Health Connection

Homemade Chicken Parmigiana

Marian Vigo, Dietitian
Homemade Chicken Parmigiana

When you cook at home, you know what’s in your food. You can make nutritional room for the saturated fat in the cheese by using an egg white instead of a whole egg to dip the cutlets. Using sodium free tomatoes offsets some of the salt in the cheese. After all, it’s about making healthy swaps where you can.

The cheese

  • 1 cup shredded low-moisture, skim-milk mozzarella

The sauce

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed no-salt-added tomatoes
  • 1 28-oz. can diced low-salt tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf

Couple cooking in the kitchen together

Heat olive oil in a heavy pot. Add onion and saute until transparent. Add garlic and stir. Add tomatoes and herbs. Bring sauce to bubbling and turn down heat to simmer. Let cook, stirring occasionally until it begins to thicken while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

If you’re making the sauce in advance, cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, then refrigerate. You’ll need 2 cups for your chicken; the rest can be frozen.

Makes 5 cups

Each cup contains about 124 calories, 3 grams fat (less than .5 grams saturated fat, no trans fat, no cholesterol), 272 mg sodium, 22 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams dietary fiber, 14 grams sugar, and 4.5 grams protein.

The chicken

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 3/4 cup panko (light japanese-style breadcrumbs)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. chicken breast cutlets – 4 pieces*

*If you buy the chicken as 2 skinless breasts, cut each breast in half lengthwise. Put chicken between 2 sheets of waxed paper and pound to make it evenly thick, about one-half to three-quarters of an inch.

Put egg white and water in a shallow bowl. Beat lightly. Dip cutlets in egg wash.

Spread some panko on waxed paper. Cover the cutlets with panko, pressing the crumbs into the chicken.

Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in large frying pan and heat to medium high. Add chicken and cook about 3 minutes, until golden. Add the second tablespoon of olive oil when turning the chicken. Cook 2 minutes more.

The complete dish

To assemble the chicken parmigiana, spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a shallow baking dish that will hold the chicken in 1 layer. Spread another cup of sauce over the chicken. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350° F.

Remove dish from oven and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Return dish to oven for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. The cheese doesn’t need to cook, just melt. Serve with whole wheat thin spaghetti and a salad.

Makes 4 servings

Each serving of chicken, cheese, and sauce contains about 361 calories, 10 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat, no trans fat, 81 mg cholesterol), 485 mg sodium, 26 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams dietary fiber, 8 grams sugar, and 32 grams protein.

Bon appétit!  

About Marian Vigo, MSPH, RN, LDN, CSOWM

Profile picture of Marian VigoMarian earned a Bachelor in Biochemistry from LSU and received her MSPH in Nutritional Sciences from UCLA. She has been a Registered Dietitian since 1992, she recently became certified as a specialist in the field on Obesity and Weight Management (CSOWM). Her areas of expertise include eating disorders, weight management of adult and pediatric patients as well as patients who are undergoing bariatric surgery. She works hard to empower her patients to be self-sufficient, motivated individuals who chose to make healthy lifestyle habits.