Creamy Lemon Chicken, Olives and Artichokes (Paleo, Whole30)

Creamy Lemon Chicken, Olives and Artichokes is an easy, healthy and filling dinner!

Juicy chicken breasts, plump olives and tender artichokes are coated in a bright, tangy, garlicky lemon sauce.

Serve it with rice or veggie rice to soak up the irresistible sauce and you’re all set.

Plus it’s naturally Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and Whole30 friendly!

chicken breasts in a dairy-free cream sauce with olives and artichokes in a large white platter with a silver serving spoon

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Creamy Lemon Chicken, Olives and Artichokes

You can never have too many chicken breast dinner recipes, especially healthy chicken recipes.

So this recipe combines juicy boneless chicken breasts with lots of Mediterranean ingredients and flavors for an incredibly satisfying meal.

The simple sauce requires just lemon juice, coconut milk (to make it dairy-free; surprisingly, it really doesn’t taste like coconut) and seasonings.

Then you add lots of garlic, red pepper flakes (if you want), briny Kalamata olives, salty capers, fresh lemon zest and chives (or whatever fresh herb you like). It’s a flavor-packed meal with a sauce you’ll want to drink with a spoon.

This Paleo chicken recipe is something the whole family will love, whether they’re Paleo or not! (Seriously, it’s been tested on non-Paleo eaters and they love it.)

 

What you need for Creamy Lemon Chicken, Olives and Artichokes

Ingredients:

Equipment:

a white bowl full of cauliflower rice, a chicken breast, olives, artichokes and capers, with a fork and knife resting on the rim and a green napkin next to it

How to make this Paleo chicken recipe

Zest the lemon and set the zest aside. A microplane grater is best for this, but if you don’t have one, use a vegetable peeler to peel off the lemon rind (be sure not to press too hard, you don’t want the bitter white layer underneath). Then chop the strips of rind as finely as possible.

Halve the lemon and squeeze out the juice until you have 1/4 cup. (My favorite trick? I don’t have a juicer so I set a small mesh sieve over a measuring glass, stab the cut side of the lemon with a fork, aim the cut side down over the sieve and squeeze and rotate the lemon while twisting the fork until I gouge out every last drop of juice.)

Whisk together the coconut milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and trim any excess fat. Sprinkle both sides with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Sear the chicken breasts for about 4-5 minutes per side. They might not be cooked all the way through yet which is fine. We’ll make sure they cook through later. Remove the chicken to a plate.

While the chicken is searing, peel and dice the garlic cloves.

Once the chicken is out of the pan, reduce the heat to medium.

If there’s still about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, great. If not, add more olive oil until you have about 2 tablespoons.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir frequently until the garlic is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the coconut milk/lemon sauce and use your wooden or silicone spatula to scrape up all the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Not only does this add all the flavor to the sauce, it basically cleans the pan for you!

Once the sauce begins to simmer, return the chicken to the pan. Cook until the chicken reaches 165° in the thickest part of the breast, about 4-8 more minutes, depending on their size.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter.

Add the olives, artichokes, capers, reserved lemon zest and most of the chives to the sauce. Stir for 1 minute until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the remaining chives.

Serve with rice to keep it gluten-free or veggie rice (like cauliflower ricesweet potato rice or parsnip rice) for Paleo and Whole30.

It’s also great served with steamed potatoes.

A Whole30 chicken recipe in a creamy lemon sauce with olives and artichokes in a white platter on a wooden table

Make ahead and storage

The lemon sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead and kept in the fridge. Whisk to loosen before using.

The chicken can be seared and then stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before proceeding to cook and make sure they reach 165°.

The final dish can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm over low heat on the stove.

The final dish can also be frozen in an air-tight, freezer-safe container or baggie for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

 

Substitutions and variations

  1. You can replace the chicken breasts with boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts. If they’re very small, they might not need as much time to cook all the way through.
  2. You can replace the artichokes with broccoli florets (fresh or frozen and thawed) or asparagus spears cut into 2″ chunks.
  3. You can replace the Kalamata olives with your favorite pitted olives.
  4. You can omit the capers if you don’t like/have them. You might need to add a pinch of salt to the sauce – taste before serving.
  5. You can omit the red pepper flakes if you don’t want the spiciness. Or add more if you really want some spiciness.
  6. You can use unsweetened almond milk instead of coconut milk but the sauce won’t be quite as thick (and will taste a bit almond-y).
  7. You can use any fresh herb instead of chives: parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, tarragon, oregano and thyme would all be good. You’ll still need about 2 tablespoons of the chopped herb.

