healthy chicken paprika skillet
Friends, you are going to need to sit down and prepare yourself for what you’re about to set your eyeballs on: Healthy Chicken Paprika Skillet with sautéed onions and peppers, tons of tasty paprika, a little bit of mmm mmm good sour cream and all sauced up over top of healthy low carb zucchini noodles. It is ready in 20 minutes, made in one pan and is only 277 calories! Man, I’m making myself hungry just thinking about it and I just had breakfast! It is so yummy (yet secretly healthy) you may fall right on over backwards. Or fall in love at least.
So, you remember way back when I shared the Healthy Chicken Piccata eleven billion years ago? Welp, since then, I’ve been meaning to go through all of the classic chicken recipes and give them a healthy makeover. But I kinda got side tracked by salads and salad dressings and then there were a thousand vegetable side dishes. Forgive me. But I am soooo making up for it today, my chicken loving people.
Today, I’ve got Chicken Paprika with sour cream. Which is normally just chicken, onions, paprika and loads of sour cream. This is the healthy skinny version of that with a veggie heavy attitude.
Tips on Making This Chicken Paprika Skillet
Use Chicken Tenders
Yep, I called for chicken tenders instead of chicken breast. Why? So you don’t have to yuck up your cutting board with raw chicken. I was thinking that this is a fast weeknight meal, any short-cuts I could make would be appreciated. FYI, I also tested it with chicken breast cut into big strips to mock-up tenders, and that worked totally fine if that’s what you have on hand.
Use a Ceramic Non-Stick Skillet
Because I wanted this to be a one-pan meal, I ended up switching the cooking vessel to a non-stick skillet. I found that a regular stainless skillet created too much fond in the pan, and by the time I was ready to sauté the onions and peppers the pan was too dark. The non-stick really worked great. If you are looking to buy one, I recommend a ceramic one.
Bulk Up Serving Size with Extra Veggies
Because I love to bulk up serving size with veggies (aka make it Veggie Heavy) I used a large sweet onion and added in a bell pepper too. On that note, I also made zucchini noodles with my spiralizer and served the saucy chicken and vegetables over them instead of traditional rice or pasta, saving a metric buttload of calories. But the serving is a generous 3 cups! Nom!
Note: If you don’t have a spiralizer, apparently you can buy already spiralized zucchini at Whole Foods. And of course you can use a mandoline. This would also be super yummy served over this low carb Sour Cream and Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower by All Day I Dream About Food!
Flavor with a Blend of Paprika
Okay, what else? The paprika! Yes! Of course! Okay, here’s the deal, I have an entire spice rack filled with spices, plus half of a second cabinet devoted to spices, so it may not surprise you that I have four different kinds of paprika on hand. I realize not everyone is that kooky about preparing for the end of days by stocking up on every spice known to human, so I want to give you full permission to ignore me and to blend up what you do have.
I tested it with regular (aka sweet) paprika only, and the results were really mild. My kids liked it best that way. Jase and I on the other hand liked the combo of 1 tablespoon sweet, plus ½ teaspoon each of smoked paprika and hot paprika. We agreed that it was a really lovely level of heat and smoke. If you have hot smoked paprika, all the better- try 1 teaspoon of that and 3 teaspoons sweet.
Just a note of caution: I would not recommend using 4 teaspoons of just smoked or just hot, it will be too overpowering. Use mostly sweet and flavor it with a smaller amount of the feisty stuff.
Use Less Sour Cream to Save Calories
Then there is the issue of creamy dreamy sour cream. What would Chicken Paprika be without sour cream?! I ended up only needing 3 tablespoons to make the sauce rich and creamy, yet still each generous 3 cup serving only has 277 calories! The key to getting away with so little sour cream was that I thickened the sauce with a little all purpose flour first.
Food Science Dork Note: When a sauce is stabilized with starch, you can add dairy to it without the dairy “breaking.” Yes you can try this with a non-gluten-containing starch like cornstarch. If you do, let me know what worked/what didn’t. Leave a comment below. I am sure there are other gluten-free folks out there wondering.
What classic chicken recipe should I make over next?
Do you have a lot of spices in your kitchen?
Have you seen spiralized zucchini at Whole Foods?
More Healthy Chicken Recipes:
This healthy chicken paprika skillet is so yummy (yet secretly healthy) you may fall right on over backwards. Or fall in love at least!
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or organic canola oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, any color, sliced
- 4 teaspoons sweet paprika or a blend of hot, smoked and sweet, see tip*
- 1 ¾ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 2 medium zucchini, spiralized with a 3 mm blade
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken tenders in a single layer. Cook, until browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking until no-longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove the chicken to a plate.
- Return the skillet to the heat, and decrease to medium heat. Melt butter in the hot skillet, swirl and add onion and pepper. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are soft, and just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add paprikas, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring until coated and fragrant.
- Sprinkle on flour and stir to coat. Whisk in broth. Bring to a boil, while whisking. Simmer until thickened.
- Add the chicken and any juices from the plate and turn to coat in the sauce. Simmer, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked all the way through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream.
- Meanwhile sprinkle the remaining ¾ salt over the zucchini in a colander in the sink. Let sit 10 minutes. Rinse and drain thoroughly. Divide among four plates.
- Serve the chicken over the zucchini. Top with parsley.
Tip: You can really change the flavor of this dish depending on what paprika you use. For mild flavor, use 4 teaspoons of sweet paprika. To add more flavor, try using 1 tablespoon sweet paprika plus ½ teaspoon each hot and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika.
- Serving Size: About 3 cups
- Calories: 277
- Sodium: 519 mg
- Fat: 12 g.
- Saturated Fat: 5 g.
- Carbohydrates: 21 g.
- Fiber: 5 g.
- Protein: 27 g.