by: Victoria Frosini, MS, CPT

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She earned her Master’s of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013, where she conducted extensive research in weight loss, social support and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Marinated Chicken Parmesan with Crispy Cheese and Basil

Marinated Chicken Parmesan

This classic chicken recipe is packed with flavor! We used a garlic-lemon infused marinade prior to baking the chicken in the oven. Our homemade tomato sauce is light and refreshing. The two-punch combo of bubbly mozzarella and parmesan cheese develop a crisp and comforting note for a fraction of the calories.

Do I have to make my own sauce?

In short, the answer is NO! If you are using a jarred sauce simply look for reduced sodium and sugar.

The nutritional difference

Traditional chicken parmesan is breaded in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and shallow fried in oil. A typical restaurant version of this classic can total over 1,200 calories per portion.

Our recipe replaces heavy breading and frying for a flavorful marinade. We’ve swapped out carbohydrate rich white pasta for nutrient dense spaghetti squash. Finish this main course with a side salad and you’ve got a perfectly satisfying and healthy weeknight meal.



Smart Tip:

While you’re marinating the chicken get a head start on the spaghetti squash. Cut the squash in half length side. Remove the seeds, and place on a sheet pan. Spray flesh side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the flesh side down and roast for 30 – 40 minutes , depending on the size. When squash is soft allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Scrape the flesh into a bowl, season with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Marinated Chicken Parmesan with Crispy Cheese and Basil



  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 package mozzarella cheese or fresh mozzarella
  • parmesan cheese to taste
  • tomato sauce (recipe to follow)
  • 1 large peeled organic carrot
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can of large San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 sprig of fresh time
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley or basil for garnish


  • For the chicken: place 4 skinned, deboned chicken breasts in a shallow bowl.
  • Prepare a lined baking sheet for the oven.
  • Marinate the chicken with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tsp lemon zest, the juice of one lemon.
  • Add red pepper flakes. (optional)
  • Marinate the chicken for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Heat a non- stick pan with olive oil and saute the chicken breasts for 5-6 minutes on each side. Season each side with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to HIGH BROIL.
  • Place the browned chicken breasts on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of sauce to the chicken.
  • Top the chicken with 1-2 tablespoons cheese.
  • Place the sheet pan in the oven and broil for 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned.
  • Garnish the chicken with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
  • For the sauce: In a heavy dutch oven heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Add the large peeled shredded carrot and onion to the oil.
  • Saute until the vegetables soften, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Add one large can of whole tomatoes.
  • Add 2 minced garlic cloves to the tomatoes.
  • Add 1 sprig of fresh thyme to the sauce and simmer.
  • Simmer 20-30 minutes and add salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes.
  • Use an immersion blender to smooth the sauce to glossy consistency.

This Recipe Is:

  Gluten Free

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