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Mediterranean Chicken and Rice

$10.79 Recipe/$2.70 Serving

Mediterranean chicken and rice is a simple, easy and incredibly flavorful recipe that is ready in under 20 minutes and perfect for weeknight meals. This healthy italian chicken and rice will quickly become a family favorite and is delicious as leftovers as well!

Wooden spoon in skillet filled with Mediterranean chicken and rice.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy to make – this recipe for Mediterranean chicken and rice uses leftover rice and is so easy to make, everything comes together in one pot in under 20 minutes. The chicken can even be made in advance if you want an even quicker cooking meal!
  • Quick, perfect for busy weeknights – this Mediterranean rice and chicken is the perfect way to utilize leftover rice in a whole new way. This recipe is packed with Mediterranean flavors, you will never know it uses leftovers!
  • Easy to find ingredients – you can find everything you need to make this healthy Mediterranean chicken and rice recipe at the local grocery store.
  • Great for meal prep – This simple chicken and rice recipe is the ultimate leftover lunch and can even be frozen for a meal later in the month. Make a double batch and enjoy it all week long for lunches!
Ingredients to make Mediterranean chicken and rice.
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Ingredients

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs – you can use chicken breast or chicken thighs to make this recipe. Chicken thighs tend to be a bit more tender and forgiving when cooking, but both options create a delicious and flavorful dish thanks to the quick cooking method.
  • Olive oil – olive oil is used to coat the chicken before cooking so that the spices will stick to the chicken but also so that the chicken is less likely to stick to the hot skillet when browning.
  • Onions and garlic – these aromatic veggies create the base flavor for the Tuscan chicken and rice recipe.
  • Sundried tomatoes in olive oil – the sundried tomatoes really help to create the base flavor for this Mediterranean chicken and rice recipe and I highly recommend using some of the olive oil the sundried tomatoes are packed in, as it’s full of flavor.
  • Kale (I prefer Tuscan or Lacinto Kale) – you can use any type of kale you can find in your local grocery store. I prefer to buy kale by the bunch because it’s easier to remove the thick stems before chopping. I find that the store-bought chopped kale often has so many thick stems you have to remove.
  • Vegetable broth (or chicken broth) – this helps to provide some moisture to the recipe as the rice is reheating in the skillet.
  • Cooked rice – jasmine or basmati rice is preferred since you are using leftover, cooked rice. I find that regular brown or white rice can be hard and tough to reheat. Jasmine rice and basmati rice (both white and brown) stay soft and easy to reheat.
  • Spices: Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt – these help to give the chicken and kale lots of flavor and help to bring a level of umami to the dish.

How to make mediterranean chicken and rice

Start by cutting the chicken up into 1 inch cubes. To do this, I typically use kitchen shears, but you can also use a sharp knife and a plastic cutting board.

You will also want to chop the onion, finely chop the garlic and destem and chop the kale.

Preheat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat.

Add the chicken cubes to a large bowl. Pour the olive oil over the chicken and add italian seasoning, salt and garlic powder. Stir well.

Diced chicken in white bowl with seasoning on top.

Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken and make sure the chicken is in one even layer. Allow the chicken to cook for 5 minutes before moving it in the skillet. After cooking for 5 minutes, you can move the chicken around in the skillet, cooking it for 3-5 more minutes until it looks cooked through.

Raw cubed chicken and chicken after cooking 5 minutes in cast iron skillet.

When the chicken looks cooked through, remove it with a spoon into the serving bowl. Turn the stove down to medium heat if you had it on medium high heat.

Diced chicken in cast iron skillet after cooking.

Spray the pan with olive oil spray or avocado oil spray and add the chopped onion. Cook 2-3 minutes until the onion starts to look translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute, stirring regularly.

Steps on how to saute onions from raw to golden brown.

Add the chopped kale, vegetable broth, salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning to the skillet with the onions and garlic, stir well. Cook 2-3 minutes until kale is wilted.

Cast iron skillet filled with kale, before and after cooking the kale down.

Once kale is starting to wilt, add the cooked rice, sundried tomatoes and cooked chicken to the skillet. Stir well.

Before and after stirring rice, chicken and kale in skillet.

Turn off the heat and put a lid over the skillet. Let sit 2-3 minutes to allow the heat to warm the rice through (this helps avoid the rice sticking/burning).

