We’re about to make a two part-er here. You start with the Italian Marinade recipe to get your chicken breasts ready, and then add them to the delicious spaghetti squash dish below. That makes this dish very versatile because if you want to, you can always pick another marinade if you want to spice things up with this dish and change up the flavor profile. This recipe is a tasty way to use this fall to winter squash, or if you are lucky enough to find it year round – eat it anytime. We are loving spaghetti squash around here as you will notice from our related recipes below.
We have already learned that about its health benefits, so if you do not recall I encourage you to pop by Tomato-Basil Spaghetti Squash after this read and relish in your good fortune. As with that recipe, you do have to be a bit patient cooking the squash, so that is why the overall cooking time is one hour plus (depending on the size of the squash). Aside from waiting for the squash though, this recipe comes together pretty quickly. So, what I would suggest is that you get your squash ready to go into the oven, and then get the rest of your ingredients together. That way you are not pacing around too much, or just scroll through this site and plan your next recipe. 🙂
I turned to my trusted resource, The Techniques of Healthy Cooking, to help me decide on the choice between rub or marinade in this recipe and ultimately the marinade won. I wanted to have the acid help penetrate the chicken with the herb flavor. I enjoy marinades for that reason, they penetrate the top layer of protein with flavor and season it right up the way I want them to. We will do a rub soon, I have nothing against a delicious rub, I am equal opportunity over here. So fear not, but I am getting distracted.
I did not use this marinade as a sauce in the dish because it adds to the overall calories. Instead I quickly brushed off the chicken and added it to the pan to saute. If you choose to make a sauce out of it, please check the Italian Marinade recipe nutritional label, the calories and serving size are listed there. Instead, in this recipe we quickly deglaze the pan, and have a powerful punch of flavor that saved us from having hundreds of extra calories added had we used the marinade liquid in our dish.
A word on the marinade time, marinades take longer or shorter depending on the size of the cut, acids, and other factors. If you are using a large chicken breast, you may want to go a bit longer, if you are using a smaller piece, cut it shorter. I like to stick with 2 hours as a rule of thumb with chicken, unless I forget or something comes up and I need to wait overnight – it happens to us all. Remember if you are worried about the chicken turning mushy or being overly marinaded, that you can freeze this marinade. So, if something does come up, you have that option in your back pocket. Always nice to have options (have you noticed we like to provide you with options around here?).
Overall I think we created a great dish here, we packed some lean protein into this recipe with our chicken breasts, and then another powerful wellness food, spinach. You will also notice the abundance of vegetables in this recipe that makes it a powerful dish overall. This should definitely increase our veggie intake for the day (or two or three depending on how many leftovers you have!). It does all of this and still comes in with low calories, delish!
Please take a moment and share your successes with us below in the comments. I would love to hear about how this recipe worked for you and what kind of results you had. I have really enjoyed it myself, so I am hoping you do to!
Italian Marinated Chicken with Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, Artichokes, and Sun-dried Tomatoes
Easy oven roasted spaghetti squash and Italian marinated chicken are the stars of this dish, but don’t discount the delicious supporting actors: artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and our powerhouse spinach – a satisfying combination that is sure to provide a mouthwatering dinner.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 50
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Meat & Poultry
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- 2 2 ½ to 3 pound spaghetti squash, cut lengthwise, seeds removed
- 4 chicken breasts, (4-6oz per person should do for serving), marinaded (Italian marinade)
- 2 cups artichoke quartered hearts, canned, drained
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or diced
- ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach or spinach roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- Make half Italian Marinade and marinate chicken 2-12 hours. Half a recipe will make enough to marinade 1 pound of meat.
For main dish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease an oven safe dish or cookie sheet.
- Season squash with salt and pepper. Place face down on a greased baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
- When there is approximately twenty minutes left, begin sauteing your chicken. Remove from marinade, brush off, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan and saute. Timing will depend on the size of your cut, but you want to cook your chicken until clear juices run (See notes). Remove from heat and rest on a cutting board.
- Turn the pan to low and add ¼ cup water, vigorously stir to deglaze the pan and get all of the particles up. You’re making a quick and light pan sauce right now, it’ll be delicious.
- Add artichoke hearts and cook over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, pine nuts, and spinach, cook until just wilted. Remove from heat.
- Somewhere in the middle of this your timer went off for the squash. Using two forks so you don’t burn yourself, scoop out the contents into a large bowl. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.
- Slice chicken.
- Toss together artichoke mixture and spaghetti squash (optional) to serve, or plate it as I did in the photos separately. Serve immediately by layering the dish with chicken being the last to add to the plate. Enjoy!
- This dish does reheat well, so feel free to save the leftovers for the next day.
- You can cook the chicken in the oven if you’d rather (especially if you have larger pieces), I would start them with a saute, then finish in the oven with the squash so you can still deglaze the pan – it’s really tasty! Adjust the timing as necessary.
- You can choose a different marinade if you would like to play with the flavor profile.
Keywords: chicken, spinach, spaghetti squash, squash, marinade