Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

When it comes to rich, creamy, decadent recipes, you can’t go past this super creamy Tuscan chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and Spinach recipe. Succulent golden chicken breast is gently simmered in a rich creamy sauce with a blend of cream and parmesan cheese. The sun-dried tomatoes add some tang and color along with the fresh spinach leaves, Mediterranean herbs, and spices.

The dish is flavored with classic Tuscan ingredients; onion, garlic, and rosemary, plus a hint of sweet paprika and sun-dried tomatoes for some extra flavor and color. It comes together in one skillet or pan and is ready in around 30 minutes.

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Table of contents:



How to make Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Ingredients 

  • 2 large Chicken breasts (400g/14 oz)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 125g/4.5oz.jar of sun-dried tomatoes, with oil (cut into small strips)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 100ml (3.5 fl oz.) white cooking wine
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Equipment Needed

  • 1 large skillet (12 inches/30cm)
  • Cooking tongs
  • Sharp kitchen knife and cutting board
thin slices of seasoned chicken breast sit on a chopping board.

Instructions

  • Cut the chicken breast into strips lengthways around an inch thick (2.5cm). 
  • Season with some salt and cracked black pepper. 
  • Heat a splash of oil in a skillet or pan on medium-high heat (we used the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes). 
  • Cook chicken for around 4 minutes per side or until golden. Transfer to a plate for use later. 
  • In the same pan used to cook the chicken, reduce heat to medium and add the onion. Saute onion for around 5 minutes until golden.
    Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary and stir through. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and then add the sweet paprika and mix through. 
  • Increase heat to high then add white cooking wine, cook for 3 minutes or until you see around half of the liquid evaporate.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and add around half of the cream and the parmesan cheese. Gently mix the ingredients in the skillet. 
  • Add the spinach and the remaining cream and stir into the sauce. 
  • Add chicken pieces around the pan and submerge into the sauce. Gently simmer for 5 minutes. 
  • Serve straight from the skillet or pan with some steamed white rice or mashed potato. 
  • Garnish with a dash of paprika on top and some fresh chopped parsley. 

Cooking Tips:

  • The sauce should thicken as it cooks, but if you prefer a thicker sauce, add more parmesan cheese.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

A large pan of creamy Tuscan chicken

Tuscan Chicken

Tuscan chicken, as a dish, is inspired by the culinary traditions of Tuscany, a region in central Italy known for its simple yet flavorful cuisine. The concept of Tuscan chicken often involves ingredients and flavors typical of Tuscan cooking, such as garlic, rosemary, olive oil, tomatoes, and sometimes creamy sauces with Parmesan cheese.

Tuscany is famous for its rustic and straightforward approach to food, focusing on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Dishes often highlight local produce, herbs, and meats, with an emphasis on creating hearty and comforting meals. This recipe is no exception and is a real crowd-pleaser! 

Traditional Tuscan Cooking

Traditional Tuscan cooking often involves braising or roasting meats, infusing them with the flavors of wine, herbs, and garlic. This technique helps tenderize the meat and develop deep flavors, which is characteristic of many Tuscan chicken recipes.


Ingredients and Substitutions

Chicken 

We used large chicken breasts that were cut into 1-inch strips. Cutting the meat into strips allows it to cook faster and more evenly in the pan. We cook it for around 5 minutes per side or just until it becomes golden. The breast meat will continue to cook once it is simmered in the sauce. 

Chicken breast meat is boneless and is typically served skinless making it a healthy choice for this recipe. If you prefer dark chicken meat, chicken thighs will also work well. Use boneless and skinless chicken thighs and cut them into 1-inch (2.5cm) strips so they cook evenly in the pan or skillet. 

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese, known in Italy as Parmigiano-Reggiano, has a rich history in Italian cuisine dating back many centuries. Parmigiano-Reggiano is named after the regions where it is produced: Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and parts of Bologna and Mantua in northern Italy. 

The traditional methods of making Parmigiano-Reggiano have remained largely unchanged over the centuries. It involves using raw cow’s milk, which is partially skimmed. The milk is then curdled using rennet, heated, and formed into large wheels. These wheels are aged for a minimum of 12 months, and often much longer, to develop the cheese’s characteristic flavor and texture.

The Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese must be produced in these areas to be legally recognized as Parmigiano-Reggiano (Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Union).

While most Western palettes will know parmesan as the cheese they serve on top of pasta, parmesan is also a traditional ingredient for thickening sauces. Fun fact: Authentic Parmigiano Reggiano is considered one of the most counterfeited cheeses in the world, so be sure to check the label before purchasing. 

A few large wheels of parmesan cheese.
Photo by Caroline Roose

Cream

We used heavy cream (called “double cream.” in the UK). Heavy cream has a high butterfat content, usually around 48% It is rich and thick, making it suitable for whipping, cooking, and adding creaminess to dishes. 

When adding the cream to the dish, remove it from the heat for a minute or two to reduce the temperature, then add the cream slowly. This will stop it from spitting and reduces the chance of burning the cream. 

Once the cream is added, keep the temperature to a simmer. 

Sun-Dried Tomatoes 

Available from most decent supermarkets, sun-dried tomatoes are usually preserved in oil (olive oil or sunflower oil) and herbs. They are sweet, and tangy, and can pack a flavorful punch if consumed on their own. 

Sun-dried tomatoes are part of typical Tuscan cookery and are most commonly used to brighten pasta or used in tomato sauces to add a layer of richness. They also work very well in creamy sauces and the tang is an excellent accompaniment. 

