Easy, Healthier Chicken “Cacciatore” with Black Beluga Lentils

Why is Chicken Cacciatore so delicious? Perhaps it’s the rich, dark meat. Or the fact that it’s cooked with liquid ingredients, yielding the most moist, juicy, delicious chicken. Well, I’ve captured the “essential” elements of Chicken Cacciatore, but in this much simplified, healthified dish.

This recipe is made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, meaning they a) cook faster and b) are lower in fat and calories due to the lack of fatty skin. It’s also extremely easy to make — with only five minutes hands-on time.

Chicken_Cacciatore

I served the chicken, with all of the delicious, garlick-y, tomato-y juices, over black beluga lentils. If you’ve never had black lentils, they look like caviar and pack a major nutritional punch. For 1/2 cup cooked lentils, you get about 12 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Plus, they cook in about 25 minutes. Much faster than most beans — and no pre-soaking! Just bring one part lentils and three parts water to a boil and then simmer until they are soft but not mushy (about 25 minutes total).

*Be sure to make extra black lentils and save the extra tomato sauce for my upcoming recipe for black lentil “muffins!”

Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore

No need to brown the chicken before baking it as traditional recipes call for — you still get tons of flavor here. Try adding your favorite vegetables or mushrooms to the casserole dish before baking for added nutrition.

Chicken_Cacciatore_Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (preferably organic)
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients, except for chicken, to a casserole dishTomato_Sauce
  3. Add chicken thighs to tomato mixture and turn chicken thighs to coatChicken_Before
  4. Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken reads 165 degrees

Serving suggestion: serve 4-6 ounces of chicken over 1/2 cup cooked black lentils. Save the leftover lentils and tomato sauce mixture for my next recipe — black lentil “muffins.”

Chicken_After