This recipe is for baked chicken with onions and bell peppers. The chicken is seasoned with basil, oregano, thyme, and paprika. This recipe is so easy to make and it’s wonderful with rice. I have a picky four year old brother who won’t eat chicken with onions or bell peppers, but he loved this. It took me about 45 minutes to cook everything and 30 minutes to write this recipe. It also makes great leftovers! (And don’t forget the wine!)
Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Peppers and Onions
Think of sausage with peppers and onions, but with chicken thighs instead of sausage, and all of it baked together on a sheet pan for pure ease. Sheet pan meals are becoming more and more popular because you can have a well-rounded meal without dirtying a bunch of pots and pans. I love the presentation of serving it right off of the sheet pan, and it makes clean up easy as well. Leftovers are great too because you can cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil and put it in the fridge, and when your ready to heat it back up just throw the whole thing back in the oven.
The combination of sweet colorful bell peppers and sweet Vidalia onions melt in your mouth. The extra virgin olive oil really helps soften them and give them a rich flavor. The fat from the chicken thighs also seeps into the peppers and onions giving them even more flavor. If you can find fire-roasted diced tomatoes, they give this dish another layer of flavor that I love. Regular diced tomatoes will work though, plus smoked paprika gives that smokey flavor anyway. Sausage with peppers and onions usually has fennel seeds mixed into the sausage, but since I’m using chicken thighs for this recipe, I sprinkled fennel seeds onto the sheet pan for that distinct fennel flavor. A few more Mediterranean ingredients like white wine, dried oregano and basil create a Mediterranean Diet version of an American favorite.
There are a couple of ways to eat this dish. One is to serve each person a chicken thigh and some peppers and onions on the side. Add a side salad and you have a delicious meal. The second is to remove the skin from the chicken thighs, pull all the meat off of the bones, put it in a grinder roll, top with the peppers and onions, and add your favorite condiments. It’s like a healthier Mediterranean version of a ball park sausage with peppers and onions!
Ingredients for Chicken with Peppers and Onions
- Chicken: Boneless and skinless breast or thighs.
- Seasoning: Salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. Easy peasy.
- Veggies: Finely chopped onion, chopped brown or portobello mushrooms, as well as chopped large bell peppers.
What bell pepper is the healthiest? While each bell pepper definitely has a ton of nutrients and is good for you no matter what colour you decide, the red has the most bang for your buck. Then the orange, then yellow, then green. This is because the green is harvested first and the red last, giving it a longer chance to develop its nutrients. It’s also the sweetest!
- Oil for frying: Coconut, avocado, grapeseed, or olive oil all work. This is used to sauté the veggies over medium-low heat so you can use an oil that doesn’t require a high smoke point.
- Cheese: Any sharp cheese will do. Cheddar, marble, gouda, or gruyere will work. Shred your own to avoid packaged pre-shredded cheese that comes with anti-clumping agents.
- Garnish: Optional addition is to throw in some finely chopped parsley. If you don’t have it, don’t sweat it.
How to Make Chicken and Peppers Recipe
- Prep: If you’re using skinless chicken breast, cut them in half lengthwise. Preheat the oven and grab your baking dish. You want a dish big enough to fit all your chicken and the delicious toppings.
- Add to the dish: To the large baking dish, add the chicken, garlic, salt, and pepper and combine everything. Using your hands or a pair of tongs, mix everything, making sure all pieces of chicken are coated. Even though this dish uses very little seasoning, chicken is one thing that needs it!
- Bake chicken: Cover the dish and bake until the chicken is completely cooked through.
- Saute veggies: While the chicken is baking, get a large ceramic non-stick skillet out and get it preheated. Drizzle in your oil and swirl to coat it. Once it’s nice as hot, add the onion and sauté for a few minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, then add the bell peppers last. Continue to stir occasionally until your veggies are soft and their natural flavours and sweetness have been brought out.