Check to make sure the sun-dried tomatoes are preserved in olive oil (rather than sunflower oil) and use the rich flavored olive oil for cooking the chicken pieces. 

sun-dried tomatoes on a baking tray.
sun-dried tomatoes on a baking tray.

Garlic and Onion

Two staple ingredients in Tuscan cookery are garlic and onion. We used 4 cloved of loosely chopped garlic (you could use minced garlic if you prefer), and one small onion, halved and then sliced fine. This helps layer flavors and build a rich sauce. 

Rosemary and Sweet Paprika

The classic herb used in many Tuscan recipes is rosemary. A combination of Italian herbs is rosemary, oregano, and Thyme. For this recipe, we opted to use just rosemary and add some extra flavor (and color) with adding sweet paprika. 

While sweet paprika is not typically found in Tuscan or Italian cuisine, it works particularly well with this creamy Tuscan chicken recipe. 

Not a fan of rosemary? Substitute it with thyme, or oregano in equal measure. 

Spinach

Spinach is not typically a traditional ingredient in classic Tuscan chicken recipes. Traditional Tuscan cuisine focuses on simple, rustic ingredients like garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, herbs, and sometimes beans. However, modern adaptations of Tuscan chicken often include spinach, particularly in recipes that aim to create a creamy, rich dish.

We love spinach in this dish, it is healthy and adds a splash of color to the dish. We use a packed cup worth of fresh spinach which wilts down quickly when placed on top of the sauce. Alternatively, frozen spinach can be used. Just be sure to thaw it and squeeze out the excess liquid before adding it to the dish.

A pan of sun dried tomatoes, garlic, onion simmer with herbs and spices.

Tuscan Chicken Nutrition Facts

Deliciously rich and very creamy, this recipe has all the things we tend to love, however, all that cream comes at a cost and it is worth mentioning that this recipe (while using fresh ingredients) has a higher-than-usual content of fats and saturated fats. 

Based on a 250-gram (9 oz.) serving, this recipe contains half (50%) of your daily recommended intake (DVI) or saturated fats, and almost half (42%) DVI of cholesterol. It is also high in sodium (salt) so treat this meal as a special treat that should not be consumed every day. 

Take a look at the Nutrition facts sheet for more detailed information:

Nutrition Fact Sheet

Serving size: 250g
Servings: 4
Amount per serving 
Calories390
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18.6g24%
Saturated Fat 9.9g50%
Cholesterol 127mg42%
Sodium 812mg35%
Total Carbohydrate 16.4g6%
Dietary Fiber 3.3g12%
Total Sugars 8.7g 
Protein 36g 
Vitamin D 16mcg78%
Calcium 177mg14%
Iron 4mg20%
Potassium 1076mg23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
A large pan of creamy Tuscan chicken

More Mediterranean Chicken Recipes:


A large pan of creamy tuscan chicken

Creamy Tuscan Chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and Spinach

Byron
Creamy Tuscan chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach is a rich and full-flavored meal that’s ready in 30 minutes and serves 4 as a delicious main meal!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 4 Main
Calories 390 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large skillet (12 inches/30cm)
  • Cooking tongs
  • Sharp kitchen knife and cutting board

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large Chicken breasts 400g/14 oz
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 125 g/4.5oz.jar of sun-dried tomatoes with oil (cut into small strips)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 100 ml 3.5 fl oz. white cooking wine
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Step 1 – Prepare and cook chicken

  • Cut the chicken breast into strips lengthways around an inch thick (2.5cm).
    2 large Chicken breasts
  • Season with some salt and cracked black pepper.
    Salt and pepper
  • Heat a splash of oil in a skillet or pan on medium-high heat (we used the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes).
  • Cook chicken for around 4 minutes per side or until golden. Transfer to a plate for use later.

Step 2 – Prepare the veggies

  • In the same pan used to cook the chicken, reduce heat to medium and add the onion. Saute onion for around 5 minutes until golden.
    1 small onion
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
    4 cloves garlic
  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary and stir through. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and then add the sweet paprika and mix through.
    125 g/4.5oz.jar of sun-dried tomatoes, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon rosemary

Step 3 – Add sauce

  • Increase heat to high then add white cooking wine, cook for 3 minutes or until you see around half of the liquid evaporate.
    100 ml 3.5 fl oz. white cooking wine
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and add around half of the cream and the parmesan cheese. Gently mix the ingredients in the skillet.
    1 cup heavy cream, 3 heaped tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • Add the spinach and the remaining cream and stir into the sauce.
    1 cup baby spinach
  • Add chicken pieces around the pan and submerge into the sauce. Gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 4 – Serve

  • Serve straight from the skillet or pan with some steamed white rice or mashed potato.
  • Garnish with a dash of paprika on top and some fresh chopped parsley.
    Freshly chopped parsley

Video

Notes

Cooking Notes

  • The sauce should thicken as it cooks, but if you prefer a thicker sauce, add more parmesan cheese.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Keyword 30-minute recipe, Chicken, Creamy chicken, Creamy Tuscan chicken, Italian chicken, parmesan, parmesan cheese, Tuscan Chicken, Tuscany

2 responses to “Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach”

  1. ben avatar
    ben

    5 stars
    Yum!!!!! This turned out great! Will make it again for sure!

    1. Byron avatar

      So great to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Happy Cooking!

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2 thoughts on “Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach”

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