Chicken and broccoli rabe is a simple dish that combines garlicky sauteed broccoli rabe and pan-seared chicken cutlets topped with fresh mozzarella, cherry peppers, and a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Easy to make and perfect for when you're craving a lighter dinner or lunch!
We eat a lot of pasta in our house, but every now and again we opt for something on the lighter side, like chicken and broccoli rabe.
Sauteed broccoli rabe with chicken is a really simple combination but it's so good, especially when topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella and cherry peppers!
Many Italian restaurants or pizzerias in the NY metro area will often include a variation of this dish on their "lite" menu.
Our version is easy to make and requires just a few simple ingredients.
We hope you love this one as much as we do!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Remove and discard the bottom 1-2 inches from a bunch of a broccoli rabe. Chop the broccoli rabe into 2-inch pieces. Slice 10 cloves of garlic and slice 5 cherry peppers (after removing the seeds).
- Heat a large pan to medium heat, then add a ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil and the garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes or until golden.
- Add the chopped broccoli rabe to the pan with a ¼ cup of water and cover to allow the broccoli rabe to steam. After about 5 minutes the broccoli rabe will turn bright green and you can remove the lid and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes longer to allow the excess water to evaporate. If there is still too much water you can drain it from the pan.
- Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add half the sliced cherry peppers and mix together. Set the cooked broccoli rabe aside. Note: Bitter veggies like broccoli rabe and radicchio taste better with a good pinch of salt.
- Heat a large pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pat 2 pounds of thin-sliced chicken cutlets dry and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and sear for around 3 minutes per side or until browned and almost cooked through. Work in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan.
- Once the chicken is browned remove and set aside while you cook the next batch.
- Move the oven rack to the second-highest position and turn on the broiler. Distribute the chicken on a baking sheet then add a slice of fresh mozzarella to each piece. Note: Drying the fresh mozzarella off can help it melt more easily, though regular block mozzarella will melt much quicker and can definitely be substituted.
- Broil until the cheese melts (around 2-3 minutes) and watch carefully to prevent burning. To serve, place a large spoonful of broccoli rabe on a plate and top with the chicken and remaining cherry peppers. Finish by drizzling your best extra virgin olive oil on top. Enjoy!
Top tips for awesome chicken and broccoli rabe
- The broccoli rabe. For this recipe, we recommend chopping the broccoli rabe into 2-inch pieces. While you can certainly skip this step and leave the broccoli rabe whole, chopping it does make it much easier to eat.
- The chicken. To make this even easier, we recommend using store-bought thin-sliced cutlets but if those are not available, use whole chicken breasts, fillet them, and pound them until thin. Thin cutlets pounded to equal thickness will cook more evenly and faster.
- The cheese. We used fresh mozzarella for this recipe but you can also use shredded block mozzarella which will actually melt much better!
- The cherry peppers. If you don't like heat and prefer to not use cherry peppers, consider using sweet cherry peppers or roasted red peppers.
- Serving alternatives. We topped our extra chicken cutlets and melted mozzarella with a fresh tomato slice, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and some extra virgin olive oil (pictured below). This is just one delicious way to use any excess chicken cutlets!
More broccoli rabe recipes
If you enjoy broccoli rabe as much as we do, be sure to check out these other recipes!
- Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe - Garlicky broccoli rabe is sauteed and tossed with Italian sausage and orecchiette pasta.
- Sauteed broccoli rabe - The classic Italian side dish of broccoli rabe sauteed in garlic and oil.
- Italian sausage rolls - Pizzeria-style roll stuffed with broccoli rabe and sausage.
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For the broccoli rabe
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe bottom 1-inch removed then chopped into 2 -inch pieces
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 cloves garlic sliced
- ¼ cup water
- 5 cherry peppers seeded and sliced, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
For the chicken
- 2 pounds chicken cutlets thin sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ pound fresh mozzarella sliced thin
For the broccoli rabe
- Heat a large pan to medium heat then add the extra virgin olive oil and garlic. Saute until golden (about 2 minutes) then add the broccoli rabe and water and cover.
- Once the broccoli rabe turns bright green ( about 5 minutes) remove the lid and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes to evaporate the excess water. If there is too much water just drain a bit of it.
- Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste then add ½ of the cherry peppers and mix together. Set the cooked broccoli rabe to the side and move on to the chicken.
For the chicken
- Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pat the chicken dry then season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan (do not crowd the pan) and sear for around 3 minutes per side or until browned.
- Work in batches, adding a bit more olive oil as required.
- Turn on the broiler and move the oven rack to the second-highest position. Distribute the chicken on a baking sheet then add a slice of the fresh mozzarella to each piece. Broil until the cheese melts (around 2-3 minutes) watching carefully to avoid burning.
- To serve, place a large spoonful of the broccoli rabe into a plate then the chicken. Top with the remaining cherry peppers and drizzle your best extra virgin olive oil onto each piece. Enjoy!
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs can be substituted. You will need to cook them longer (about 5-6 minutes per side) than thin-sliced cutlets.
- Use either store-bought thin chicken cutlets or fillet and pound out chicken breasts to about a ½" thick. A thinly pounded cutlet will allow for even cooking and will only take a few minutes per side to cook.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave or on a stovetop over medium heat.
We really enjoyed this dish. Thank you
Hi Donna, thanks for the comment! So happy you enjoyed this one!