Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken + Green Spring Salad

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Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken with a Super Green Spring Salad. It is a healthy and quick weeknight dinner bursting of Spring flavor! This healthy chicken recipe focuses on a fresh lemony flavor with all the veggies and a bunch of aromatic herbs that are in season now to create one happy salad.

 

Truth is, I am obsessed with lemon, and during Fall and Winter/Christmas time I don’t feel it’s that appropriate. Insert Spring, and I’m bombarding you with lemon recipes. Lemon is great for both sweet recipes, such as Lemon Ricotta Cake with Vanilla Pastry Cream, Lemon Cake with Crumb Topping, Crepes with Blackberries and Lemon Cream Cheese, The Penicillin Cocktail with lemon, ginger and honey. And savory recipes, such as this one, and this super umami and Easy Sun Dried Tomato Lemon Pasta and Strawberry Summer Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. As I’m writing this, I am slowly realizing my love for lemon is pretty huge.

 

And I hope this healthy baked lemon chicken recipe will make anyone love lemon as much as me!

 

Straight view of sliced lemon chicken and green spring salad with lemon slices and rosemary sprigs.

 

Baked Lemon Chicken Recipe

 

We should begin with the lemon marinade. This marinade also doubles as the sauce, so we will have to reserve about 1/3 for that. Using a pestle and mortar; crush rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix this herb garlic mixture with olive oil and lemon juice. 

 

Pour 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the lemon herb marinade into a large bowl and add the chicken breasts in (reserve the rest of the sauce for later steps). Give it a good mix, cover with foil and leave in the refrigerator to marinate for 30-60 minutes. You may want to turn the chicken once halfway through marinating. 

 

Pre-heat oven to 400F (200C) and bake in the oven for approx. 22-26 minutes. 22 for smaller breasts and closer to 26 for larger pieces. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it. Read more tips on how to oven bake chicken below.

 

Flat lay of baked lemon chicken with green spring salad and lemon slices, dark grey plate.

 

How to: Baked Lemon Chicken

 

So there’s the pretty, make more mess, way, and there’s the not-so-pretty but easy clean-up way. Which would you prefer? This time I chose the not-so-pretty way, because I wanted it to be extra easy.

 

Baked chicken will naturally have a bland color. And it’s not because it’s not tasty, because it is. But it’s just not seared in a pan beforehand. Searing in a pan will increase flavor even more, but it will add both time and clean-up to your schedule. Sear in a medium hot pan with a little oil, for a couple of minutes each side, and you will get a wonderful crust to your lemon chicken.

 

To make things super easy, I skipped this step and went straight to the baking part. Baking chicken breasts make them super juicy and tender and it actually is much easier than people think. Of course, it’s easy to overcook chicken, as it is a very lean piece of meat. However, using these guidelines will help you reach perfectly baked chicken breast each time:

 

Drizzling lemon garlic sauce over baked lemon chicken and green spring salad. Grey cloth.

 

Tips for how to bake chicken breast perfectly each time

 

  • If it’s very big in one end, you should flatten it.
  • Marinating the chicken will not only give better flavor, but it can sometimes also tenderize the meat, and who doesn’t want a tender and juicy chicken? See above for the delicious lemon marinade.
  • Cook at a fairly high temperature: 400F (200C). It should reach an internal temperature of 165F (74C), however, you should take it out a couple of degrees before. If you don’t have a thermometer, don’t worry, go for 22 minutes for smaller chicken breasts and closer to 26 for larger chicken breasts. If you press the thickest part of the chicken, it should feel something like when you press your thumb and pinky together.
  • Rest – super important! Once you take the chicken breast out of your oven, do the thumb test (or check with a meat thermometer), and then let it rest for 5 minutes. This way the meat juices will re-distribute in the chicken breast and will result in a much juicier chicken! If you cut it immediately, the juices will run away and never come back.

 

Healthy Green Spring Salad

 

While the chicken is marinating and baking, we have lots of time to relax and just make the perfect green salad. There are no big rules to follow for this salad, I only opted for things that are in season during Spring. And that will also vary depending on where you live. Cut each of the greens just the way you like it and roast pine nuts in a dry pan until fragrant. Read next paragraph for the edamame peas. Combine all the salad ingredients into a large serving bowl. Drizzle with lemon herb sauce. Garnish with lemon and more herbs, if desired.

 

Flat lay of green spring salad with edamame peas, lemon and avocado among others.

 

How to peel edamame peas

 

Okay, so chances are you get frozen edamame peas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them fresh in the stores here in  Norway, but if you do, then simply skip this step. Add them to a colander and run them under room temperature water for 2 minutes. Now they’re thawed and you can easily just press them with your fingers and the peas pop out of their shells. Just discard the shells.

 

Optional Lemon Brussels Sprouts

 

So, this is just a way of upping that vegetable game even more. Brussels sprouts aren’t only reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is actually super delicious with a fresh lemony flavor as well. Because we have time on our hands anyway when the chicken is marinating, why don’t put the time to good use and make this awesome side dish.

 

I have used this Blackberry Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli and just altered it a tiny bit. The difference is actually just two small things:

 

  1. I didn’t use blackberry balsamic glaze, normal balsamic glaze works really well.
  2. And I omitted the blackberries, because they weren’t in season. If you find berries of any kind, feel free to use them anyway. You could also use pomegranate arils.

 

Blackberry Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli

(Clicking photo takes you to the recipe)

 

Notice that the lemon garlic sauce is also the marinade from this recipe (just of course less). So make the lemon garlic sauce as in this recipe, and you will have enough for marinating the chicken, drizzling the green spring salad AND these lemon brussels sprouts.

