A must-make Mediterranean meal that’s budget friendly too!
Here’s a simple recipe that will be a family favorite particularly perfect for a weeknight dinner. Ready in less than 30 minutes, you’ll be savoring the taste of the Mediterranean in no time. Even better, everything cooks in one skillet, so fewer dishes to clean means more time for you and less time scrubbing pots and pans.
In this delicious recipe, you’ll find plenty of heart-healthy support. Lean chicken breast, olives brimming with healthy monounsaturated fat, and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices make this a hands-down winner toward helping dodge heart disease.
One of the main features of this recipe is Spanish olives, giving the recipe a typical salty or briny taste any connoisseur of olives knows and loves. But what if you are not a fan of olives? What can you substitute to get that same flavorful kick? I would recommend either capers or artichoke hearts. And if you do like olives, but not Spanish olives, choose another type olive such as kalamata olives. No matter what type of olive you choose, for anyone needing to be mindful of their salt intake, choose an olive with a reduced sodium content.
When it comes to heart health, olives are an excellent choice. Packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, this type of fat has been linked with lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol while maintaining HDL or “good” cholesterol. Other heart health features of olives include:
- Increasing nitric oxide production, which improves blood flow to tissues.
- Olives contain polyphenols helping reduce chronic inflammation.
- These same polyphenols found in olives may also improve your bone density helping lower the risk of fractures in older adults.
- They contain vitamin E, an antioxidant linked to better cognition and a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
- If you use extra virgin olive oil when cooking olives, it boosts satiety, keeping you fuller longer.
- Eating olives or using olive oil helps absorb beneficial antioxidants from fruits and veggies when eaten with these helpful dietary fats.
This recipe comes from my latest book, The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook, which includes 125 recipes based on the Mediterranean diet. So, if you are ready to dive into an authentic-tasting Mediterranean meal, let’s get started!
Skillet Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 cups Spanish olives, pitted and halved
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
- Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until browned, about 7 minutes.
- Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the olive, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes more.
- Serve garnished with the basil.
Side note: Add a helping of heart-healthy greens by stirring in 3 cups of baby spinach when you add the olives and tomatoes. To reduce the sodium content, use only 1 cup of olives instead of two cups.
Nutrition (1 1/2 cups serving size): Calories, 294; total fat, 17 grams; saturated fat, 3 grams; cholesterol, 65 milligrams; carbohydrates, 7 grams; fiber, 2 grams; protein, 24 grams; sodium, 938 milligrams.
Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from the University of Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and institutional management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for local clinics, an adjunct professor at an area community college where she teaches basic nutrition, and a freelance health and nutrition writer. She is the author of The Nourished Brain: The Latest Science On Food’s Power For Protecting The Brain From Alzheimers and Dementia, The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook and The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook. Visit her website at www.eatwelltobewellrd.com.