Chicken parmesan is always a crowd favorite, but sometimes I want a dinner that’s a little lighter. This lightened up healthier chicken parm recipe is so simple and the flavor is delicious.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that you won’t even miss the mounds of mozzarella, piles of pasta or the sauce. Even though we have a traditional chicken parmesan recipe that is fantastic, I think we prefer this healthier version. I love how light and fresh it tastes and the chicken is crazy moist. It’s nice to have a meal where you can still eat great tasting food without feeling weighed down and completely stuffed afterwards. I think everyone should make this parmesan chicken!

a photo of a golden breaded chicken breast sitting on a white dinner plate topped with salad greens and a lemon vinaigrette and shaved parmesan.

What is Parmesan Chicken?

Parmesan chicken (or chicken Parmesan or chicken Parmigiana) is a dish that consists of breaded chicken breast covered in tomato sauce and mozzarella, parmesan, or provolone cheese. Parmesan chicken originated in Italy. We are sort of breaking all the rules with this lightened up version except for the breaded chicken part, but it’s so dang good!

a photo of a thin breaded chicken breast that has been sliced into with a bite being removed with a fork. the chicken has salad greens and shaved parmesan on top.

Ingredients for Lightened Up Chicken Parm

For being so delicious, there really aren’t many ingredients in this recipe. Here is what you will need:

For the Chicken:

  • Chicken Breasts – boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have been pounded out to about 1/4 of an inch
  • Flour – just all-purpose flour
  • Kosher Salt – adds flavor
  • Black Pepper – freshly ground
  • Eggs – extra large, if you don’t have extra large eggs, you might need one extra egg
  • Water – combined with the egg to make an egg wash for the breading of the chicken
  • Bread Crumbs – seasoned, you can also use Panko
  • Parmesan – freshly grated to add to the breading, I also like to shave some to place on top of the dish
  • Butter – unsalted
  • Olive Oil – good quality
  • Salad Greens – I love a combination of arugula and spinach, washed and spun dry

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • Lemons – fresh squeezed juice
  • Olive Oil – good quality
  • Kosher Salt – adds flavor
  • Black Pepper – adds flavor and little bit of spice

The measurements for all the ingredients can be found at the end of this post in the recipe card. You can also save or print the recipe from there.

a photo of a lightly breaded golden chicken breast sitting on a white dinner plate topped with salad green, a lemon vinaigrette and pieces of shaved parmesan.

What to Eat with Chicken Parmesan

Since the whole idea of this dish is to keep things light, a side salad is a great accompaniment to the chicken. Our shredded brussels sprouts salad or even our cucumber tomato salad would both be great options. You can’t go wrong with a side of roasted veggies or some grilled asparagus

If you want to go really crazy, throw this on a toasted baguette to make a killer sandwich! Have you seen our garlic chicken parmesan sandwich?? 

Reasons You Will Love This Lighter Chicken Parm Recipe

  • Easy to Make – it’s as simple as breading a few chicken breasts, pan searing them and topping them with a simple salad and lemon vinaigrette
  • Ready in 30 minutes – from start to finish, you will have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less
  • Flavor – the simple breading on the chicken and the bold flavor of the lemon vinaigrette are exploding with flavor
  • Family friendly – the kids will think they are eating giant chicken nuggets and the adults always rave about how delicious the chicken is
a photo of a pan seared golden breaded chicken breast sitting on a wire cooling rack.

What Makes This Chicken Parm Healthier?

We already covered what makes a typical chicken parmesan recipe, so here are a few ways that this recipe has been lightened up…

  1. It is pan-seared and not deep fried.
  2. There’s no heavy tomato sauce coating the chicken.
  3. We have eliminated the piles of melted mozzarella and swapped it for a few pieces of shaved parmesan.

Can Chicken Parmesan Be Made Ahead?

This is one of those dishes that is best eaten fresh and hot. If the chicken sits for too long either before or after cooking it, the breading will get soggy. Since it only takes a few minutes to throw this together, there’s not really a need to make it ahead anyway. 

a photo of a golden lightly breaded chicken breast sitting on a white dinner plate topped with salad greens and shaved parmesan.

Sometimes I crave a quick and easy chicken dinner that is light and doesn’t leave me feeling super weighed down. This chicken parm recipe is that recipe for us and the best news is that the whole family loves it!

Lightened Up Chicken Parmesan Video

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More Healthier Dinner Recipes:

Lightened Up Chicken Parm Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


This lighter version of parmesan chicken is so simple and yet so delicious.  You'll love it!


Parmesan Chicken:

  • 4 to 6 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 Eggs, extra-large
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1 1/4 Cups Bread Crumbs, seasoned dry
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
  • Butter, unsalted
  • Olive Oil, good quality
  • Salad Greens for 6, washed and spun dry

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed, 2 lemons
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil, good quality
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground


For the Parmesan Chicken

  • Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
    4 to 6 Chicken Breasts
  • Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.
    1 Cup All-Purpose Flour, 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water.
    2 Eggs, 1 Tablespoon Water
  • On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.
    1 1/4 Cups Bread Crumbs, 1/2 Cup Parmesan
  • Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
    Butter, Olive Oil
  • Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.
    Butter, Olive Oil
  • Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette.
    Salad Greens for 6
  • Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast.
  • Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

For the Vinaigrette

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
    1/4 Cup Lemon Juice, 1/2 Cup Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper


Cooked chicken can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.


Serving: 1breastCalories: 552kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 42gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 1076mgPotassium: 666mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 191IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 161mgIron: 3mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 100 Family Favorite Easy Healthy Recipes

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a photo of a golden lightly breaded chicken breast sitting on a white dinner plate topped with salad greens and shaved parmesan.