Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Admittedly, I’ve never actually ordered or eaten the Tuscan Garlic Chicken at Olive Garden but this knock-off recipe certainly made me think that if I could make something this delicious at home, there isn’t any reason to pay an arm and a leg for it at the ol’ O and G.

A lightly breaded chicken breast is nestled on a bed of pasta and is adorned with a creamy, flavorful sauce decked out with spinach and red bell pepper. Seriously tasty. What I love about this recipe is that the chicken is lightly browned in a skillet with a smidge of olive oil and then finishes baking in the oven. Calorie cut – check! Also, the original recipe calls for a whopping two cups of cream and while I do love me some heavy cream, I tried subbing out some of the cream with a combination of lowfat milk, a touch of heavy cream and a bit of cornstarch. Worked wonders. Calorie cut – check again! I’d insert a big old “Go Me!” here except for the fact that this meal still is far from calorie free. Take it for what it is and relish in the few calories that did get nixed, right?

If you have a craving for tender chicken, hearty pasta and an unbelievably tasty creamy Parmesan sauce, this is the meal for you, baby.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

What To ServeDivine Breadsticks or Cheesy Garlic Bread
Steamed vegetable like broccoli or peas
Simple green salad (or something more fancy like this Gourmet Green Salad)

One Year Ago: The Best Barbecue Sauce
Two Years Ago: Skillet Chicken with Broccoli, Pasta and Parmesan
Three Years Ago: Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Yield: Serves 4-6 (depending on if you are serving adults or kids)

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Note: if the chicken breasts you are using are overly thick, you can butterfly them, cutting all the way through so you end up with two thinner cuts of chicken breast. Second note: I would say this recipe is right on the edge of just having enough sauce but not an overabundance, so if you like things on the saucier end of the spectrum, feel free to double that part of the recipe.


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound fettuccine


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.
  3. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through (they’ll finish up in the oven). Don’t scoot the chicken around once you lay it in the hot oil! Let the oil work it’s magic to sear the crust on the chicken. If you get all antsy and try flipping too early and/or moving the chicken around the pan, the breading is lightly to fall off. Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente. Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
  6. When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted from More of America’s Most Wanted Recipes

111 Responses to Tuscan Garlic Chicken

  1. Natasha Thompson says:

    Wonderful recipe! I’m glad you had this in your newsletter! Thank you! I left out the spinach and cornstarch. I served broccoli on the side and it was great! We love your recipes so much!!

  2. Kira says:

    This was so good. We waited too long to try this one! Came together quickly and easily. Looked beautiful too- love that. Due to your sauce comment, I only cooked 3/4 a pound of pasta, and that was perfect for us. I also used spaghetti noodles- just a preference. Thanks for another quick, delicious and beautiful meal.

  3. jessica hapak says:

    Hi Mel!
    I am going to make this tonight and go to the grocery store when my law classes get out. Is there a way to nix the cornstarch and use more flour? Let me know, please. 🙂

  4. kelly says:

    I don’t know what I did wrong since I have made several of your other dishes and loved, but this was super bland and just milky. We threw out the leftovers, which was such a shame since I had doubled the sauce and threw out a lot of expensive ingredients. Followed the recipe exactly, though.

  5. Katie says:

    I combined this recipe and another that used roasted potatoes instead of the pasta, and it was delicious. I roasted the potatoes at 450 for about 30-40 minutes before placing the chicken on top. I used fat free half and half and it worked great. I have a bit of sauce left and will make another meal with sautéed shrimp and pasta. Yum!

  6. Debby says:

    Made this recipe tonight. It was well loved. My hubby likes lots of sauce, so I just doubled it and it worked out perfectly! Thank you again and again for saving dinner!

  7. Roma says:

    I made this last week along with your Divine Breadsticks. It was a fabulous meal! My kids are requesting the breadsticks again, but unfortunately the link is no longer working and I can’t find the recipe anywhere on your site. My kids will be very sad if the recipe is gone.

  8. Brittany says:

    I made this last night and it was fabulous! It tasted like I had ordered it from a restaurant! Great recipe I will definitely be making again!

  9. Robyn says:

    Made this for dinner the other night. Delicious! My husband was raving about it. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Stacy says:

    This was absolutely delicious and VERY easy to make. My family loved it!

