Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a new family dinner recipe, and by that I mean an easy and delicious dish that everyone likes and is quick enough to make for a weeknight meal. This Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken recipe fits the bill, and there’s a bonus: You only have to clean one pan!

Thai peanut chicken breast on a bed of white rice served with cooked broccoli.

How to Cook Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken

This recipe originally appeared in my book, Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy, and it was called Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken. I made it a slow cooker recipe so that it could be ready at the end of a busy day. When I was pregnant and the mother of young children, knowing that dinner was already in the works was such a relief!

I thought it might be helpful to also include directions for stovetop cooking for when you want to make a quick meal with very little clean up, so I’ve included both cooking methods for the recipe in this post.

Also, feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast meat. Thighs are less expensive than chicken breast, and some people prefer their flavor.

I think peanuts make everything taste better, but If someone in your family has a peanut allergy, it’s good to know that the recipe also works with sunflower seed butter.

The level of spiciness is up to you.  The sauce gets its warmth from the ginger and the salsa, but you can also add cayenne pepper to take it up a notch.  The original recipe doesn’t call for cayenne, as it can aggravate the heartburn that pregnant women often experience.

Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken

This easy recipe can be ready in less than 30 minutes or cooked in a slow cooker.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, easydinnerrecipe, peanutbutter
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup tomato salsa
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons peeled, grated fresh ginger, and more if desired
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 4 lime wedges (optional)

Instructions

  • Slice chicken breasts into ½-inch thick pieces and season with the black pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  
  • Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned, turning each piece once.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper, if using, with a whisk. Add the salsa mixture to the skillet. 
  • Cover, and cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat or until chicken is fully cooked. 
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the skillet, and place on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce from pan over the chicken. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving (without optional ingredients):

  • Calories: 274, Total fat: 15 grams, Saturated fat: 3 grams, Cholesterol: 93 milligrams, Sodium: 619 milligrams, Carbohydrate: 8 grams, Dietary fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 28 grams, Calcium: 34 milligrams, Iron: 2 milligrams

Notes

Slow cooker instructions: 
Season both sides of chicken with black pepper. Place the chicken in the slow cooker.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper, if using, with a whisk. Add the salsa mixture to the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce from the slow cooker over the chicken. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired.

What to Serve with Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken

I serve this meal with a variety of side dishes.  Any type of rice, or rice or soba noodles, pairs well with the chicken.  Green beans, broccoli, and asparagus are also good choices to complement the flavors in the recipe, but use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

You can swap cooked, riced cauliflower for the rice or noodles for a lower carbohydrate meal.

If you choose to make this chicken dish spicier, fruit, such as honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon will help balance the heat, and they are also a good source of fluid.

 

Thai peanut chicken, white rice, and broccoli on plate.

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