A sheet pan Italian chicken dish that combines flavors of the Mediterranean with seasoned, browned vegetables and crisply roasted chicken thighs.
The sweet flavor of roasted cherry tomatoes pulls this whole dish together, and the heat of the ingredients wilts the arugula at the very end of the cooking process.
I freaking loovvvvvvvve a good sheet pan recipe that pulls a number of different textures and flavors together- as evidenced in this recipe, this one too, and of course the two sheet pan cookbooks I’ve written #notbeingmodest
The different flavors and textures here are what pulls this dish together
Cherry tomatoes almost melt in the high heat of the oven, and once the dish is transferred from the sheet pan to a serving dish, they act as a light tomato sauce.
Fennel is a great vegetable for sheet pan roasting; the licorice flavor of fresh fennel deepens, adding an extra sweetness with caramelization.
The arugula added at the end of this sheet pan italian chicken recipe is the real star here. Its bitterness is mellowed by wilting from the heat of the sheet pan and it adds an extra vegetal crunch to the final dish.
Can I swap any of the ingredients for something else?
If you don’t have fennel, other root vegetables, sliced thin, will do as a swap; in the winter I’ll use parsnips or carrots. In the spring, baby potatoes make a good substitution.
No cherry tomatoes? If you’ve got big tomatoes, like vine or beefsteak, chop them roughly to use instead. One pint of cherry tomatoes should equal about 2 large tomatoes, chopped.
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How can I prep it ahead of time?
This dish makes a great prepped meal; prep and store the chicken, seasonings, fennel, and tomatoes in a large sealable freezer-safe bag until ready to cook (can last up to 3 months in the freezer)
Typically, fresh tomatoes don’t handle well after they’ve been frozen. They take on too much extra moisture during the chilling and thawing process and the texture doesn’t taste right afterwards.
But that difference in moisture doesn’t make as big a difference when those same tomatoes will be roasted, as they are in this recipe.
That means this sheet pan italian chicken recipe can be prepped in its entirety, and combined in the same bag or container and stored in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to cook.
Thaw the ingredients lightly in the fridge or freezer before spreading them on a sheet pan to cook. If the ingredients have been frozen and then thawed, they might need a few extra minutes in the oven to caramelize, so keep an eye while the dish is cooking.
Serve this recipe with something starchy on the side, like a loaf of crusty bread, smooth polenta, or even mashed potatoes.
Sheet Pan Italian Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Fennel
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken thighs
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1 fennel bulb trimmed and sliced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 ounces arugula
- Slice the fennel into strips and toss with chicken, seasonings, and tomatoes. Store in a resealable bag or container.
Prepare From Prepped:
- If frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400*F and spread contents of the bag with the chicken on a sheet pan, leaving a few inches of space between the pieces of chicken.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fennel has begun to brown, the tomatoes have wilted, and the chicken is completely cooked through, is no longer pink when you cut into it, and registers 160*F on a meat thermometer.
- Remove from the oven and toss with arugula, letting the heat of the cooked ingredients wilt the greens.
Make From Fresh:
- Preheat the oven to 400*F.
- Combine the dry seasonings, chicken, cherry tomatoes, fennel slices, and olive oil in a large bowl and toss until the chicken, tomatoes, and fennel are evenly coated with seasonings and olive oil.
- Spread the chicken, cherry tomatoes, and fennel onto sheet pan, leaving a few inches of space between each piece of chicken.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until the fennel has begun to brown, the tomatoes have wilted, and the chicken is completely cooked through, is no longer pink when you cut into it, and registers 160*F on a meat thermometer.
- Remove from the oven and toss with arugula, letting the heat of the cooked ingredient wilt the greens.
- Serve hot.