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Top tips

  • This recipe is a breeze to put together because you do some of the cooking in advance by using pre-cooked rice. If you don’t have precooked rice on hand you can use quick cooking rice or even pasta in place of the rice to make this meal in 20 minutes or less.
  • When you are working with kale, it’s easier to remove the stem before chopping the kale. See tips below on how to destem kale.
  • Be sure to use sundried tomatoes in olive oil, as the oil packs a ton of flavor and really helps give the entire dish that sundried tomato flavor.
  • The chicken cooks up quickly because it’s cubed into small pieces. Be sure to not touch the chicken for the first 5 minutes it’s cooking so it can get a good sear on the chicken, helping it have more flavor.
  • If you are short on time, you can use pre-cooked shredded chicken (from Instant Pot chicken or rotisserie chicken). If you choose to do this, add the chicken when you add the kale so it can get warmed through.
Cast iron skillet filled with italian chicken and rice with wooden spoon in skillet.

Other additions

This recipe is so flavorful and filling as written, but you can easily change the flavors slightly be adding in these other ingredients. Feel free to play around to create your own custom meal!

  • Canned diced tomatoes (drained) or fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Fresh basil or parsley (added at the end as a garnish)
  • Red pepper flakes for some heat
  • White beans or chickpeas can make this more filling or can even take the place of some of the chicken.
  • Pitted kalamata olives
  • Feta or goat cheese crumbled in at the end
  • Roasted red peppers, chopped
  • Artichoke hearts (canned or jarred), chopped

What to serve with italian chicken and rice

This healthy chicken and rice skillet meal is a filling, satisfying meal on it’s own. However, you could serve it with salad, soup or appetizers to create a full meal, especially if you are serving this to company.

Common questions

What if you don’t have pre-cooked rice

This recipe cooks so quickly because you don’t have to wait on the rice to cook. However, you can also buy quick cooking rice or frozen rice (stores like Trader Joe’s, Sprouts typically carry frozen jasmine rice). You can also prepare your own cooked rice in advance and freeze it in 1 cup cubes (I like to use Soupercubes for this). Simply defrost the rice before adding it to this recipe.

You can also make rice in a separate pot or in the Instant Pot while the chicken and veggies are cooking. It may add 5-10 minutes to the total cooking time. Note that 1 cup of rice = 2.5 cups of cooked rice.

Can you use something other than rice?

Yes! This recipe would be equally as delicious with cooked quinoa, farro, orzo, cooked pasta or cooked cauliflower rice.

How to destem kale

  • Start by tearing away about 1-2 inches of the kale leaf from the bottom of the stem so the stem is free from the leaf.
  • Wrap your pointer finger around the kale stem and pull down from the bottom of the stem towards the top of the leaf. The kale leaf will come off the stem in one piece.
  • Once the stem is removed, you can easily chop the kale.
Steps on how to destem kale.

Can you make this in advance?

You can make this entire recipe in advance or you can prep parts of the recipe in advance so that it will cook quicker when you are ready to serve it.

The rice is already pre-cooked. You can also cook the chicken and chop and cook the veggies in advance. When you are ready to assemble the recipe, simply combine everything in a skillet with an additional 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and cook over medium heat, covered. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you find the rice starts to stick, add some water to the skillet in 1-2 tablespoon increments.

Storing leftovers

  • Fridge: Store leftover Mediterranean chicken and rice in the fridge for up to 3 days. Note that leftover rice should only be kept in the fridge for a total of 5 days, so depending on how long the rice has already been in the fridge will impact how long you can store this recipe.
  • Freezer: You can freeze leftover Italian chicken and rice for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing it in single servings using Soupercubes. Once frozen solid, remove from the silicone and transfer to a freezer safe bag (I prefer Stasher bags). Be sure to label the leftovers with the name of the recipe, date and use by date (If you are using a stasher bag, you can use a dry erase marker for this).
  • Reheating leftovers: Reheating from the fridge or defrosted leftovers can be done in the microwave 1-2 minutes on high heat or in a skillet over medium heat with a few tablespoons of vegetable broth or water. Be sure to cook covered for 4-6 minutes until warm.
Mediterranean chicken and rice on a white plate, Hand holding fork scooping up rice.

