Low-Calorie Chicken Marbella Recipe

This is an update on a classic recipe from “The Silver Palate Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, published in the early ’80s.  I received a copy from a friend’s mother in the mid-’90s after I complimented her version of Chicken Marbella.

The cookbook was a housewarming gift when I took my first job in Atlanta and was a very welcomed gift since my cooking skills were pretty limited.  This cookbook was my introduction into a world of new flavors and new ingredients and very influential in inspiring me to cook and love food.

I hadn’t thought about this recipe in years – then while browsing the web reading recipes (I read recipes like other people read news or gossip) I stumbled upon an updated version.  That chance encounter inspired me to find my old cookbook and create a lower calorie, healthier version of Chicken Marbella.

When I made this for my husband he loved it!  And couldn’t believe I’d been holding out on him.  This is now part of our monthly rotation and is the dish he wants me to cook whenever we host friends for dinner.

I hope you enjoy this updated version!


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Updated Classic Chicken Marbella - Lower Calories + Healthier

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Resting time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 347kcal
Author: Kelly DiMascio
Low-Calorie Silver Palate Chicken Marbella. Delicious, low-calorie braised chicken with white wine, olives, dried fruit, and capers. The updated healthier version reduces calories without sacrificing taste and adds a nice bit of citrus by using preserved lemons.
Print Recipe


  • 5 T extra-virgin olive oil - good quality first-press Italian
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 T capers - drained
  • 1 T oregano - fresh, chopped
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olive spread*
  • 1/4 cup olive tapenade*
  • 3/4 t Himalayan pink salt - divided
  • 4 chicken breast halves - bone-in, chicken breast, skin removed
  • 3/4 t black pepper - fresh ground
  • 16 garlic cloves - peeled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 24 pitted olives - a mix of green and black olives like Castelvetrano or Kalamata
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 1 preserved Meyer lemon - cut into 1/4-inch slices*


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Preheat a glass or ceramic baking dish large enough to accommodate 4 chicken breasts
  • Whisk together 1/4 cup oil, vinegar, capers, Kalamata olive spread, olive tapenade, oregano, honey, and 1/4 t salt; set aside
  • Pre-heat a deep flat-bottom skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat
  • Heat 1 T oil in a sauté pan over medium-high
  • Season skinless chicken breast with salt and pepper to taste
  • Add chicken to pan, breast side down, and sear until well browned about 9 - 10 minutes
  • Remove chicken; cover and set aside
  • Add garlic cloves to pan drippings
  • Cook, stirring frequently until garlic is lightly browned and beginning to blistered, about 2 - 3 minutes
  • Add wine cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes
  • Stir in olives and figs
  • Add chicken, breast side up to the preheated baking dish
  • Pour garlic wine mixture over the chicken
  • Pour vinegar mixture over chicken
  • Place lemon slices on top of chicken breasts
  • Cover and bake at 350°F 40 minutes
  • Uncover and bake until liquid has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes
  • Add a couple of turns of the pepper grinder to each chicken breast
  • Let sit loosely covered for 5 minutes
  • Serve warm


Serving with Suggestions
Serve with simple roast potatoes or add cubed potatoes or baby red potatoes cut in half to the baking dish prior to adding the chicken. Place chicken on top of potatoes and cook per remaining directions.
To make this a meal, serve with a simple green salad, crusty Italian bread to soak up the amazing sauce.
*I buy the Kalamata olive spread and the olive tapenade at Whole Food from the Olive Bar. 
**I buy the preserved lemon at Whole Food from the Olive Bar, but you can easily make your own.  You can also just use fresh Meyers or regular lemons.
I've also made this recipe using 1 Meyers lemon and a Cara Cara Orange and it was delicious. 
I like the following preserved lemon recipes:
Jamie Oliver's salt-preserved lemons- this recipe takes 1 month
2 Methods of preserved lemons from AlexandraCooks.com - 1 method takes 2 weeks the other 1 month
Quick Preserved Lemons
- this method only takes an hour, the flavor isn't as complex but if you need preserved lemons in a hurry this can work.


Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 1010mg | Potassium: 787mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 5.5mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 2.2mg
Did you love this recipe? Please Share!Mention @MermaidsandMojitos or tag #mermaidsandmojitos!



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