  11. Diane says:

    Yum! I only used about half as much pasta and so I didn’t need to double the sauce (hah!). I will play with the seasonings in the breading next time (because there will be a next time) mostly so it tastes better without the sauce – for my picky eater. Thanks for another excellent recipe, Mel!

  12. jay says:

    I made this for lunch this week and it was yummy!! I love how you used milk to make this light….a little cream goes a long way :). I made some changes – I used half chicken breast and half thighs, while the chicken was baking I threw in the peppers to roast (delish!), I added some Cayenne pepper to the flour for the chicken to spicen things up and lastly added mushrooms (I don’t make anything without them!). Looking forward to making this again next week :D.

  13. Holly Tuttle says:

    Mel! I just made this with quinoa instead of pasta and it was amazing! Like knock your socks off good. I stuffed myself with the stuff and my kids gobbled it up. The quinoa with the sauce is just a perfect combination. My one year old cleaned her plate. Since you are always promoting quinoa (we got into it a couple years ago for a min. and haven’t had it again until tonight) I thought I would let you know, so you can try it yourself and at it to your quinoa list.

  14. Deb says:

    Doubled the sauce and used penne instead of fettuccine and it was AMAZING! Used a box of frozen spinach, well drained, and it was a great way to up the veggie factor without changing the flavor.

  15. Irma says:

    I tried it the other day and it was soo good. My mom doesn’t really like italian food but this dish she absolutely loved! We wanna make it again tomorrow for a family gathering for easter 🙂

  16. […] 10th Breakfast: breakfast banana split** Lunch: taco salad Dinner: Tuscan Garlic Chicken** & […]

  17. Andrea says:

    I made this tonight. Delicious! I found your blog via Pinterest and now I’m hooked! I also love your tips for raising adventurous eaters as I have a very picky one year-old. Thank you!

  18. Danielle says:

    Great recipe! A bit more complicated than I originally thought, but well worth it. Thanks for sharing!

  19. JesusFam says:

    Amazing! Definitely worth raving about! Had to double the sauce because it just went to fast! Great find! Thank you for sharing!

  20. This looks wonderful! So creamy and delicious! Just perusing your blog and I’m so happy I found it! Can’t wait to read more 🙂

  21. Geralyn says:

    Made this for dinner last night and we just loved it. It is a few steps, but none of them are difficult and it was worth it. I used chicken tenders, half and half, and left out the red pepper because I forgot to pick one up. Phenomenal! This will be my go-to for alfredo sauce. The spinach takes it to another level. Thank you!

  22. Natalie says:

    A bit more complicated than I was expecting as a novice college student cook, but came out really great! Thanks for the recipe! My boyfriend said it was the best thing he’s eaten in a while!

  23. Tina says:

    I made this for dinner tonight. Superb! …and not too difficult.

  24. Angie says:

    I made this for dinner today. It was scrumptious! Even the “I’m not big on spinach” guy ate an enormous portion. My 10 year old loved it too. Anytime I can get healthy vegetables into these people I’m thrilled. Thank you for the recipe.

  25. Bethany says:

    I made this for dinner tonight! It was very delicious. We all loved it. My family said it tasted like “restaurant.” You have wonderful recipes. I use your blog all the time. Thanks for all the great recipes.

  26. Maria says:

    This was SOOO delicious! I made it today for lunch! 🙂 Thank you for this quick, easy, and scrumptious recipe.

  27. Wendy says:

    This was amazing! I wanted to drink the sauce.

  28. MaryAnne says:

    I found your recipe on pinterest, and am so glad that I did. Everyone really enjoyed it. My son told me to keep this recipe. 🙂
    I didn’t have the heavy cream so I substituted half and half and it worked also, Thanks for sharing.

  29. Deborah says:

    Made this for dinner and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the very mild flavors. I didn’t have any fettuccine so I substituted wide egg noodles which the sauce adhered to beautifully.

  30. Torrie says:

    This was AMAZING! We did a substitute for heavy cream, and instead of putting the chicken in the oven, just pan fry it with olive oil and chop up the chicken into strips while cooking it. Once I removed the chicken and finished with the sauce, I added back the chicken. It was amazing. I will DEFINITELY cook it again! 🙂

  31. Deb says:

    Yum! Made this with the Zucchini Mozzarela Medley for a fantastic Italian meal. Came together really easily.

