Lower Fat Chicken Parmigiana

Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Online Clip ArtThere are some tried and true Italian dishes that satisfy no matter what and you can find at every typical Italian restaurant (like Luigi’s from THE CALLING vampire novels).

Chicken parmigiana is one of those dishes, but when you’re trying to eat healthy, this kind of dish can be a problem. It’s breaded and fried. There’s the cheese with its animal fats and you generally serve it over/next to pasta, a problem if you’re watching carbs.

So what can you do to enjoy this dish? Well, here’s some alternatives that will help you make a tasty chicken parmigiana that even your most difficult critic (like my Italian hubby) will enjoy! Try one or all of the alternatives.

Lower Fat Chicken Parmigiana

Step One: “Breading” the cutlets. This accounts for the step where you can lose the most calories!

  • First Alternative: Most Chicken Parmigiana is breaded and fried. If you don’t want to lose the breading, lose some of the fat by using either an egg white wash or just plain water to get the bread crumbs to adhere to the chicken breast. Lose the dredging the chicken in flour as well. Some will say it helps the bread crumbs stick better. I’ve always found that it just makes the bread crumbs fall off faster and adds extra carbs you don’t need. As for the frying part of this, try baking the chicken! Use a cooking oil spray and lightly grease a baking dish. Place the breaded chicken breasts in there and give the tops of the breasts a spritz with the cooking oil spray. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or so (or until the bread crumbs begin to brown).
  • Second Alternative: Again use an egg white wash or water, but this time, dredge the chicken breasts with a good freshly-grated parmesan cheese. In a frying pan spritzed with cooking oil spray, toast both sides of the chicken breasts. The cheese will create a coating on the chicken breasts.
  • Third Alternative: Lose the “breading” entirely to cut out the fat and carbs. Just brown the chicken breasts in a frying pan spritzed with cooking oil spray.
  • Step Two: Using either your own sauce or a bottled spaghetti sauce, spread a thin layer of sauce in a baking dish. Place the “breaded” chicken breasts on the sauce.

    Step Three: Place some sauce on the chicken and then a slice or two of a low-fat or fat-free mozzarella cheese on the chicken. For variety, you can also add a slice of prosciutto, grilled eggplant or zucchini or roasted red pepper on top of the chicken before you add the mozzarella. The addition of the lower fat vegetables really helps to make this a complete meal.

    Step Four: A little bit more sauce on top of the cheese/chicken (but not enough to hide all the cheese since you want it to get nice and toasty in the oven) and a fresh grate of some parmesan! Cook the dish at 350 for at least 30 minutes or so, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has browned a bit. You may want to even broil it for a few minutes to toast the cheese, but make sure you have a pan that can be used to broil.

    Last but not least, serve with a whole grain pasta or Barilla’s Plus pasta that has lower carbs.

    Hope you like this variation on an Italian Classic!