Healthy Recipe: Chicken Marsala with Mashed Parsnips

Recipe by Becky Duffett | Photo by Erin Kunkel

Chicken marsala is a surprisingly simple one-pan dinner, folding together tender chicken, meaty mushrooms, and a savory-sweet pan sauce. Instead of pasta or potatoes, serve it with mashed root veggies, to keep those calories and carbs low. Reach for a dry marsala, and a good quality one, for the classic flavor. But you could substitute dry white or red wine.  


  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lb (1 kg) parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) low-fat milk
  • 1 lb (500 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup (2½ oz/75 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb (500 g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed but left whole
  • ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) dry marsala wine
  • ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) chicken stock, reduced sodium  
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus leaves for serving


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the parsnips to the pot and boil until tender when pierced with a knife, 15 minutes. Drain the parsnips and return them to the pot. Add the butter, milk, and ½ teaspoon salt, and mash until the butter has melted and the parsnips are mostly smooth. Set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, place the chicken breasts on a cutting board, and split in half to get 4 thinner pieces. Place the pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap, and using a rolling pin, pound to an even thickness. Remove and discard the plastic wrap. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Pour the flour onto a plate. Place a clean plate next to it. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge it in the flour, shaking gently to remove any excess. Repeat with all of the chicken, stacking the coated pieces on the clean plate.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Fry the chicken, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Continue to cook until firm and no longer pink at the center. Transfer the chicken to a plate, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm.

Return the pan to the heat and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they release their liquid and start to brown, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the plate with the chicken.

Return the pan to the heat. Add the shallots and sauté until softened, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, 1 minute longer. Add the marsala and chicken stock, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme sprigs. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half. Return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan and swirl to coat and warm through.  

Heap the mashed parsnips onto plates, and place the chicken on the side. Spoon the pan sauce and mushrooms over the chicken. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves, grind with pepper, and serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories 400
  • Protein 23 g
  • Total fat 15 g
  • Saturated fat 4 g
  • Carbs 42 g
  • Fiber 9 g
  • Total sugars 13 g
  • Added sugars 0 g
  • Sodium 410 mg

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