Chicken Toscana is one of my favorite Italian dishes but the heavy cream used in the original recipe sends me running (quite literally). Coconut cream is a great dairy-free substitute for heavy cream and makes this dish not so scary in terms of health!
This dish would go great with some freshly baked bread, roasted veggies, and/or angel hair pasta. If you’re looking to pair this dish with a nice wine I recommend a dry, citrus forward Chardonnay with a crisp finish.
Try out the recipe and let us know what you think!
Dairy-free Chicken Toscana
Prep: 5 mins. Cooking time: 50-60 mins.
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 cup sundried tomatoes (not canned)
2 garlic cloves
3 skin-on chicken thighs (breast can work too)
2 cans coconut cream
olive oil (2-3 tbsp)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
seasonings to taste
red pepper flakes
fresh thyme (can use rosemary too)
Preheat oven to 380 degrees F.
Slice the onion into thin strips, zest the full lemon then cut in half (will use the juice from 1/2 lemon later), smash the garlic cloves and cut the sundried tomatoes in half. Then rough chop basil and parsley.
Score the chicken skin – take your knife and make slits across the skin making sure to only cut the skin and not the chicken meat itself.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add olive oil and then add chicken skin side down (you should hear some crackling)*. Cook until skin side is golden (about 5-7 minutes) then turn over and cook the meat side until golden (about 3-5 mins). Then, move chicken to a plate and collect the leftover oil in a separate bowl. (I recommend only seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper) *HINT: If the chicken starts to pop excessively and/or spray oil everywhere, your pan is too hot. Remove from heat, turn down heat to medium, and put the pan back on the stove once the “sizzle without mess” occurs.
Keep the heat on medium and add back in about 1/4 of the saved oil along with the sundried tomato, onion, garlic, the seasonings, and a small spring of thyme to the pan. Add in the saved oil only as needed, when the pan gets dry. Cook 1 min uncovered then reduce heat to medium-low and cover for an additional 3-5 mins.
Turn heat back up to medium and add in a squeeze of lemon + 1/4 cup of chicken broth and reduce. Once reduced, add another 1/4 cup of chicken stock + the coconut cream*. Turn off heat, stir, and add more seasonings if needed. *HINT: Once you’ve opened the can, scoop the cream out with a spoon and leave behind water.
Add the chicken back into the pan (skin side up), cover with coconut liquid and put in the oven.
Check temperature with a thermometer after 10-15 mins. Add another 3-4 tbsp of coconut cream + half the lemon zest. Add 2-3 tbsp water if the liquid seems thick (that way the water will evaporate instead of the coconut milk). Add the remaining thyme along with the basil to the top of the chicken and add the parsley to the liquid. Give it a quick stir and back in the oven it goes!
Check the temperature again in about 10 mins (chicken should be cooked by then – minimum of 165 degrees F).
You’re ready to serve! Garnish with some lemon zest and you’re ready to go.