Easy healthy chicken Florentine with brown rice is a light and flavorful one-pot recipe ready in 30 minutes - perfect for a busy weeknight dinner! (And no heavy cream needed!)
(Updated with a new VIDEO - check it out!)
Happy Thursday friends! What do you have going on this weekend?
I’m excited for a fun date night tonight with my husband. His parents got us tickets for Christmas to our Charlotte Symphony’s performance called Star Wars The Music. We both love the movies and the music and I bet it will be incredible to see it performed live!
Not to mention these days, I’ll take pretty much any chance to get dressed up a bit and go out on the town 😂 #momlife
As for the food today, I’ve got a great, easy chicken Florentine that's a one-pot dinner with tender, seared chicken breasts, wilted spinach and a simple but scrumptious sauce, all served with steamed rice and plenty of Parmesan cheese.
It also has a somewhat new-to-me shortcut.
Just last year I discovered the Minute version of brown rice. I had never looked for it before or even stopped to inspect the box on the shelf at the store.
I buy my brown rice in big bags and keep it in a container in my pantry. We’re a whole grain family and that’s just how I’ve always done it.
But with little kids who sometimes eat dinner before us, it was a bit of a pain to have to take 35 minutes to cook brown rice just for them.
So on one of those rare and magical days where I got to go to the grocery store all by myself (oh the sad things that make us happy as mothers!), I happened to stroll past and something made me slow down to look at those boxes of Minute rice.
I zeroed in on the brown rice version, which it said takes just 10 minutes.
As is my habit, I flipped the box over to look at the ingredients. I was sure that it would have some additives or stabilizers or other ingredients that would make me pause and wonder if I really want to eat that strange looking word I can’t pronounce.
But no! It’s just 1 ingredient: precooked parboiled whole grain brown rice.
Oh the world of possibilities that opened up to me!
In that next week, I literally wrote out half a dozen recipes that I can make now using the quick-cooking brown rice.
So today's easy chicken Florentine is the first of what might be several one-pot dinners to use this shortcut. (And no, this is not a sponsored post; I was just excited to make this discovery!)
In fact, I will note: the texture is different.
The quick-cooking brown rice is smaller and almost a bit chewier than the fluffy brown rice I’m used to. It’s good, and we all like it, but don’t expect it to taste the exact same.
This healthy chicken Florentine is a delicious combination of chicken breasts, spinach and Parmesan cheese - such a fabulous combination!
It’s cooked all together with the rice, making this a hearty, but completely wholesome dinner that’s also gluten-free.
(You might also want to check out this quick chicken cacciatore for another healthy family dinner that's ready in about 30 minutes. It's great served over rice or spaghetti.)
Now, I’ve got some notes and substitutions coming up for this recipe. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
First things first.
What is chicken Florentine?
Chicken Florentine is a dish in which chicken is seared and browned and served with wilted spinach. It often includes a white wine or heavy cream sauce to go with it.
Can you make chicken Florentine without white wine or heavy cream?
Yes! This recipe doesn't use either of those. Instead, it uses chicken broth and Parmesan cheese that mix with the sautéed onion, wilted spinach and seared chicken. The rice cooks in the same pan too and everything gets wonderfully creamy while still being really light and easy.
(You can skip the rice part though; keep reading.)
You could also add a few tablespoons of cream cheese to get the creamy factor without any actual cream. 👌
Notes on making this easy chicken Florentine recipe:
- I like using the combination of oil and butter for flavor and to be able to cook this over higher heat. You can use all oil if you prefer.
- I like A LOT of spinach in my dinner and sometimes use even more than what’s listed below in the recipe card. It takes some extra work to get it all in the pan and wilted, but I’ll go to great lengths for more veggies. 😉
- I prefer to cut my chicken into long strips for this recipe. It cooks more quickly and more evenly than leaving the breasts whole. If you'd rather not do that, just make sure you pound out your chicken breasts to an even thickness.
- Are you "meh" on onions? You could substitute 2 chopped shallots for the onion in this recipe for a milder flavor. Or you could leave them out, I suppose, but they really add great flavor to this dish.
What to serve with chicken Florentine:
- This recipe calls for serving it with steamed rice. You can choose either the quick-cook kind that you can make in the same skillet (as I did) or you can use a steamed brown or white rice that you cook separately.
- You can also serve chicken Florentine with a long thin pasta, such as an angel hair or thin spaghetti pasta.
- This dish would be great over quinoa, couscous or polenta as well.
- You could use zoodles or cauliflower rice for a low-carb version if desired.
Trouble shooting tips:
- If your liquid isn’t mostly absorbed after the pan has sat for 5 minutes at the end of the recipe, just return the pan to the burner and cook over medium-low, covered, for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- OR, if the liquid is absorbed but the rice isn’t fully cooked, add another splash or two of chicken broth or water, return the pan to medium-low and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Finally, if you don’t want to use the Minute brown rice, or don't have any, you can easily cook your own rice separately in a pot.
In the recipe below, skip adding the rice, broth and water to the pan and just cook the chicken through and wilt the spinach. Serve it over your favorite type of cooked rice with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over everything.
Here’s to healthy, quick + easy dinners - my favorite type. 😊
(Sign up for my free weekly e-newsletter if you want more recipes like this! I'll even send you my FREE e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!)
Have a wonderful weekend friends!
P.S. Check out my entire category of 30-minute chicken recipes if you want to browse for more ideas. I'm all about the easy family dinners! 🙌
- 1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch thick strips
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or sub more olive oil)
- 1 small onion, chopped (see notes)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups Minute brown rice (see notes)
- 2 (5 oz.) packages fresh spinach leaves or baby spinach
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and onion and sauté for 7-8 minutes, turning chicken pieces once.
- Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Add broth and bring to a boil. (I turn the heat up to high to help it go faster.) Stir in rice, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove lid, stir in spinach, then cover and remove the pan from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes or until liquid is mostly absorbed. (See notes for troubleshooting tips.) Stir in spinach to help it wilt.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.
If your liquid isn’t mostly absorbed after the pan has sat for 5 minutes, just return the pan to the burner and cook over medium-low, covered, for an additional 2-3 minutes.
If the liquid is absorbed but the rice isn’t fully cooked, add another splash or two of chicken broth or water, return the pan to medium-low and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until rice is tender.
If you don’t want to use the Minute brown rice, you could cook your own rice separately. In the recipe, skip adding the rice, broth and water to the pan and just cook the chicken through and wilt the spinach. Then serve it over your favorite type of rice with Parmesan sprinkled over everything.
You can also make this without the recipe and serve it over pasta, such as an angel hair or thin spaghetti.
You can sub 2 shallots for the onion if you want a more subtle onion flavor.
You can stir in 2-3 tablespoons of cream cheese if you want a creamier chicken Florentine.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 687Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 201mgSodium: 900mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 74g