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Tomato Basil Chicken and Rice Recipe

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We’re back with another rice-based one-pan recipe, this time with a different take on one of our favorite meat pairings, chicken and rice. This uber-simple recipe will have you coming back for seconds and then some! The rich flavors and mix of textures work together to enhance the dining experience one spice at a time. The secret? Fresh basil, tomatoes, and well-cooked long-grain rice. 

The rice plays a major role despite it being sort of an equalizing base for the party of different flavors. Rice is often underestimated despite it being the base of many one-pan meals, perhaps because it tastes passable even when people mess up the cooking. In fact, we’d say it’s the most vital part of the entire dish. To make great rice, one would need the best rice cooker, so hop on our guide first before continuing with this recipe!

The best part about this one-pan dish is that it’s quick and easy to make, requiring only a few kitchen tools, keeping the clutter to a minimum. As for the ingredients, you probably already have them stocked in your pantry cupboards: olive oil, tomato, basil, chicken, garlic, black pepper, red pepper slices, bell peppers, and more. Certainly, this Tomato Basil Chicken and Rice recipe is one that’s going to be a staple in every family dinner. 

Should I Use Chicken Thighs or Chicken Breasts?

When it comes to cooking, people will often hear chicken thighs and breasts used interchangeably. But what exactly is the best chicken part for this dish, the chicken breast or thigh? This time, we’re all for using the thigh part of the chicken purely for the flavor it adds to the meal. It’s richer in fats and calories, which may not make it the healthiest choice, but trust us when we say the juiciness of the chicken will make you forget all about that.

However, those who are a little more health-conscious can easily swap out the thighs in this recipe for chicken breasts. Chicken breasts are known to be more rich in proteins than fat and are a great, nutritious lean meat to add to any diet.

So, choosing the right kind of part for this Tomato Basil Chicken and Rice dish really boils down to preference. I love that it’s a flexible recipe when it comes to the ingredients, too: you can use different grains of rice, experiment with chicken cuts, add parmesan cheese, add a teaspoon more of pepper to taste, sprinkle in extra salt, and so forth. At the end of the day, the pop of basil really makes this one of the most foolproof recipes to replicate.

Why Use Olive Oil?

Olive oil has plenty of health benefits despite naysayers propagating the idea that it can be harmful to cook. According to Healthline, the latter myth has sprouted out of the core belief that oils high in fats can become damaged when exposed to high heat. However, as the article shares, this is only true of oils high in polyunsaturated fats such as soy and canola oil. Olive oil, on the other end, is high in heat-resistant monounsaturated fats which not only makes it healthy and nutritious, but incredibly safe to cook. Time Magazine listed extra virgin olive oil as one of the healthiest oils to cook with.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into the thick of this one-pan Tomato Basil Chicken and Rice recipe!

Ingredients

To perfect this Tomato Basil Chicken and Rice dish, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice*
  • 6 chicken thighs, with skin and bone**
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped (you can use 2 red peppers if preferred)
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomato strips in oil
  • 400g crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • Extra chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Garlic powder (optional)

*To achieve a risotto-like consistency, use arborio rice.

**You may use chicken tenders instead

Basil Tomato Chicken and Rice Directions

Step 1. Preheat your oven to 200°c. 

Step 2. Prepare a deep oven-proof pan or cast iron skillet, heating the oil over a stove top. Once the oil is hot, add in the chicken with the skin facing down so as to sear. Continue cooking in the skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.

Step 3. Turn the thighs until the color becomes golden all over. Once cooked thoroughly, remove the chicken from the heat and transfer onto a warm plate.

Step 4. Cook the 2 cloves garlic for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Mix in the onion and red peppers for another 3 minutes. Once the onion starts to turn transparent, mix in the sun-dried and crushed tomatoes, rice, and chicken broth or chicken stock. Season the mixture with salt and pepper (according to the recipe or to taste), adding the dried basil afterwards. Let the pan simmer so the tomato flavor is fully absorbed by the rice.

Step 5. Bring back the chicken thighs (or breasts) onto the top of the rice with the chicken skin side up, bringing the pan to a boil. Coat the chicken in tomato sauce then cover pan with foil. 

Step 6. Transfer your pan from the stove to the preheated oven and bake until the rice has fully absorbed the liquid and the chicken is cooked through, which will take around 40 minutes. If by this time the rice isn’t fully cooked yet, you may stir in ¼ cup of water.

Step 7. Remove the cover then switch your oven to broil or grill. Continue baking on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until your chicken turns golden all over. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 8. Now’s the part where we add extra fresh basil to further enhance the flavor. Sprinkle the extra chopped fresh basil leaves then serve. For an enhanced flavor, season with grated parmesan cheese and garlic powder for an added garlic parmesan taste. 

NUTRITION FACTS: This one-pan chicken and basil recipe contains 560 kcal, 47g carbohydrates, 29g protein, 141mg carbohydrates, and 196mg sodium.

Alternative recipes:

  • Use cubed chicken breast meat or chicken thighs
  • Swap out the thighs for chicken strips or tenders
  • Add red pepper into the mix of spices, or add half of an onion if preferred.
  • Use basmati rice or brown rice, or any variety of long-grain rice
  • Remove the bone from the chicken thighs
  • Swap out the tin tomatoes and tomato liquid for tomato paste. This adds a thicker consistency, however, the cooking time with tomato paste may vary.
  • While this eliminates the “one-pan” aspect of the meal, you can opt to use a baking dish after cooking the spice mix. The baking dish will work wonderfully with an oven.

And that’s all for this delicious tomatoes and basil rice recipe! Spice up your usual family dinner with these accessible ingredients. I know this might not be the definition of comfort food recipes, but it’s definitely one of my new favorites.

Enjoyed this tomato basil chicken and rice one-pot dish? Your lunch and dinner meals are about to get extra tasty! 

Check out our other rice-based recipes right here. We have everything from one-pot recipes to healthy snack recipes, so you’ll never run out of fun meals in the kitchen.

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Ji-hyun

Hailing from California, USA. Ji-hyun is a Korean American 🇰🇷🇺🇸 with two growing boys who eat their weight in rice each week. After graduating UCLA & becoming a mom she started We Know Rice as a guide for all the students and moms out there looking to cook healthy and filling meals.

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