  32. Menu Plan Monday - Plate4Eight says:

    […] Sunday – Tuscan Garlic Chicken […]

  33. Tuscan Garlic Chicken - - Network Panda – cPanel Web hosting, PHP, MySQL, unlimited disk space and bandwidth says:

    […] http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2011/03/tuscan-garlic-chicken.html View more posts in: […]

  34. Danna says:

    OMG!! I made this for supper tonight. Best new recipe I have tried in a very long time. My 3 boys…and the hubby ALL went back for seconds.

    This one is a must try!!


  35. Judy says:

    Ok, I almost never follow a recipe exactly unless it’s a bread or cake so I tweaked this one as well. I added some sun dried tomatoes and valdelia onion to the red bell peppers and garlic and just sauté d them together. It was exquisite!

  36. Sarah G. says:

    Just made this last night for my husband and I. It was delicious and your directions were so easy. Thanks!

  37. Amy says:

    OMG – this is unbelievably good – I highly encourage you to make it.

  38. Jill says:

    I made this and everyone LOVED it. The sauce was amazing. I took other commenters’ suggestion of using the dredging flour for the sauce. Even my two daughters who don’t usually like any type of cream sauce or gravy loved it. I’m making this for the second time tonight without the chicken for a fairly quick meal.

  39. Jenni says:

    I made this last night. The chicken tasted great! The sauce was good too, but it needed more flavor to it. I would add dome salt, pepper and garlic powder. Other than that, I will be sure to make this again. It was fast and easy!

  40. Erika says:

    Made it for dinner tonight! It was delicious! 🙂

  41. adriana says:

    Just had this tonight and it was very good! Thank you for sharing.

  42. alex says:

    Made this tonight and it was perfect!!! So good!

  43. Kristen says:

    Mel, you are AMAZING! My husband was blown away by this recipe – it made me feel like a legit chef. The cream sauce was so flavorful, and the bell peppers were the icing on the cake.
    A friend recommended your website to me, and I’m hooked. Thanks for the great recipes!

  44. Claudia says:

    Would you have the nutrional values on this recipe?

  45. Shannon M says:

    To help cut calories, you can substitute all-purpose flour for coconut flour. Also, Dr Oz says to use Safflower oil instead of using EVOO. A lot less carbs and calories. Just a few more ways to keep cutting the calories… This looks wonderful and I’m eager to try it!

  46. Bridget Bergstrom says:

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe! It’s my new favorite and I’m making it for a 2nd time in 2 weeks!

  47. […] Adapted from: Mels Kitchen […]

  48. Carm says:

    ooops **how good *blush*

  49. Carm says:

    You cannot imagine hot good dinner smells and looks right now! Your blog has changed our life…from boring to gourmet! Thanks a bunch from the whole family! 🙂

  50. Angela says:

    Oh, yeah…and I did angel hair instead of fettuccini…as the Chicken Scampi dish is at OG. mmmm….

  51. Angela says:

    We finally made this tonight (I have been eying it for a while). The whole family LOVED it! I thought it was a lot like the Chicken Scampi at Olive Garden (never tried Tuscan Garlic Chicken). I doubled the sauce, as recommended (not the garlic, peppers, spinach or parm chz though), and used the leftover flour (seasoned for breading) as the flour for the roux. I would use breaded chicken tenders in the future for smaller chicken portions (or 1/2 the breasts) as it was a hearty meal. It is one meal I will definitely keep, and comes together in about 25 minutes (could be faster if you are good at multitasking while cooking), good for a last minute dinner.

  52. […] Tuscan Garlic Chicken adapted from More of America’s Most Wanted Recipes and Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  53. Amanda N says:

    I made this last night and it tasted delicious!!! However, my sauce didn’t quite come together as a sauce…it was kind of separated (especially after I added in the parm cheese). It still tasted good but just didn’t look that great and the sauce was not really smooth/creamy. Any help for when I try it again??

    • Mel says:

      Amanda – cream sauces made with a roux, like this one, can often separate if they are cooked at too high heat, so perhaps next time, err on the side of cooking on medium-low or low to prevent curdling or separating. Also, add the liquid slowly in each step, whisking really quickly. Good luck!

