Inspired by Greek Spanakopita, this easy skillet chicken and spinach recipe with feta is the ultimate weeknight dinner cooked in 30 minutes.
After this pappardelle à la spanakopita recipe, which turned out soooo good, I knew I had to play with the concept of spanakopita for one more time.
And since chicken is a favorite ingredient of mine, a chicken skillet recipe that comes together in no-time was more than obvious!
This dish is perfect for a weeknight dinner since it can be made in less than 30 minutes and you only need one deep skillet to get the job done! You can serve it with thick slices of toasted bread with olive oil, tomatoes, and oregano (you can see how pretty they are in my baked eggs in potato nests post) or with some fluffy long grain rice in pot.
Oh, and I know I have probably overdone it with the toasted breadcrumbs in these pictures, but trust me this chicken tastes way much better than it looks!
As you probably know, spanakopita is the Greek word for spinach pie. It is usually made with phyllo and it’s one of the most famous Greek recipes.
Every time my mom wants to make it, she takes a walk to the country side and harvests wild greens and aromatics. Yes, she doesn’t just use spinach, because spinach has a rather neutral taste.
She wants depth of flavor, so she makes sure to gather a couple of different varieties of greens, other sweet, other bitter and some with an intense aroma. I won’t make you go and harvest wild greens and aromatics from the countryside, but I will ask you to get some leeks, a few green onions, a large onion, and some chives if possible.
And of course some good feta cheese!
The basic concept of this recipe was to make something like a spinach pie with chicken but without all the fuss.
For this purpose, toasted breadcrumbs are wonderful, because they save you all the trouble of managing the phyllo sheets and baking the pie while at the same time they provide all the taste that normally the phyllo provides but with less oil/fat (= fewer calories)!
Other than that, the chicken breasts are cooked with some olive oil and then get mixed with the ingredients typically used for filling the spanakopita.
You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free bread crumbs.
When sautéing onions, it is a common practice in Crete to add some water. This helps the onions not to burn, especially if using high heat.
Cook the chicken pieces in one layer without turning them until they brown well and caramelize from one side. Then flip them and continue until cooked through.
When adding salt, take into consideration the saltiness of the feta cheese.
Easy Skillet Chicken and Spinach Recipe with Feta
- 1 large skillet
- 1 cup breadcrumbs, ( use gluten-free if you can’t eat gluten)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon Nigella seeds
- 1.5 pounds chicken breast ((650 grams) skinless and boneless, cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 leek, ( chopped (the white and some of the green part))
- 1 onion, (chopped)
- 2 green onions, (chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chives, ( chopped)
- 4 cups spinach, (chopped (fresh or frozen))
- 1 cup feta cheese, ( crumbled or cut in cubes)
- Transfer 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the bread crumbs to a deep skillet and heat over medium/high heat, stirring constantly until well browned and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Add the sesame seeds and Nigella seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes more.Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet, transfer chicken pieces and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté over high heat until golden brown on one side without stirring, then flip and cook from the other side (about 3 minutes each side).When the chicken is cooked through, transfer it to a clean bowl and set aside.
- Transfer the leek, the onion, the green onions and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. If you notice the onion starts to brown too much, add a splash of water.When the onions and the leek are soft, add the spinach, the chicken, the chives, the salt, and the black pepper and cook stirring often until the spinach wilts down, about 5 minutes.Add the feta cheese and stir just until it starts to soften.
- Remove from heat, top with the bread crumbs and serve.
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