Substitutions

  • Chicken – you can use boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs in this recipe. You could also use turkey breast or ground chicken in place of the chicken. If you want to make this plant based, check out the instructions in this Tuscan White Bean Skillet!
  • Onions and garlic – these help to build the base of flavor. I prefer yellow or white onions for this. You can use just onion or just garlic if you prefer/if that is all you have on hand. You can also omit the onions and garlic and it will still be delicious.
  • Sundried tomatoes in olive oil – if you don’t have sun dried tomatoes in olive oil but do have the sundried tomatoes that come dried in a plastic bag, put the sundried tomatoes in hot water to rehydrate them for at least 10 minutes. Save 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid and add it with the sundried tomatoes to infuse more flavor in the dish. You can also omit the sundried tomatoes and add diced (drained) canned tomatoes or chopped roasted red pepper in place of the sundried tomatoes (the flavor will be different though).
  • Kale – you can also use spinach or frozen spinach in place of the kale. If you don’t love leafy vegetables, you could also make this with finely chopped zucchini or broccoli.
  • Vegetable broth – this helps to quickly sauté the kale and also adds a depth of flavor to the recipe. If you don’t have vegetable broth, you can also use vegetable stock, chicken broth or chicken stock, or simply use water.
  • Cooked rice – this recipe relies on the rice being cooked in advance. Because of this, I recommend white or brown jasmine or basmati rice. You can also use quick cooking rice or defrost frozen rice. If you don’t want to use rice, you could also make this with cooked quinoa, farro, orzo, pasta or cauliflower rice for a low carb version.
  • Spices – If you don’t have Italian seasoning, check out these simple substitutes or you can simply use dried basil or oregano.

More easy chicken recipes

Creamy Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole

Chicken Shawarma Rice Skillet

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

Instant Pot Chicken and Potatoes

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Mediterranean chicken rice and kale in cast iron skillet with wooden spoon.

Mediterranean Chicken and Rice Skillet

$10.79 Recipe/$2.70 Serving
Mediterranean chicken and rice is a simple, flavorful, healthy recipe that is ready in under 20 minutes and is so easy to make. This Italian chicken and rice is the perfect weeknight dinner recipe but is fancy enough for entertaining. The leftovers are also delicious, and this recipe is great for weekly meal prep.
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Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: italian chicken and rice, mediterranean chicken and rice, mediterranean chicken and rice skillet
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs - $5.99
  • 1 tbsp olive oil - $0.22
  • 2 tsp salt, divided - $0.10
  • 2 tsp italian seasoning, divided - $0.20
  • 2 tsp garlic powder, divided - $0.20
  • 1 medium onion - $0.33
  • 2 medium garlic cloves - $0.08
  • 1 bunch kale - $1.99
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth - $0.11
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil - $1.17
  • 2.5 cups cooked rice (jasmine or basmati) - $0.40

Instructions

  • Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces, using scissors or a sharp knife and plastic cutting board. Place the chicken in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt and italian seasoning. Stir well.
  • Preheat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat.
  • Chop the onions, finely chop the garlic and destem the kale and finely chop it.
  • When the skillet is hot, add the chicken and make sure the chicken is in one even layer. Don't touch the chicken for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, stir the chicken, cooking 3-5 more minutes until done.
  • Once chicken is done cooking, remove it from the skillet and turn the heat to medium.
  • Spray the skillet with olive oil or avocado oil spray. Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes. After 2-3 minutes, add chopped garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.
  • Once the onions are well cooked (starting to brown), add the kale, vegetable broth and the remaining seasonings. Stir well and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Once kale is wilted, add cooked rice, cooked chicken and sundried tomatoes to the kale. Stir well. Add a lid over the pan and turn off heat. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: Store leftover Mediterranean chicken and rice in the fridge for up to 3 days. Note that leftover rice should only be kept in the fridge for a total of 5 days, so depending on how long the rice has already been in the fridge will impact how long you can store this recipe.
  • Freezer: You can freeze leftover Italian chicken and rice for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing it in single servings using Soupercubes. Once frozen solid, remove from the silicone and transfer to a freezer safe bag (I prefer Stasher bags). Be sure to label the leftovers with the name of the recipe, date and use by date (If you are using a stasher bag, you can use a dry erase marker for this).
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
345
Fat
 
8
g
Carbohydrates
 
37
g
Fiber
 
2
g
Sugar
 
1
g
Protein
 
30
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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