Garlic Basil Chicken in Tomato Sauce! A delicious, quick and easy meal for a satisfying filling lunch or dinner. Pair it with simple pasta or couscous for a healthy wholesome complete meal.
If you are looking for a quick and easy recipe using chicken then give this dish a try. Simple with an Italian touch—this is something you can make in less than 30 mins. This recipe is a variation of our popular shrimp in tomato sauce (or salmon) that you can find on Watch What U Eat.
What you will need!
- Chicken thighs – get boneless and skinless chicken thighs for this recipe
- Fresh tomatoes – diced in small pieces
- Onion – diced in small pieces
- Garlic cloves – minced or finely chopped
- Spices – like dried oregano, paprika, black pepper
- Some pine nuts
- Fresh basil leaves
- Grated parmesan cheese
- And cooking oil – I prefer using olive oil
How to make Garlic Basil Chicken In Tomato Sauce?
This recipe involves two steps: 1. pan-frying chicken and 2. cooking garlic basil tomato sauce in leftover oil in the same pan
Simply heat some oil on medium heat in a large skillet or frying pan and add chicken pieces in a single layer. Sprinkle some salt to taste and cook for a few mins. Then flip the chicken pieces and continue cooking until well done. You will get a nice brown crust on the chicken. Take out the chicken pieces and keep them aside.
Making Tomato basil sauce
In the same pan, using the leftover oil add finely chopped garlic and diced onion to it. Cook for a few mins or until the raw taste goes away. Then add chopped fresh tomatoes and cook them until they soften and give a sauce-like consistency. You can also add chicken stock or water to get the consistency as you would normally prefer. Now add dried oregano, paprika, and some pine nuts. Mix well.
Okay, let me reveal the secret ingredient here. The pine nuts is the secret ingredient that I mentioned in the title of the recipe. They give a nice nutty flavor and also add a nice crunch to the dish!
Finishing the dish
Add back the cooked chicken pieces to the freshly prepared garlic tomato sauce. Finally, garnish with some grated parmesan cheese and a generous amount of chopped fresh basil leaves. Serve warm.
- Use organic and pasture-raised chicken whenever possible. If it is locally grown go for it to support the local businesses.
- To get a nice brown crust on the chicken thighs do not flip the chicken frequently. Let it cook on one side for the duration of cooking time mentioned below and then flip once to cook on the other side for the said duration.
- I prefer using fresh tomatoes in this recipe instead of canned ones. I feel fresh tomatoes give fresh flavors and added deliciousness to the dish. However, using fresh tomatoes may take a little longer to complete the dish. The reason is fresh tomatoes might take some more time to cook in order to remove the raw taste as opposed to processed ones.
- To give a smoother consistency to the sauce use the back of a wooden spatula or a masher to mash the tomatoes in the pan (once they are soft) while cooking.
- You can skip the pine nuts if you don’t have any. This basil tomato chicken tastes equally delicious even without using the pine nuts—I’ve tried it both ways.
- You can cut the chicken into bite-size pieces instead of using the whole thigh. And, you can cut the chicken before or after cooking them in the frying pan. However, cooking times may vary for the smaller pieces than what is mentioned for this recipe.
- You can just make garlic basil tomato sauce without the chicken. This sauce is perfect to go even with plain pasta.
- Use fresh shrimp or salmon in place of chicken to make a seafood version of this dish.
- Use chicken breasts in place chicken thighs. However, cooking times may slightly vary for the chicken breasts.
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Garlic Basil Chicken In Tomato Sauce
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 6 medium chicken thighs skinless and boneless
- 3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 5-6 medium red tomatoes finely diced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon oregano dry
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup chicken stock or water
- Heat oil in a skillet or frying pan. Place chicken thighs in a single layer, sprinkle some salt and cook for 5-6 min. Then flip the chicken and cook on the other side for another 5-6 mins. Once done take them out and keep aside.
- In the same pan, using the leftover oil add chopped garlic and onion to it and sauté for 2-3 min or until translucent.
- Then add chopped tomatoes and cook for 5-6 min or until they soften and give a sauce-like consistency. If necessary, add some chicken stock or water.
- Now add dried oregano, paprika, and pine nuts. Mix well.
- Add back the cooked chicken thighs and mix well to coat the chicken with sauce.
- Finally, sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese, garnish with fresh basil and serve warm.
- Add more or less water to get the consistency of the sauce as per your likings.
- To get the nice crust on the chicken cook them for the mentioned time without flipping them too frequently (I flipped only once). Chicken thighs with skin give a nice uniform crust as opposed to what you get with the skinless version. In this recipe, I used skinless chicken thighs. So, you may not get the brownish crust as uniform as you may expect.
- Before adding back the cooked chicken, taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- If you want a creamy sauce then you can blend the cooked tomato mixture using a blender before adding the chicken. I just don’t do it to avoid extra steps and extra cleanup. Or, you can use a masher or the back of a wooden spatula to smash the tomatoes while cooking in the pan to get a smoother consistency.