 

How to Bake Lemon Brussels Sprouts

 

Cook bacon in a pan on medium high heat. Don’t cook through, just give them a little color. Save the bacon fat (important!). Remove outer shells of brussel sprouts and cut in half. Cut broccoli into florets about the same size/a little smaller as the halved brussel sprouts. Remove stem.

 

Place broccoli and brussel sprouts into a dish or baking tray, along with the bacon and bacon fat. Add in more fresh herbs and drizzle with 5 tbsp of the lemon herb sauce. Stir to combine. Make sure all the veggies are coated but not drenched. Bake in the oven at 400C (200 F) for approx. 20 minutes. Until brussel sprouts are tender. 

 

Straight view of the baked lemon chicken. Grey cloth in the background.

 

Mix balsamic glaze with a little honey and drizzle over the baked veggies. Adding fresh blackberries (like I did in this recipe), pomegranate arils or any berry is a nice, sweet touch, but it’s completely optional.

 

This baked lemon chicken is juicy, tender, fresh and lemony and easy to make. All the green color from the green spring salad and fresh lemon brussels sprouts really makes this dish complete. Enjoy!

 

And the next lemon based, savory recipes I am going to try are these Mexican Chicken Marinade from The Tortilla Channel, Chinese Lemon Chicken from Dinner at the Zoo, and this Greek Style Baked Cod from Easy Kraft Recipe. Can’t wait!

 

More More Lemon!

 

Straight view of a blue bowl with creamy sun dried tomato pasta, fork taking a bite. Nude cloth on blue background. Strawberry Arugula Summer Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Lavender Lemon Cake with lemon slices and powdered sugar on top. Background is parchment paper and a green towel. Some yellow flowers and lemons in the corner.

Yellow slice of cake on a grey plate with a purple flower on top. More purple flowers in the background. Penicillin cocktail with ice cubes and rosemary sprig in a round class. On top of a stone plate. A stack of crepes filled with lemon cream cheese and blackberry jam. White plate, white background and white mug with blackberry jam pouring over the crepes.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!

 


 

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Flat lay of baked lemon chicken with green spring salad and lemon slices, dark grey plate. Square crop.
Print Recipe
4.94 from 16 votes

Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken + Green Spring Salad

Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken with a Super Green Spring Salad. It is a healthy and quick weeknight dinner bursting of Spring flavor!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Norwegian
Keyword: baked chicken breast, baked lemon chicken, healthy salad
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 765kcal
Author: Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice

Ingredients

Lemon Chicken Marinade + Sauce

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme remove stems
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 lemon

Lemon Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli (optional step, enough for at least 4)

  • 1/2 cup bacon pieces
  • 4 cups brussel sprouts 400g. cut in two and remove outer layers
  • 1/2 broccoli remove stem, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme remove stems
  • 5 tbsp lemon herb sauce see above
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze
  • 1 tsp honey

Healthy Green Spring Salad

  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • 3 handfuls spinach
  • 7 oz edamame 200g. weight with shells, approx. 1/2 cup after shelling
  • 1 green onion green bit only, chopped
  • 2 small avocado sliced
  • 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts 4 tbsp
  • Lemon herb sauce see above, as desired
  • lemon slices and fresh herbs optional, for garnish

Instructions

Baked Lemon Chicken + Sauce

  • Make the sauce/marinade: Using a pestle and mortar, crush rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves and salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix this herb garlic mixture with olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Marinate chicken: Pour 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the lemon herb sauce/marinade into a large bowl and add the chicken in (reserve the rest of the sauce for later steps). Give it a good mix, cover with foil and leave in the refrigerator to marinate for 30-60 minutes. You may want to turn the chicken once halfway through marinating.
  • Bake chicken: Pre-heat oven to 400F (200C) and bake in the oven for approx. 22-26 minutes. 22 for small chicken breasts and 26 for larger.
  • Rest chicken for 5 minutes before slicing.

Healthy Green Spring Salad

  • Pop edamame out of their shells: If you got frozen edamame with shells, just run them under room temp water for a few minutes. Pop them out of their shells. Discard shells. Garnish with charred lemon wedges**, and more herbs.
  • Cut veggies as you like: Roast pine nuts in a dry non-stick pan until fragrant. Combine all the salad ingredients into a large serving bowl. Drizzle with lemon herb sauce. Garnish with herbs and lemon slices, if desired.

Lemon Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli (optional step)

  • Cook bacon: Cook bacon in a pan on medium high heat. Don’t cook through, just give them a little color. Save the bacon fat (important!). 
  • Prepare brussels sprouts and broccoli: Remove outer shells of brussel sprouts and cut in half. Cut broccoli into florets about the same size/a little smaller as the halved brussel sprouts. Remove stem.
  • Bake in the oven: Place broccoli and brussels sprouts into a dish or baking tray, along with the bacon and bacon fat. Add in more fresh herbs and drizzle with 5 tbsp of the lemon herb sauce. Stir to combine. Make sure all the veggies are coated but not drenched. Bake in the oven at 400F (200C) for approx. 20 minutes. Until brussels sprouts are tender. Turn halfway through.
  • Drizzle: Mix balsamic glaze with a little honey and drizzle over the baked veggies. Adding fresh blackberries, pomegranate arils or any berry is a nice, sweet touch, but totally optional.

Notes

Did you make it? Tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram, I'd love to see!
You don't have to make the lemon brussels sprouts in order to make this delicious Spring dish, but as the chicken needs time to marinate, you will have the time to make it anyway. I'm just providing choices here!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 chicken breast
Servings Per Container 3

Amount Per Serving
Calories 765 Calories from Fat 515.7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 57.3g 88%
Saturated Fat 8.9g 45%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 522mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 21.6g 7%
Dietary Fiber 12.8g 51%
Sugars 2g
Protein 47.4g 95%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any specific dietary concerns, please consult with your healthcare practitioner.


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