This Chicken Pizzaiola recipe has chicken slow cooked with marinara and wine over healthy spaghetti squash. Perfect for make-ahead lunches, this is a meal prep chicken recipe for healthy eating during your busy week.
Why this recipe works
Contrary to what you might think from the name “Pizzaiola”, pizzaiola is an Italian classic where chicken, beef, or veal is braised in marinara and wine, usually white wine.
Real pizziaola also does not have pepperoni, and it isn’t a pizza-fication of chicken, beef, etc. Also, “pizziaola” should not be confused with “pizzaiolo”, which is a person that makes pizza in a pizzeria.
Confused? Don’t be! All that matters is that this recipe is easy, healthy, gluten-free (if you care about that), and made for meal prep. With loads of protein (43 grams!), fiber, vitamin A, and calcium, and under 400 calories per serving, this recipe is here to help you reach your goals, all week long.
About the ingredients
- Chicken. I used lean chicken breast, but boneless skinless chicken thighs could be used as well.
- Seasonings: kosher salt, garlic powder, dried minced onion, and fresh cracked black pepper.
- Marinara sauce. I prefer homemade marinara sauce, but store-bought can be used as well. If purchasing sauce, be sure to get a good one.
- Red wine. I used Cabernet, but any dry, full-bodied red wine will work. Red wine brings depth of flavor, which is especially appreciated if using a purchased sauce. For a substitute with no alcohol, use low sodium chicken stock. If using my homemade marinara sauce, omit the wine here because my recipe includes it already.
- Spaghetti squash. A single squash gives off a surprising amount of “spaghetti”, so I opt for one a little smaller than average sized.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Great Northern beans. Beans are good for you, but they can add calories quick so I didn’t use much. Just a sprinkling on top for their creamy yumminess and fiber.
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese. Parmesan has robust flavor, so a little goes a long way without adding much fat or calories.
- Fresh basil. If not available, opt for Italian (flat-leaf) parsley as an alternative.
How to make slow cooker chicken pizzaiola
For the pizzaiola chicken
How is this for easy… put the chicken, seasonings, marinara sauce, and wine in a slow cooker, and … wait for it,,, turn it on.
This is literally all there is to my slow cooker pizzaiola chicken. After 4 hours on high (or 6 hours on low), shred the chicken up using a couple forks.
For the spaghetti squash
The hardest thing about making spaghetti squash is splitting the dang squash open. So carefully use your large, sharp chef’s knife to do it and be so careful doing so. Alternatively, use a smaller serrated knife and work your way around the squash to cut it open. Or use a chainsaw. But always be careful.
Once the squash is split, use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and soft center flesh. Brush the squash inside/cut-side with olive oil and place cut-side down on bake sheet. Use a fork to then prick the skin all over to allow steam to escape as the squash cooks. Bake for 30-40 minutes in a 400°F oven.
Putting it together
To assemble for meal prep, simply parse everything out into containers. Preferably these should be microwave safe, BPA-free containers, although one could always transfer to a plate for reheating when the time comes to eat.
In each container, layer spaghetti squash, chicken pizzaiola, beans, parmesan, and basil. That’s it!
Note that if you feel your chicken is a little dry (this is lean chicken breast after all), add a couple additional tablespoons marinara when you assemble your meals. Just know that this will add more calories, salt, and sugar, if you do.
The oven is the easiest, but it does take a bit of time. not a big deal for this recipe, since we are slow cooking the chicken anyway, but if a faster way is needed you can use the microwave or air fryer to cook the squash.
Yes, just be sure to get boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
Chicken Pizzaiola over Spaghetti Squash
For the chicken pizzaiola
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried minced onion
- pinch fresh cracked pepper
- 1 cup Marinara sauce homemade or store-bought
- ¼ cup Cabernet red wine
For the spaghetti squash
- 3 lb spaghetti squash
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the meals
- ½ cup Great Northern beans rinsed and drained
- 5 tsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Make the chicken
- Put the chicken pizzaiola ingredients in a slow cooker, sprinkling the seasonings over the chicken before adding the marinara and wine.
- Cook on high 4 hours or low 6 hours. Shred meat.
Roast the squash
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds.
- Brush the flesh with olive oil and place cut side down on rimmed bake sheet. Prick skin all over with a fork.
- Roast squash at 400°F for 40 minutes.
- Once cool enough to handle, use a fork to fluff and shred the squash into spaghetti-like strands.
Assemble the meals
- In each of 5 meal prep containers, layer squash, chicken, beans, parmesan, and basil.
- Refrigerate until time to eat, then microwave 1-2 minutes to heat up.
Calorie count is purely an estimate calculated using an online application to serve as a guide and not to be taken as accurate nutritional information. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.