken looks amazing! I love all these flavors.

  8. So true! Beautiful dish, Erin! The addition of strawberries and goat cheese makes everything better!

  9. One of my favorite flavor combinations. Looks delish!

  10. This looks amazing, Erin! And I agree, time is everything:)

  11. You are so right. Time is the most precious commodity, and there is not enough of it to go around. Much better than flowers!
    Love the flavor combinations in this recipe! Pecans + Chicken = Always Amazing.

  12. Love not only the recipe, but some points you made in this post. Time in any relationship really is important, agree with that 150 %!! So nice that you both can understand and respect each others time like that Erin! Seems like you have a beautiful relationship ;) As for this salad, always have pecans on hand…great way to use them as a crust with chicken! Nice salad to pair…totally can picture myself eating this on the deck with a glass of sauvignon blanc!

  13. So so true – you definitely have to be more intentional about time once real life kicks in. Love this – this chicken is so right up my alley! Goat cheese and strawberries – yum!

  14. Aww, that’s so sweet! It’s those little details that make all the difference, right? This chicken looks amazing! We are always looking for different ways to change up the old chicken routine, and this looks perfect! Pinning :)

  15. The strawberry + goat cheese combo sounds fabulous for chicken!

  16. Totally agree. There is nothing I like and appreciate more than when my hubby and I get to spend quality time together. I am sure whipping up this nummy chicken dish wouldn’t hurt either :). Totally digging your flavor combo, lady!

  17. Awww you speak the truth!! Time is everything and Romance with a capital R. I will make this dinner for my husband too and enjoy spending an evening together that is becoming rare as things get busy around here. Hope Ben is done with studying soon :)

  18. I totally agree Erin! For us, those nights where we don’t have to run anyone anywhere are the best. That’s when we can connect. No, it’s not romantic, but it’s real. I love the strawberries and goat cheese Erin, how wonderful!

  19. Love this combo, and I’m totally with you on the value of simple romance. I need to try this!

  20. Aaw I loved this post. Totally agree – quality time spent together means so much more. This looks amazing Erin, love the strawberries and goat cheese combo!

  21. I completely agree! Sometimes all I want is some time alone to work on my blog or watch my favorite tv show. I just spent a weekend with our friends who have a little baby and have really have no time to themselves at all these days and it made me realize that I need to cherish this time while I still have it! I love adding strawberries to savory dishes and this pecan crusted chicken looks so good! I’m a big sucker for anything that contains goat cheese :)

  22. Adore strawberries. We have a kosher home so I will simply have to adapt this to our diet. Also my bread crumbs are from the bread I bake. Always use only homemade bread crumbs whenever a recipe calls fro breadcrumbs. thank you for sharing. :)

  23. Love this post, Erin! Intentionally spending time with someone “in the moment” – not distracted by what’s on TV, on your phone, and/or on the computer (…not that I’ve been guilty of all three at the same time. Yikes!) is so, SO important. Now about this chicken! What a great combo of flavors. This would definitely be a crowd pleaser!

  24. Oh yum! I’ve never had strawberries with goat cheese before but that sounds so amazing together! I have all of the ingredients to make this except the goat cheese but I’ll definitely pin this for later!

  25. Um, did you SEE my ode to strawberries and goat cheese on my site this week? If you think I didn’t pin the crap out of this, then you clearly don’t know me.

    In other news, this post should be printed out and given to engaged couples (or anyone considering moving in together). You are so wise and on-point.

  26. Erin, this is such a great post and that crust looks so delish!!

  27. Such an awesome post and so true! Last night I cleaned off our coffee table as my act of romance. Totally NOT glamorous…but it’s real! :)

  28. Great Post.. speaking so much truth there.. and I think everything should be pecan-crusted.. Yum!

  29. sweeping the floor is totally romantic with a capital R! LOVE this dish, I just had pecan crusted chicken in Charleston last month, and I have been dying to try it at home – plus goat cheese and strawberries YUM

  30. I think its the sacrifice involved, once it is has to be a choice to give up something in order to give to someone else, it becomes a lot more special. That’s really neat that you have had that kind of time together after the craziness! And, what a gorgeously romantic dinner to celebrate with :)

  31. My husband and I often spend evenings both hunched over our computers, but at a certain point we will finish and go and watch something on TV together (usually for about 5 minutes though to be honest until 1 of us falls asleep!) or we try to go for a walk just before dark or even early in the morning before breakfast. The best times of course though are when we go away together for a weekend or longer and totally put away the laptops. I guess my point is the same as yours … that we have to be intentional about the time we spend together.
    The chicken dish, by the way, is stunning – it would be such a great Valentine’s Day meal!

  32. This looks wonderful Erin. I totally agree time is one of the most important gifts you can share with someone! The way to my husbands hearts right through his stomach, I’ll have to make this for him one of these nights.

  33. I totally get this Erin. I feel like much more often these days our date nights are grocery runs and a swirl cone from Rally’s. <<<Real life. But even these little moments we share are so important. So glad you're finding little ways to connect even in this busy season.

  34. I completely agree with you! At the end what really matters is the time you spend together! I love the combination of strawberries and goat cheese!

  35. I love everything about this post. It’s a beautiful reflection on what’s important in life. I love the fact that ‘togetherness’ doesn’t need to be expensive dinners or one-to-one conversation for the entire night. It’s just being present, available, undersatnding and considerate. It’s love without words. You and Ben are a beautiful reflection of that. As for this chicken? It’s darn pretty. I never thought chicken could be pretty! x

  36. Diane Siniscalchi Reply

    I love you because you are so REAL, Erin! You don’t put on airs; you’re just you. Refreshing! This meal sounds amazing. I would love it with the goat cheese, but Jim is not a fan. Do you think gorgonzola would be too overpowering? In the meantime, keep doing what you’re doing. You and Ben seem like the perfect match!

    • Hi Diane! That is one of the nicest compliments that I think anyone has ever given me. Thank you! I do think that the Gorgonzola might be a bit too strong. Does Jim like feta? You could always try it with Parmesan cheese too.

  37. Hello!
    I know it’s been a while on this one but I am hoping to make this and wanted to clarify something. The recipe listing calls for 2 eggs, but in the instructions it says “egg whites.” I imagine it doesn’t matter much, but perhaps it does?

    Thank you in advance and thank you for your wonderful recipes!

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