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. Crunchy Plantain Chip Chicken (Paleo, gluten-free)
  2. One Pan Creamy Mustard Pork Chops with Asparagus (Paleo, Whole30)
  3. Spiced Butter Baked Cod with Green Beans (Paleo, Whole30)
  4. Healthy Teriyaki Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)

 

Creamy Lemon Chicken, Olives and Artichokes in a white serving platter with a large silver serving spoon and piled on top of cauliflower rice in a white bowl
A Whole30 chicken recipe in a creamy lemon sauce with olives and artichokes in a white platter on a wooden table
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Creamy Lemon Chicken, Olives and Artichokes (Paleo, Whole30)

This Creamy Lemon Chicken, Olives and Artichokes recipe is easy enough for a healthy weeknight dinner and elegant enough for company. Juicy chicken breasts, olives, artichokes and capers are coated in a creamy, tangy, garlicky lemon sauce. Serve it with rice, veggie rice or steamed potatoes to soak up the irresistible sauce and you're all set! Plus it's gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: healthy chicken recipe, healthy dinner, lemon chicken, paleo chicken, Whole30 chicken
Servings: 4 people
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup full-fat, unsweetened canned coconut milk (shake before opening to blend well)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided, plus more if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided, plus more if necessary
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)
  • teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichokes in water, drained
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
  • rice, veggie rice or steamed potatoes, for serving

Instructions

  • Zest the lemon and set the zest aside. A microplane grater is best for this, but if you don't have one, use a vegetable peeler to peel off the lemon rind (be sure not to press too hard, you don't want the bitter white layer underneath). Then chop the strips of rind as finely as possible.
  • Halve the lemon and squeeze out the juice until you have 1/4 cup. (My favorite trick? I don't have a juicer so I set a small mesh sieve over a measuring glass, stab the cut side of the lemon with a fork, aim the cut side down over the sieve and squeeze and rotate the lemon while twisting the fork until I gouge out every last drop of juice.)
  • Whisk together the coconut milk, lemon juice, ½ salt and ¼ pepper.
  • Pat the chicken breasts dry and trim any excess fat. Sprinkle both sides with the 1½ teaspoons salt, ¾ teaspoon pepper and Italian seasoning.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sear the chicken breasts for about 4-5 minutes per side. They might not be cooked all the way through yet which is fine. We'll make sure they cook through later. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  • While the chicken is searing, peel and dice the garlic cloves.
  • Once the chicken is out of the pan, reduce the heat to medium.
  • If there's still about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, great. If not, add more olive oil until you have about 2 tablespoons.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and stir frequently until the garlic is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the coconut milk/lemon sauce and use a wooden or silicone spatula to scrape up all the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Not only does this add all the flavor to the sauce, it basically cleans the pan for you!
  • Once the sauce begins to simmer, return the chicken to the pan. Cook until the chicken reaches 165° in the thickest part of the breast, about 4-8 more minutes, depending on their size. (Some breasts might finish cooking before others; just remove each one as it's done.)
  • Remove the chicken to a serving platter.
  • Add the artichokes, olives, capers, reserved lemon zest and most of the chives to the sauce. Stir for 1 minute until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the remaining chives. Serve with rice, veggie rice or steamed potatoes.

Notes

Make ahead and storage
The lemon sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead and kept in the fridge. Whisk to loosen before using.
The chicken can be seared and then stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before proceeding to cook and make sure they reach 165°.
The final dish can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm over low heat on the stove.
The final dish can also be frozen in an air-tight, freezer-safe container or baggie for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
 
Substitutions and variations
  1. You can replace the chicken breasts with boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts. If they're very small, they might not need as much time to cook all the way through.
  2. You can replace the artichokes with broccoli florets (fresh or frozen and thawed) or asparagus spears cut into 2" chunks.
  3. You can replace the Kalamata olives with your favorite pitted olives.
  4. You can omit the capers if you don't like/have them. You might need to add a pinch of salt to the sauce - taste before serving.
  5. You can omit the red pepper flakes if you don't want the spiciness. Or add more if you really want some spiciness.
  6. You can use unsweetened almond milk instead of coconut milk but the sauce won't be quite as thick (and will taste a bit almond-y).
  7. You can use any fresh herb instead of chives: parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, tarragon, oregano and thyme would all be good. You'll still need about 2 tablespoons of the chopped herb.

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