  54. […] Tuscan Garlic Chicken Picture courtesy of 'melskitchencafe.com' […]

  55. I finally made this tonight and it was amazing! Definitely a keeper! Thanks!

  56. tina says:

    My family (full of picky eaters) all loved this! Its the kind of dinner that makes me feel like a rock star! I

  57. […] This recipe is very labor intensive, but oh, so very, very, worth it! Call me if you have questions! […]

  58. yep, this looks fabulous! There are a lot of steps, maybe too many for me, but I will tuck this one away maybe for a sunday night dinner?

  59. Courtney G says:

    This was so good. I made it tonight. Thanks for another great recipe.

  60. Tuscan Chicken…

    I made this Tuscan chicken for dinner the other night, and it was absolutely amazing!! I changed the sauce portion of the recipe up slightly. Omitted the red pepper because my husband isn’t into that. Added about twice as much spinach as called for…

  61. CaSaundra says:

    I am always looking for new chicken dishes–yummy!C

  62. Heather says:

    I made this tonight and it was so good. Thanks for another great and easy recipe!

  63. Kelly says:

    I made this dish last night and it was delicious!!!! I’m new to your blog and I love it!

  64. Leah says:

    ok, this is my new favourite blog! This is the third thing I’ve made and it’s like the best thing I’ve ever eaten!

  65. Ashlee says:

    I love that I was able to make this whole meal for about $5 to feed 6 people, versus 1 serving at OG for $20. So good!! I made it with some savory herb breadsticks topped with Parmesan cheese and it was fabulous!

  66. Elise R. says:

    Delicious! I just bought chicken breasts that were on sale and was wondering what to do with them – this is the perfect solution! And thanks for the advice on how to cut calories. It’s amazing how easy it is – and as long as you stick to it, you’ll never know the difference!

  67. Dana says:

    I made this last night for my hubby’s birthday. It is absolutely delicious! The only thing I will change for next time is use Angel Hair pasta instead of Fettuccine, but that is just personal preference. I also made the Unbelievable Chocolate Cake with Magical Frosting..yummmo! Thanks for the recipes!

  68. Traci says:

    I’ve been stalking your site forever and tried so many recipes but never commented. I made this recipe last night for my family and it was awesome. I doubled the sauce and will do that again since it was just the right amount. Next time I’ll season the chicken more though, it was a little bland so I think I’ll add chicken seasoning to the flour mixture. My hubby added red pepper flakes to his plate and it gave it just a little extra kick without being over the top for people that like a little spice. Thanks for this recipe though, totally a keeper

  69. Stephanie says:

    made it! loved it! it’s a winner for sure!

  70. Farmgirl says:

    I made this for my family for supper last night and they all loved it! I love these kinds of meals when everybody is eatting and ooing and aaing and the nice thing is my picky 9 year old daughter even went for seconds so this recipe rocks our world! Thank-you!

  71. Wende says:

    I can’t wait to give this recipe a try…and soon! We love Olive Garden but love it even more when I came make their dishes at home….

    I shared this recipe on Must Try Tuesday…


    Thanks for another great recipe!

  72. Wendy says:

    Wow! Made this yesterday and it was to die for. I had 10 people to dinner and it was a hit with everyone. Served it with an OG salad (bought the dressing from OG and it is soooo my favorite), and some breadsticks and we felt like we were at Olive Garden. My father-in-law even offered to leave a tip. Seriously yummo! A little more time consuming than some recipes so I would never have time to make it on a weekday. My husband liked it so much that he has already requested it for his birthday dinner in a few weeks. Thanks for another great one Mel!!

  73. Susan says:

    Made this tonight. This is so yummy! I did have to double the sauce. I am doing weight Watchers and it is only 12 points for a serving. I even thought I was cheating. Thanks!!

  74. Sherry says:

    so YUM!!! Thanks!!!

  75. Vicky says:

    I made this a few days ago and it was so delicious! I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all week. I did double the sauce, which I think it a must and I’ll do it every time in the future. Thanks for sharing another great recipe! (I think I used half & half instead of cream, and it was still great.)

  76. Evelyn Ross says:

    Made this tonight…it is awesome! I added some green peppers, too (because I had them), and a little less spinach (because I’ve never fed that to my family before so I didn’t want to ‘overload’ them). Super yummy. I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

  77. Kimiko says:

    Made this last night…but had no milk! So, I HAD to make it the original way, with 2 cups of cream! And also threw in some frozen spinach since we didn’t have any fresh. But it was delicious! Love the flavor, and the red bellpeppers make it just perfect.

