ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Make A Lighter Healthier Chicken Parmesan

Updated on August 17, 2012
Healthier chicken parmesan
Healthier chicken parmesan | Source

Recipe Redo for Parmesan Chicken

Just about everyone I know loves Chicken Parmesan or as it's also known by its Italian name--Chicken Parmigiana.

If you happen to be watching your calorie and fat intake, however, the true breaded version of this Italian favorite smothered in cheese is something you shouldn't eat all the time.

In an effort to continue to enjoy some of our favorite dishes yet use a healthier version of some old standards, I came across Joy Bauer's recipe for Grilled Chicken Parmesan.

I loved the simplicity of her recipe but I did think her use of cheese a little on the excessive side. It all becomes a matter of learning to live with less of some stuff with the up side being that you get to enjoy more of the "bad" stuff when it's cooked in a healthier way. So shaving off some of the cheese in her recipe made this already healthier recipe even better.

This dish is traditionally served with pasta noodles. If you're going to do pasta, try some of the wheat or brown rice noodles instead. They are by far more nutritious and once you get accustomed to the taste, they're really quite good. It also seems that you eat less of the noodles when they aren't made of white or more processed flours.

Also try my suggestion for Northern style pasta dishes with a twist--instead of pasta.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: Serves 4 people - 6 oz. chicken breast
4.7 stars from 3 ratings of Healthier Chicken Parmesan


  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, (if desired pounded for even thickness)
  • 1/2 cup meatless marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded low fat part skim milk mozzarella cheese, (or other lower fat Italian cheese)
  • 1/4 cup basil chiffonade, (see video below)
  • cooked pasta noodles, (optional)

Healthier Version Chicken Parmesan

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 chicken breast-6 oz.
Calories 277
Calories from Fat63
% Daily Value *
Fat 7 g11%
Saturated fat 3 g15%
Carbohydrates 3 g1%
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 44 g88%
Cholesterol 115 mg38%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Prepare chicken. Wash, dry and pound to even thickness to assure adequate cook time for all portions. (see video below for easy way to even out a chicken breast)
  3. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray or olive oil spray.
  4. Spray large skillet with olive oil spray or cooking spray. Add chicken breasts and sear over medium heat on each side for 5-7 minutes. Chicken should no longer be pink in the middle.
  5. Transfer the chicken breasts to the foil-lined baking sheet. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of meatless marinara sauce.
  6. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese. (Here I change the recipe to only 2 tablespoons of cheese which is half of what the recipe calls for)
  7. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for about a minute or so to melt the cheese. (Make sure before you add chicken to the broiler that it has temped out as done in the middle--160-170 degrees but it will cook further under the broiler and if covered, will continue to cook after removing it from the oven)
  8. Remove from oven and garnish with basil chiffonade.
  9. Serve with a green salad and a small slice of Italian bread. Also great with pasta noodles such as whole wheat angel hair pasta. Serve with a fruity white wine such as a Chardonnay. For a Northern Italian flare, serve over mashed potatoes--or try my "fake" mashed potatoes instead (recipe follows).


  • Cut back on the cheese by half and you've reduced the fat and calories.
  • Flattening out the chicken breasts helps them cook evenly and also gives you an accurate temperature reading for the entire portion of meat.
  • If you don't have marinara sauce on hand, you can substitute a can of petite diced tomatoes in their juice. Spoon atop the chicken breasts with a fork to avoid getting the chicken breasts overly drenched in tomato juice.

How to Flatten a Chicken Breast

Doing a basil chiffonade adds a delicate (and delicious) garnish to any Italian dish but especially flavorful with Chicken Parmesan.

How to Make a Basil Chiffonade

Northern Italian Cuisine

Fake Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Northern Italians oftentimes eat their pasta dishes atop mashed potatoes instead of pasta noodles.

However, if you want a neat way to replace potatoes and still have the "flavor" of mashed potatoes, here's a simple substitute--cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Many people are skeptical but I think they taste like the real deal--and once you get used to them, you'll hardly ever miss the real kind.


