Spinach and Artichoke Chicken

January 10, 2015

in Dinner in a Dash, Gluten Free, Healthy "MAKEOVERS", Recipes

Spinach Artichoke Chicken_main copy

Who likes spinach and artichoke dip? That question, with the picture below, created a lot of excitement on my Facebook page. I most certainly understand why. Make a healthy version of spinach artichoke dip, and cook chicken in it. What do you have? A dinner to die for, that’s what! This new recipe came out about 10 times better than I expected. It really does taste like the unhealthy dip!  But this is a fraction of the fat and calories as spinach and artichoke dip you’d find in a restaurant. You’d never believe that the secret to the creaminess is a can of light coconut milk. Plus, you only need a few tablespoons of Parmesan to make it taste authentic, without a lot of extra calories.

Spinach Artichoke Chicken_3_edit

What’s even better than the taste? Well the fact that its super easy to make and done on the stove top in less than 30 minutes. Talk about a new weeknight favorite! If you happen to have leftovers, those, are amazing the next day too.

Spinach Artichoke Chicken_2

No dryness with this chicken. The final bit of cooking simmering in the sauce adds a great flavor to the chicken, and an almost melt-in-your mouth chicken breast.

The dairy ingredients in this recipe is the Parmesan cheese, so if you’re dairy-free, I recommend the Go Veggie Dairy-Free Parmesan. You can also easily substitute the butter for vegan margarine. I like Earth Balance.

If you love spinach and artichoke dip, I’m pretty much insisting you make this. I promise, you’ll love it!

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Yield: 6 servings
  • 4 6 oz chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14 oz can light coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp gluten-free all purpose flour (or regular all purpose if not gluten-free)
  • Optional: salt & pepper (as needed)
  1. In a large skillet, heat to medium high heat. Spray with oil if needed for non stick. Season chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper (if using).
  2. Brown each chicken breast on both sides (about 5-6 minutes per side if thick).
  3. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate (they won't be cooked through at this point).
  4. In the same skillet, turn down to medium heat, melt the butter, and add in the chopped garlic and let cook for 30 seconds to let the garlic get a bit golden. Then add the flour and whisk until it makes a rue. Let it cook for 30 seconds, then slowly add the can of coconut milk. Keep whisking until the milk mixture is smooth (aside from the chunks of garlic).
  5. Let the milk mixture thicken a bit, then add in the parmesan cheese and whisk until its melted in. Sauce will start to thicken. Add in the chopped artichokes, and frozen spinach. I added in my spinach frozen (they were spinach nuggets) and separated it as it melted. If its frozen spinach in a box, you might want to thaw it in the microwave beforehand and squeeze out a bit of the excess liquid and measure out 1 cup.
  6. Place the chicken breasts back in the spinach/artichoke mixture and simmer all together with the lid off until the chicken is cooked through. The sauce will thicken a bit more as it simmers...just make sure you keep the lid off or it might get watery.
* Most of the sodium is coming from the canned artichokes, and if you drain and rinse them, it will reduce the sodium in the recipe. But I left the sodium count if there was no rinsing, as I can't determine how much of the salt is removed from rinsing.
Serving size: 4 oz chicken, ⅙ of sauce Calories: 223 Fat: 10.7 g Saturated fat: 6.7 g Carbs: 9.5 g Sugar: 0.6 g Sodium: 558 mg Fiber: 2.3 g Protein: 28 g



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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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  • Debbie Rinehart

    Could I use fresh spinach in this since I never buy frozen. Also can I use potato starch instead of flour since I am gluten free? THANKs!

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      Hi Debbie! Yes fresh spinach will work. Just don’t use too much as since it has extra water content it may make the sauce a bit runnier. Potato starch should work as well or any gluten free flour mix.

      • Debbie Rinehart

        Thanks, Kristine! I used the full carton of fresh spinach before reading this but it turned out wonderful!! I didn’t have full size breasts so I used up the chicken left from a pressure cooked whole chicken…yummy! My can of coconut milk wasn’t light but it sure was creamy!! My husband said it was like having spinach artichoke dip!! I sure will keep this recipe! THANKS AGAIN!!!

  • Christina M

    Yum! I just made this for dinner and it was amazing! It thickened so much that I added a little milk but that’s a good thing. I would rather have a thick sauce verses a thin one. Great recipe!

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      That’s great to hear! So glad you like it!!! 🙂

  • Tiffany McIlvain

    How is this considered dairy-free? Parmesan cheese? Butter?

  • http://www.homecity.com/ Karli Jaenike

    Omg this is really good! I modified it a bit, and instead of sautéing it all together in the pan, i put the chicken back in the pan, threw a LITTLE bit of shredded cheese on top, and broiled for a few minutes. SO GOOOOD.

  • Melc90

    Delicious over Basmati Rice. Thank You for another awesome recipe!

    • Kristine

      Thanks! So glad you like it!

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      Thanks! So glad you like it!

  • Janet

    what’s the substitution for coconut milk? I cannot eat anything coconut – make my stomach so ill. 🙁

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      I haven’t tried with almond milk but that’s the only other non dairy alternative I can think might work. You may need some extra flour if it’s not thickening up.

  • Kristy

    This was so good! I ate the left over spinach and artichoke with steamed broccoli the next day for lunch. Delicious!

  • Megan

    How is this dairy free with butter and parmesan cheese??

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      If you look in the details there are subs to make it dairy free. Earth Balance instead of butter, and a dairy-free Parmesan style cheese…I included a link.

  • Liz

    How is this recipe for 6 people if only using 4 chicken breasts? How many grams of protien in 6oz of the chicken?

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      Hi there! I just realized I forgot to put the protein grams in the recipe. Thanks for catching that. Its added now. 28 g for a 4 oz serving. It serves 6 people simply because the chicken breasts I used were massive. So I made it 6 servings instead of 4. If you’re wanting to re-calculate to 4 servings, just times all the nutrition by 6 to get the totals of the entire recipe, then divide by how many servings you want. Hope that helps!

  • Roxanne

    Just made this for supper – enjoyed by all including my picky teenagers!

  • Laura mcManus

    Do you think I could use whole wheat pastry flour, oat flour or almond flour, or coconut flour as those are the only ones I have. I was thinking since it is likely a thickener and coconut milk is in there that coconut flour may be ok….

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      The whole wheat flour would be the best option. While coconut flour is a nice idea since we’re using coconut milk, its very tricky to work with and if you used a whole Tbsp it would be far to thick as it absorbs liquid so much differently than regular flour. You might only need a tsp but not sure….so the wheat flour would be the safest bet and I’d use the same quantity. Hopefully that helps!

  • Sara Sinclair

    This recipe was AMAZING!!! Thank you!!!

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      So glad you enjoyed it as well 🙂

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