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5 Tasty, Easy Chicken Parmesan Recipes for Every Diet

5 Tasty, Easy Chicken Parmesan Recipes for Every Diet

By Tina Popowski
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Photo Courtesy: AleksandarNakic/E+/Getty Images

Chicken parmesan — often labeled as chicken parmigiana in Italian restaurants — is one of the most beloved Italian-American chicken recipes. The mouthwatering dish is easy to prepare and features some of our favorite comfort foods: chicken, melted cheese, marinara sauce and pasta.

Chicken parmesan can be made in a variety of ways, from the traditional oven-baked style served with pasta to a healthy vegan version with beans. It’s easy to prepare chicken parmesan at home, but it might be difficult to find the perfect recipe for your family’s dietary needs and taste preferences. The internet is filled with recipe options, but we’ve done the hard part for you. Here’s our take on some of the best chicken parmesan recipes for different diet plans.

Best Traditional Chicken Parmesan

Everyone should know how to make an authentic chicken parmesan dish, so let’s start with a basic recipe for this traditional Italian classic. The tender breaded chicken is topped with tomato sauce seasoned with plenty of Italian herbs and melted parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. The dish pairs well with any pasta — spaghetti, rigatoni, penne, etc. — roasted vegetables and even zucchini "zoodles."

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Photo Courtesy: Food Network

Start your prep by slicing chicken breasts to make four thin cutlets. Cut a baguette into cubes and place the pieces in a food processor to make crumbs. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet, such as the highly rated Legend cast iron skillet, which comes with a lifetime warranty. Add the bread crumbs to the skillet and stir until they get crisp. Then add the parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese is melted. Transfer the blend to a bowl and add basil. With the skillet still on medium-high heat, add more olive oil and seasoned chicken and cook until the pieces are just cooked through, flipping once to achieve even browning.

Remove the chicken and add tomato puree, water, garlic, red pepper flakes and more parmesan to the skillet. Simmer on medium heat until the sauce thickens. Add more basil and season to taste with salt and pepper before returning the chicken to the skillet. Spoon sauce on each piece and create a layered topping with parmesan cheese, part of the breadcrumb mixture, mozzarella cheese and the remaining breadcrumb mixture. Place the entire skillet in the oven and broil until the cheeses melt.

For complete guidance on ingredient measurements, look for the full recipe on the Food Network website. Be sure to follow each step closely to enjoy an authentic chicken parmesan recipe that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Best Easy-to-Make Chicken Parmesan

With so many chicken parmesan recipes available, you would be right to assume that some recipes certainly have to be easier than others, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to spot the simpler choices. Luckily, we found a recipe you can easily make when you’re busy but still in the mood for a delicious Italian meal that features all the deliciousness of crunchy bread crumbs, mozzarella cheese and a tangy pasta sauce.

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Photo Courtesy: The Spruce Eats

Ready to start cooking? Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together milk and an egg and then dip pounded chicken breasts in the mixture and then in a bowl of Italian bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat and brown the chicken in the oil until it turns golden brown on each side. Pour enough of your favorite pasta sauce in the bottom of the baking dish to completely coat it and place the fried chicken breasts on top. Add mozzarella cheese to cover the chicken and then pour additional sauce over the chicken and cheese. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, cook your chosen pasta, such as Barilla or another brand, according to the directions on the box. Ridged penne pasta cooks in just 11 minutes, for example, and is a good source of folic acid and iron. Serve the chicken with the pasta for a traditional American-Italian meal.

Want to watch a video to see this recipe come together? Check out the full recipe details, complete with a video example, on the original recipe site.

Best Keto-Friendly Chicken Parmesan

Keto-friendly recipes are extremely popular right now — for good reason. We could all use fewer unhealthy carbohydrates, such as starches and sugars, in our daily diets. You might not think chicken parmesan could be adapted into a healthy recipe, but you can make a keto-friendly recipe that is incredibly delicious by replacing a few standard ingredients with keto alternatives — almond flour for all-purpose flour, for instance. The end result tastes like original chicken parmesan with all the zesty Italian herbs and melted cheeses, but it isn’t loaded down with carbs.

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Photo Courtesy: Park Feierbach/Delish

If your chicken breasts are thick, begin by cutting them in half lengthwise to make them thinner. Place eggs and almond flour in two separate bowls. In a third bowl, combine parmesan cheese with garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Dip the chicken breasts in the almond flour, then the eggs, and finally the parmesan and herb blend. Cook the breasts in a skillet with oil over medium heat until the pieces are golden brown. Place them in a baking dish like the Krokori rectangular ceramic baking dish and top with a keto-friendly pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Eager to get started with complete measurement details for the recipe? Check out full step-by-step instructions on the Delish website. The site also includes additional tips to make this keto-friendly version of chicken parmesan come out perfect, so don't forget to check them out!

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Best Vegetarian Spin on “Chicken” Parmesan

Just because you prefer to eat vegetarian dishes, it doesn’t mean you can't enjoy the same zesty flavors of classic chicken parmesan. This particular recipe is vegan as well and features white bean "chicken" parmesan that tastes just like the traditional meat dish, complete with tangy pasta sauce and vegan mozzarella. In place of poultry, the "chicken" is a blend of white beans, bread crumbs, wheat gluten and poultry seasoning.

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Photo Courtesy: Rabbits & Wolves

Ready to try it for yourself? First mash some cannellini beans in a mixing bowl and then add olive oil, vegetable broth, soy sauce, wheat gluten, bread crumbs, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir until the ingredients are combined, kneading with your hands if necessary to achieve a mixture that is doughy but no longer sticky. In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, oregano and basil. Form the white bean mixture into patties and coat them in the bread crumb mixture. Place the patties on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, flipping halfway through.

Once the patties finish cooking, top them with tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella cheese and vegan parmesan cheese, such as Nooch It! Fair Trade Dairy-Free Cashew Grated Cheese. Return the patties to the oven for a few minutes to let the mozzarella cheese completely melt. Check out the full recipe here to make a delicious vegan "chicken" parm that could fool you into believing you’re eating the real thing.

Best Chicken Parmesan Casserole

A chicken parmesan casserole has all the delicious flavors you expect to find in a traditional chicken parmesan dish, but it’s served as an easy all-in-one dish that takes all the hard work out of making this Italian comfort food. The ingredient list is simple, with shredded chicken, rich marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese at the center of it all. The casserole can be paired with a salad or bread to complete the experience.

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Photo Courtesy: Two Peas & Their Pod

Want to try it? Boil your pasta of choice to al dente texture and drain it. Mix it with shredded chicken, marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and transfer the ingredients to a greased casserole dish, such as the KOOV ceramic casserole dish, which features high temperature stoneware that is safe for oven and microwave use. Saute garlic and panko bread crumbs in butter over medium heat. Top the casserole with shredded mozzarella and the bread crumb mixture with parmesan added. Cover the casserole with foil sprayed with nonstick spray and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese is bubbly, and the bread crumbs are golden brown.

For more detailed instructions, you can check out the full recipe to ensure you get the bubbly, zesty chicken parmesan casserole you’ve been craving. Bon appetit!