  • Large head of cauliflower, washed, cut up and steamed until just crisp tender, not soggy
  • Few tablespoons of chicken broth or nonfat milk
  • Nonfat cream cheese 1-3 tablespoons (optional)
  • Butter or margarine (optional)
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Steam the cauliflower until just cooked but not soggy--drain.
  2. Add butter or nonfat cream cheese if using to hot "potatoes" and let melt in--begin mashing.
  3. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken broth or nonfat milk to the desired texture of your mashed potatoes--leave in chunks of cauliflower to resemble chunks of potato.
  5. You can also do this in a food processor but be careful not to over-pulse or the cauliflower potatoes will turn out to be more of a pureed style!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for stopping in Om and hope you do try it - I kind of thought no way at first but I love them now almost better than the real deal since I know I'm not going to be feeling guilty because I ate them~~

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      8 years ago

      Very nice. I like this "comfort food made healthy" recipe. The fake mashed potato idea is also very intriguing! I had never thought of using cauliflower as a potato substitute. Got to try it!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Sharilee - thanks so much for stopping in - and indeed, this is one of my favorites...that's what got me to learn the chiffonade my son was trying to teach me!~~~

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Audrey, this is a fantastic recipe! You introduced me to something new -- the basil chiffonade. That looks delicious and something I would like to try. I love the idea of mashed cauliflowers. I have seen them but never tried them as a substitute for mashed potatoes. You given me the reminder to try it. Thanks for this. Voted up and sharing!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      8 years ago from United States

      Terrific and interesting recipe! I'm on a long quest for healthier versions of favorites too. I will try this. I used to make green bean potatoes which tasted good but looked funny. The cauliflower should great! Voted up, beautiful and pinned!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Virginia - I'm with you - it's a mere 97 here today - so far....yuck - and you can grill it or pan do it with cooking spray~ Just be sure and temp the middle.

      Green potatoes eh? Kinda neat - maybe at Christmas or for St. Patrick's Day!!!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      8 years ago from United States

      Yummy! I am also on a quest to cut calories from recipes and you've done a great job here. One thing I've noticed is that different marinara sauces have very different calorie counts--so you can sometimes save calories there. I also am trying to use fat-free cheese or half fat free and half low fat. Since it is 105 here in Texas today, I'm also not using my oven, but I think you can probably pan fry for a similar effect. I used to make potatoes from green beans --which tasted great but looked weird! I'll try the cauliflower!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      BJ - No worries~~~ I just have to try and keep on the health nut track as much as possible.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Love this simple easy chicken parmesan recipe, Audrey, but I draw the line at the cauliflower. I'll just use pasta instead if you don't mind.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thank you, Kristy~

    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 

      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      This looks delicious, Audrey! Great hub :) Voted up

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks lambservant and I agree...or "drool here." I see so many I'd love to gobble up~

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      8 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I voted up and interesting. Too bad they don't have a button for "sounds delicious."

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Genna - we love it~

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I am always on the lookout for healthier recipes made with the foods hubby and I love. This sounds scrumptious, and I look forward to trying it. Thank you.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Hi Rhonda - thanks for stopping by - you can also grill this on the BBQ if that helps with the heat~ Definitely a quick and easy Italian gone slimmer...I love the cauliflower "potatoes" - no more guilt~

    • toknowinfo profile image


      8 years ago

      This sounds like a great recipe. I love cauliflower better than potatoes, so I always like the idea of adding chicken broth to it. The basil chiffonade sounds like a nice garnish and an easy way to plate the food. Thanks for the great recipes. When the weather gets a little cooler, I will use my oven again, and this recipe will be on the top of the list. Rated up.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Writer20 and Donnah75 - thanks for stopping in and the cauliflower really does just have to get past it "mentally"~~~

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      8 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Very good recipe, that I printed up.

      Voted up useful and interesting, Joyce.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Looks good. I never tried mashed cauliflower, but it sounds good. Voted up.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)