If you are looking for healthy chicken and broccoli recipes, I’ve got a great one for you today! This Healthy Baked Chicken and Broccoli uses one pan in the oven, takes only 20 minutes to bake, and could not be simpler!
First, let’s get your burning questions out of the way:
Can you bake broccoli with chicken?
I know this might seem like a silly question, but I think what people are really asking here is if the chicken and broccoli will bake at the same rate. If you were baking a whole chicken breast alongside some broccoli, then the answer is “no.” But if you cut up your chicken into bite-sized pieces, then the answer is “almost.”
The chicken pieces need about 20 minutes to be fully-cooked, while the broccoli only needs about ten minutes. So we bake the chicken by itself for a few minutes, and then we take it out of the oven and add the broccoli.
Can you prep baked chicken and broccoli ahead of time?
Yes! All you have to do is cut up your chicken and broccoli and then store them in separate containers or plastic bags in the refrigerator. Then when it’s time to bake, everything is all cut up and ready to go!
This recipe also has a tasty sauce that you can prepare ahead of time, and then just heat when it’s time to bake and serve.
Can you use frozen broccoli and chicken?
You can, but hopefully you have cut up your chicken beforehand and frozen the bite-sized pieces! Otherwise, it may be very difficult to cut a frozen chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. If you’re starting to bake your chicken and broccoli from frozen, understand that you will need to double the baking time for each.
Also be aware that your broccoli may not have the desired “tender-crisp” texture. This is because when fruits and vegetables are frozen, the water in them expands and breaks their cell walls. When those fruits and vegetables thaw, those cell walls aren’t there any more to help them hold their shape, so that’s why they are often mushy when thawed or baked. (This is why frozen strawberries are always mushy and yucky when thawed!)
Animal cells are just surrounded with membranes, not walls. So when frozen, those membranes stretch, but don’t break like cell walls. That’s why frozen meats can still retain their shape and texture when thawed.
O.K. Now that we have all the sciency stuff out of the way, let’s make dinner! I’m including a yummy sauce with this recipe that makes it a little less healthy, but if you want, you can skip the sauce and just drizzle olive oil over everything and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
Ingredients for Healthy Baked Chicken and Broccoli
The ingredients for this dish are pretty simple.
- additional vegetables as desired (I used snap peas from our garden)
The (optional) honey ginger sauce is what makes this dish really delicious! You make it on the stove beforehand with these ingredients. There will be instructions on the recipe card further down.
- soy sauce
- hoisin sauce
- apple cider vinegar
- sesame oil
Hoisin sauce is a special Asian sauce that you can find in most grocery stores. It’s mostly a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and garlic. If you don’t have it or can’t find it at the store, it’s o.k. to leave it out of the sauce.
How to Make Healthy Baked Chicken and Broccoli
First, you’ll want to prep a large cookie sheet by covering it with foil or parchment paper. Then lightly spray it with cooking spray.
You’re going to cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces and spread them out on this tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Then you’re going to pop these into the oven for just eight minutes. Meanwhile, you’re going to chop a head of broccoli and prepare any other vegetables you’d like to add. Great possibilities are onions, bell peppers, asparagus, and snow peas. I also really like to add cashews.
After the eight minutes are up, take the chicken out and add your veggies and cashews if desired.
Then drizzle your prepared sauce over the top. You may not use all of it. That’s o.k. I like to save some to add at the end or to pour over the top when I’m serving this with rice. Again, if you want to keep this super healthy, now is the time to just drizzle some olive oil over the top, give everything a good stir, and add more salt and pepper if desired.
Then you just bake this for another 8-10 minutes, and you have dinner perfection!
When this is done baking, I transfer it to a bowl, add more sauce if necessary, and spoon it over the top of Japanese sticky rice. This would also go great with Jasmine rice or brown rice.
The chopsticks are optional
Add this to your dinner menu this week. You’ll be so glad you did!
Want some more easy sheet pan dinners? Try these!
This recipe first appeared on Yellow Bliss Road, where I am a contributor.
For the Sauce
- 6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
For the Chicken and Vegetables
- 2 large chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 head broccoli florets
- 1 cup additional vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces (bell peppers, onions, sugar snap peas, etc., optional)
- 1/2 cup roasted salted cashews
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Sauce
In a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat, add the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, apple cider vinegar, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Stir and heat until almost boiling.
Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch with the 1/2 cup of water and set aside. When the rest of the sauce mixture is hot, pour in the cornstarch/water mixture, stirring constantly as you pour it in.
Continue stirring sauce over medium heat until it thickens slightly. Remove it from the heat and set aside while you prep the chicken and vegetables.
For the Chicken and Vegetables
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray.
Add the chicken pieces to the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Put in the oven for eight minutes. Then remove from the oven and add your vegetables and cashews.
Drizzle with the reserved sauce. You may not use all of the sauce.
Return to the oven for 8-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
Serve over rice or noodles and additional sauce if desired.
To make this more healthy, omit the sauce and just drizzle the chicken and vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper before baking.