- Top the chicken: When your chicken is done baking it will be pale and won’t have the crispy sear marks, but that’s ok, we’re not looking for that! You’ll know when it’s cooked because it will be surrounded by its own clear juices. Get excited because those juices add another layer of flavour to this dish! Take it out of the oven and turn on the broiler.
- Broil: Separate the chicken pieces just slightly to allow any veggies to sit around the chicken as well as on top. Top each piece with sauteed veggies and then top with cheese. Broil until the cheese is gooey and melted.
HOW LONG TO COOK THE CHICKEN
Once you have the chicken, veggies, and sauce, throw it all in a casserole dish, I usually use a 9×13, and into the oven.
The time the chicken needs to cook will vary a bit by altitude, climate and your own oven, but generally will be around 40-50 minutes total. You want the internal temperature to be 165˚F.
For this recipe we start baking without the cheese, then add the cheese on at the end to get nice and melty and finish off the cooking.
Even though this recipe is incredibly simple, there are a few extra things you can do if you are in a pinch and need to get the dish in the oven even faster. Here are a few tried and true shortcuts for Chicken and Peppers.
- Use precut veggies– You can either prep your veggies ahead, up to 48 hours in advance, or find pre-cut peppers and onions in the produce section in many nicer grocery stores. This can cut the prep time in half!
- Use Marinara sauce– Making the sauce is very easy, but when every minute counts, you can either make it ahead, or use store bought marinara in its place. If you use store bought marinara, omit the basil, oregano, and half of the garlic, and just add the balsamic vinegar to the sauce before covering the chicken and peppers.
- Use a freezer meal- This meal can be made up to 3 months in advance and frozen, then thawed and cooked when ready to serve. This takes away all of the prep time and just leaves the time to cook. Find the instructions for turning this into a freezer meal below.
If you are cooking for someone with special dietary needs this dish meets many requirements and can be easily modified to comply with many others. Here is a run down on how you can use this recipe.
- Gluten free- This recipe is naturally gluten free. Check any store bought items to ensure compliance.
- Low Carb- This dish has approx 9g net carbs per serving making it a good choice for most low carb diets.
- Dairy Free- This recipe as written is not dairy free, however, to make it dairy free all you need to do is omit the cheese at the end!
- Whole30/Paleo- To modify this recipe to be Whole30 compliant or paleo, simply omit the cheese.
Freezer Meal Instructions
Chicken and Peppers makes a wonderful freezer meal. This dish can be made up to 3 months in advance and frozen until ready to be used.
To prepare the Chicken and Peppers as a freezer meal:
- Prep the chicken trimming fat and cutting to the appropriate thickness.
- Chop the veggies as directed.
- Mix the sauce up and then stir the peppers and onions in.
- Spread the mixture in a freezer dish, or pour into a zip top bag.
- Add the chicken breasts on top.
- When ready to cook, thaw, then mix everything together and transfer to a baking dish and cook as directed.
Chicken and Peppers Leftover Recipes
If you have leftovers of your Chicken and Peppers, package them in a air tight container and store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to a month.
When you are ready to eat them, use one of these recipe to recreate the dish into a completely new and exciting meal!
- Chicken and Peppers Pizza– On a prepared crust, spread a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle with garlic. Chop leftovers and spoon over crust. Top with mozzarella cheese and add mushrooms or black olives if desired. Bake per package directions.
- Chicken and Peppers Subs– Cut sub rolls almost in half. Spread with butter and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Bake at 400˚F until golden brown. Remove from oven. Chop leftover and fill up the sub roll. Top with provolone cheese slices and place back in the oven for 10-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
- Chicken and Peppers Pasta Casserole– Chop leftovers and mix with cooked pasta (I like penne or rotini.) Add chopped pepperoni and black olives . Stir in additional marinara if needed. Dollop with ricotta cheese, then top with Italian blend cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until everything is heated through.
- Chicken and Peppers Wilted Spinach Salad– Chop leftover Chicken and Peppers and place in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until warm. Add halved cherry tomatoes, quartered artichokes, and a generous amount of spinach. Stir until the spinach begins to wilt. Transfer to a plate and enjoy!