Light Chicken Parmesan

Light Chicken Parm

It’s very rare that we go out for Italian food. While I absolutely LOVE Italian cuisine, the hubs isn’t a really huge fan and totally has to be in the right mood for it. When I was thinking of a new recipe to try in the house, I thought, well, why not make the hubs’ favorite dish: chicken parmesan?

However, I really despise frying. Everytime I try to fry something, I can’t quite control the oil and it either ends up undercooked or burnt. Plus, I end up burnt too from the oil’s a crappy situation. Oh yeah, and since I’m trying to lose weight, well, frying isn’t in my vocabulary for the moment.

So, I found a Cooks Illustrated recipe, which really has never steered me wrong when it comes to baking food dishes that are traditionally fried, and I tried this. It really didn’t take that long to throw together, and the hubs really enjoyed it. Yay!

Lighter Chicken Parmesan
Source: Cooks Illustrated 


  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets
  • 2 cups tomato sauce , warmed (see below)
  • 3 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • Table salt and ground black pepper


  1. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.
  2. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.
  3. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.
  5. Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.


  1. I feel your pain. Josh hates going out to eat for Mexican and it is absolutely my favorite. I always make my grandma go out for Mexican with me!

    That chicken parm looks amazing.

  2. Looks delish!!

  3. Looks delicious! And props for your fry attempts. I haven’t deep-fried before because I’m scared of the splattering oil!

  4. I LOVE chicken parm! I’ll definitely be giving this lighter recipe a shot!

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