CREAMY LEMON CHICKEN THIGHS WITH KALE AND CHICKPEAS


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Creamy lemon chicken thighs with kale and chickpeas is the perfect weeknight dinner that will leave you feeling cozy and satisfied every time you make it. The chicken thighs are juicy and flavorful, the lemon cream sauce is incredibly simple yet decadent, and the kale and chickpeas make for the perfect topping with a little crisp. This is a one-pan dinner (hello, minimal dishes!) that just makes life easier and tastier. It also happens to be gluten and dairy free!

Creamy Lemon Chicken Thighs with Kale and Chickpeas Ingredients

Chicken Thighs: For this recipe, you’ll want to use boneless chicken thigs for best results. You can either use skin-on or skinless chicken thighs, depending on your preference. I have found that skin-on thighs are a bit easier to crisp up, but you will still get a crisp exterior on the skinless thighs.

Spices: The spices that you’ll need for this recipe are very simple. All you need is salt, black pepper and smoked paprika. Combining the three makes for a great seasoning on pretty much anything. I also recommend using a bit of extra spice when you cook the kale and chickpeas for extra flavor.

Chickpeas: Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are used as a topping for this dish. While they are a great component of the dish, they are not necessary. If you choose to omit the chickpeas, this is a paleo-approved dish as well. Be sure to rinse your chickpeas with cold water before using for best results.

Kale: You’ll want to use de-stemmed, chopped kale leaves for this recipe. The leafy part of the kale is what you want to work with in order to get some crispy pieces to top off your chicken. You can omit the kale similarly to the chickpeas, or try subbing it with another green like spinach or collard greens.

Ghee: Ghee or butter is the base of the lemon cream sauce. I recommend ghee because it is a dairy free option that still gives you a buttery taste. However, feel free to use regular butter if you don’t have a preference. Alternatively, some extra avocado or olive oil will work as a substitute.

Garlic: Adding some fresh minced garlic to the sauce is a simple way to immediately upgrade the flavor of the lemon cream sauce. Let the garlic cook in the ghee for a few minutes until you can smell the flavors coming out. There really is nothing better than the smell of garlic sautéing!

Coconut Milk: Using a can of full-fat coconut milk in the lemon sauce is what adds all of the creaminess (and goodness in my opinion). I love using canned coconut milk in pretty much any sauce, as you guys probably know by this point. If you can’t find a canned option, coconut milk out of the carton will work, but will likely be thinner.

Lemon: For a strong lemon flavor, use an entire zest and juice of one lemon and put it directly in the sauce before bringing it to a simmer. The acidy of the lemon is a great contrast to the creamy coconut milk and makes for a delish sauce. Fresh lemons are best but you can also use a packaged lemon juice.


How To Make Creamy Lemon Chicken Thighs with Kale and Chickpeas

Step One: In a large pan, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season with salt, pepper and paprika, rubbing the spices all over.

Step Two: Carefully place the chicken thighs on the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, until browned and crispy on one side, then flip and cook for another 5-8 minutes. When the chicken is crisp on all sides, remove and set aside.

Step Three: Add the rinsed chickpeas and chopped kale leaves to the same pan and sauté to a crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Season with additional spices if desired, then set aside.

Step Four: Add the ghee to the same pan over medium heat and melt it. Add the minced garlic and cook until aromatic, then pour in the coconut milk, lemon juice and zest. Bring everything to a simmer.

Step Five: Once the sauce is simmering, reduce heat to low and add back in the chicken by carefully placing each chicken thigh in the pan. Top everything with the chopped kale and chickpeas and cook for a few minutes on low to reheat.

Step Six: Serve immediately for best results by plating the chicken and topping it with the lemon cream sauce and extra kale and chickpeas. Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.

If you try out this recipe, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below if you love it. You can also snap a photo & tag @jenneatsgoood on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews help support this blog and make it possible for me to continue to create healthier recipes!


CREAMY LEMON CHICKEN THIGHS WITH KALE AND CHICKPEAS

Recipe by Jenn Lueke
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Diet

Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

  • 1 +1/2 lbs boneless chicken thighs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed

  • 2 cups chopped kale leaves

  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter

  • 15oz can full-fat coconut milk

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • juice and zest of one lemon

Directions

  • In a large pan, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season with salt, pepper and paprika, rubbing the spices all over.
  • Carefully place the chicken thighs on the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, until browned and crispy on one side, then flip and cook for another 5-8 minutes. When the chicken is crisp on all sides, remove and set aside.
  • Add the rinsed chickpeas and chopped kale leaves to the same pan and sauté to a crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Season with additional spices if desired, then set aside.
  • Add the ghee to the same pan over medium heat and melt it. Add the minced garlic and cook until aromatic, then pour in the coconut milk, lemon juice and zest. Bring everything to a simmer.
  • Once the sauce is simmering, reduce heat to low and add back in the chicken by carefully placing each chicken thigh in the pan. Top everything with the chopped kale and chickpeas and cook for a few minutes on low to reheat.
  • Serve immediately for best results by plating the chicken and topping it with the lemon cream sauce and extra kale and chickpeas. Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.

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