  78. Nicole says:

    OH MEL! If you weren’t so far away I would hug and kiss you right now! This is AMAZING! My favorite recipe of yours so far (even over sweet and sour chicken so that’s saying something). I love it so much I’m trying to think of how to make it into a lasagna so I can have that sauce in 2 meals. 🙂 Really though, amazing!

  79. Abby says:

    This sounds soo good! Thanks for helping us out by decreasing the calories, but I am planning to double the sauce so maybe that cancels out! Oh well 😉

  80. Cheri says:

    I love the Tuscan Garlic Chicken at Olive Garden! I can’t wait to try this at home. There’s nothing like cooking for yourself and your family. It saves tons of money and
    always tastes better!

  81. Zoe says:

    Looks delicious. I can’t wait to try this.

  82. I love that you slimmed this one down with milk. Even just a little cream adds some luxury without being so heavy.

  83. grace says:

    olive garden really has it made–they serve dishes that one can easily make at home and at super-inflated prices. i like your take on this, mel. forget the ol’ o and g. 🙂

  84. Oh my this looks delicious! Love the new site design too!

  85. Joyti says:

    I’m not a fan of OG…something about their food looks very fake and plastic-like to me…but this dish looks gorgeous. I am certain that your version is waaaay better – and healthier since its not full of preservatives – than the OG version.

  86. Sonya says:

    I made this tonight and it was a HUGE hit. Plates were licked clean. Thanks for another keeper!

  87. Stephanie says:

    Looks great, and I love the new look of the home page. Very stylish!

  88. foodiemom5kids says:

    This is a new favorite! Thanks for sharing. I like to use the chicken dredging flour for the Tablespoon of flour used for thickening, for a little extra flavor. Can take it out before you dredge the chicken. My fam isn’t big fans of cooked spinach (makes me think of swamp grass), so I chop it finely before cooking and it isn’t so stringy.

  89. Sue E says:

    Wow! This was amazing – made it for dinner last night – we loved it! My kitchen however, looked like a bomb went off in it by the time I was done cooking – ha! The clean up was worth it though – great meal!

  90. Cara says:

    This was AWESOME! A hit with the entire family. I doubled up on the sauce and had plenty. I butterflied my chicken breasts and used a lower carb pasta (Dreamfield pasta) other than that followed the recipe and it was so yummy. This will be making lots more appearances at our dinner table….thanks for the tasty recipe 🙂

  91. Erin says:

    YUM! I bet you could lighten it even more by not even doing the lite breading. Maybe marinate the chix (I love using a little bit of Brianna’s Real French Vinagrette to marinate) and then grill…. Just a thought. I am so making this over the upcoming weekend!

  92. Kim in MD says:

    I’ve never had the Tuscan Chicken at OG either, but I am making this recipe for dinner tonight! I just happen to have everthing on hand, so “what’s for dinner”? is solved! Thanks, Mel!

  93. Jessica says:

    Calorie nixing is your greatest gift. Including a healthy dose of spinach in our family’s meals is also appreciated.

  94. Susan says:

    Looks deeeeelish! Do you know if this freezes well? I’m thinking about making this into individual portions.

  95. I haven’t made a good hearty pasta dish for quite sometime (read just a few weeks) and I think that it is time I changed that by the look of this recipe!

  96. Daktari says:

    Is it the basil providing the green in this picture? You mentioned using dried basil, which usually doesn’t look quite this appetizing. That looks like fresh and makes me think it would be worth the extra expense for a great looking dish like this.

  97. holly says:

    This chicken sounds amazing!! I’ll be making it very soon I think;)

  98. Kim says:

    Adding this to next weeks menu for sure! Looks fabulous. I love that you cut down the calories. Thanks!

  99. Meghan says:

    This will be the next thing I make! Thanks for so many delicious dishes!

  100. AlisaSterner says:

    This looks amazing! I think this would be a great dish for having friends over, I’m saving it until then 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  101. Tami says:

    Wow! This dish looks delicious!! Beautiful, mouthwatering pics, too!

    • Donna says:

      A huge hit! My daughter sent me this recipe along with the Mediterranean salad recipe to serve at her birthday dinner party. I doubled the sauce recipe, used 4 very large breasts and sliced them horizontally to make 8. I did not use the red bell pepper. I find the flavor overpowering. Both recipes are keepers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *