This is a Paleo sun-dried tomato chicken thighs recipe. The chicken is tender and falls off the bones and the tomatoes add so much flavor. This recipe is Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and is good for a Clean Eating diet. It only takes 15 minutes to get started and then most of the cooking is done by your oven while you clean your kitchen, work, play or relax!
This chicken takes about 10 minutes to get started and then you have an hour or so to do whatever you want while your dinner bakes. This recipe has tons of positive reviews and lots of ideas for substitutions and variations in the post and comments so you can customize it to your liking.
I end up making this recipe a lot because I love that I can get so much done while dinner is cooking. The other day I listened to my daughter read her book, started a load of laundry, watered my plants and cleaned my kitchen. Plus, I love how it smells fantastic and tastes so good!
This is one of my personal favorite chicken recipes of all time. It's just a bonus that it happens to be healthy too! The sun-dried tomatoes add a lot of flavors and the chicken turns out so juicy and tender. It is a versatile dish that can be made for gathering or just for one or a couple of people. It's actually pretty impressive for guests.
If you haven't ever had sun-dried tomatoes, it's hard to explain the flavor, but they are really concentrated and really do taste like the sun. You can actually dry them yourself by putting tomatoes in the sun for a few days until all the moisture is gone from them.
They taste a lot better that way than if you just put them in the dehydrator. It's similar to dried apples. If you've ever had apples dried in the sun, then you will never like dried apples that haven't dried in the sun.
Everyone I serve this for loves it. And if you haven't tried coconut milk in a savory recipe, give it a try. I put it off for a long time thinking it would taste sweet and coconut-y and it doesn't. Well, maybe a tiny bit. But the only time I can tell is when there isn't much flavor in the dish. But this recipe has plenty of strong flavors to balance it out. Plus, it's really versatile.
Here are some substitutions and variations:
- The sun-dried tomatoes are so good, but not totally necessary. You can just leave them out or use something else with an umami flavor, like mushrooms or maybe peppers.
- You can use chicken breasts, chicken tenders or chicken thighs without the bones. Reduce the cooking time a bit so you don't overcook the chicken. I generally use the chicken thighs with bones because I think they have the most flavor, but sometimes when I'm in a hurry I use chicken tenders and it turns out fine.
- You don't have to coat the chicken with flour, although it does help thicken the sauce and give it flavor from the browning. But you could use chicken thighs with the bones and skins instead.
- Make your own sun-dried tomatoes by cutting cherry tomatoes in half and roasting them cut side up at 250 for 2 ½-3 hours)
- If you aren't on a dairy-free diet, you can substitute heavy cream for coconut milk .
- If you want to use canned sun-dried tomatoes, make sure to drain them and blot them with paper towels.
- Unfortunately, this recipe doesn't convert well to a slow cooker. You just don't get that deep roasted flavor. Maybe you could try starting it in the slow cooker and then finishing it off in the oven. I would love for someone to try and let me know if you know a secret to make it work though.
- Like the pot I used? I'm in love with enameled cast iron. They are pricey - but they last forever, make the food taste so good, are easy to clean and are perfect for dishes like this. (I actually got mine on a 50% off sale at the Le Creuset outlet store, so if you are lucky enough to live by one, check them out.)
- If you don't have one pan that you can use on both the stove and oven, just use a skillet on the stovetop and move it to a 9x13 pan with tin foil over the top.
Ideas of ingredients to add
If you want a little extra flavor and variety, try some of these ingredients the readers said they have enjoyed:
- Roasted red peppers
- Top with some Parmesan cheese - either regular or Vegan
- Green peppers
- Artichoke hearts
What to serve with creamy sun-dried tomato chicken
- It's good served with something to soak up the sauce, like zoodles , quinoa, cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, mashed or baked potatoes, quinoa , pasta or brown rice.
- Crusty bread is delicious dipped into the sauce.
- Cook some Roasted vegetables or butternut squash in the oven at the same time.
- Your favorite vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli or asparagus
Worried about it tasting like coconut?
Read these comments from readers - "When my husband asked me what was in it, I did not mention the coconut milk , because I thought he would object. Instead, he raved about how good it was and really liked it! I did too. For any reader who is concerned, as I was, about the coconut milk …. there is zero coconut taste. It’s just creamy, deliciousness, with a lot of flavor. "
"I also must say that after 5 years eating paleo that I’ve conquered my fear of coconut milk in a savory dish and I could not taste one bit of coconut in it."
Will this work in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker?
While you CAN cook it in either, I'm sorry but I don't recommend it. I know. It would be awesome if you could but it doesn't get the deep, rich flavor you get from roasting it in a dutch oven. If you want to try it in an Instant Pot , One reader reported success with this comment -
"The Instant Pot crowd will be happy to know that 10 minutes pressure cook on the poultry setting with instant release does the trick after you brown the chicken and sauté the onions and spices as directed. Then cook for another 5-10 minutes on sauté with the lid off to reduce the sauce, if you like."
This chicken was amazing. The clean eating/dairy free aspect doesn't change the quality or taste whatsoever. So good. There is about 15-20 minutes of prep work, but after that, it cooks in the oven and is fall off the bone tender.
- ¼ cup Unmodified Potato Starch (or Tapioca Starch or Corn Starch if you don't eat Paleo)
- 1 Tbsp Real Salt
- 1 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
- 8 Chicken thighs (bone-in, skin removed)
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
- 1 Yellow Onion (Sliced thinly)
- ¾ cup Sliced Sun-dried Tomatoes (not packed in oil)*
- 1 Tbsp Garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning (oregano, thyme, parsley)
- large pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 13.5 oz can Coconut Milk
- 1 cup Chicken Stock (or Broth)
- Basil (shredded, to top)
- Mix together the potato or tapioca starch, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Toss the chicken thighs in the mixture until fully coated.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Heat 2 T. of the Olive Oil in a large oven-proof frying pan or ceramic coated dutch oven. Add the chicken, four pieces at a time, and brown on each side. When the chicken is all browned, remove it and set it aside.
- Add the remaining 1 T. of oil to the pan and heat to medium/high. Add the sliced onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, Italian Seasoning, and red pepper and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add the coconut milk and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Add the chicken back into the sauce, scooping the onions and tomatoes over the top of the chicken. Try to fit the chicken in a single layer, if possible.
- Cover pan with a lid (make sure it is oven safe) and place it in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. After 45 minutes, reduce the heat to 300 and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and top with shredded basil just before serving.
Recipe calculated using 1 chicken thigh per person. On average, 8 chicken thighs with bones will weight about 3 pounds, much of which is bone. I calculated this recipe for 8 servings. So if you eat a different amount, say 2 chicken thighs, then double the nutrition facts.
You may also use chicken thighs without the bones, chicken breasts or chicken tenders. The cooking time will be slightly less. Set a timer for 20 minutes earlier than the recipe states and check for doneness every few minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
* If you can only find sun-dried tomatoes in oil, just do your best to pat off the oil with paper towels before adding or leave the equivalent amount of olive oil from the recipe.
Keywords: tender, flavorful