If you love a well-roasted chicken breast cooked rotisserie style, you’re in luck. Not only is this American staple wildly flavorful and inarguably convenient, but it’s also incredibly nutritious. Rotisserie chicken is loaded with protein and has much lower levels of cholesterol and saturated fat than you’d find in other meats, like red meat. For this reason, the American Heart Association recommends chicken, as well as beans and fish, as a source for lowering cholesterol and reducing the overall risk for heart disease. “Rotisserie chicken is a staple ingredient for many recipes for a few reasons, including flavor, convenience, and nutrition,” explains Gillean Barkyoumb, M.S., R.D. “Thanks to its cooking method, which involves the chicken being skewered on a spit and roasted over an open fire, it’s juicy and flavorful without being unhealthy.”
So long as you remove the skin and avoid any fatty pieces, rotisserie chicken can be an easy and healthy addition to just about any recipe. The best part, of course, is that it’s already cooked, so you can eliminate about 30 minutes of time from your meal prepping. Here are some of the top-rated rotisserie chicken recipes out there, according to registered dietitians.
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Shredded Chicken Enchiladas
This recipe by Barkyoumb is a healthier version of your regular enchiladas, thanks to the addition of rotisserie chicken and corn tortillas. “Corn is considered a whole-grain, and corn tortillas are generally smaller than flour tortillas to support portion control,” says Barkyoumb. “Also, this recipe does not overindulge on cheese to help manage calories.”
For the Shredded Chicken Enchiladas:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups enchilada sauce (see recipe below)
½ teaspoon sea salt, to coat the chicken
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, to coat the chicken
1 rotisserie chicken
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
½ cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded, divided
12 six-inch corn tortillas
½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, divided (plus more for garnish)
optional: Greek yogurt, for garnish
For the Homemade Enchilada Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 large tomatoes on the vine, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ cups low sodium chicken broth
To make the homemade enchilada sauce:
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the fresh tomatoes and garlic, and stir to combine. Cook for four to six minutes, until the tomatoes become softened.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients (tomato paste, low sodium chicken broth, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper) into the skillet, and continue to cook over medium-high heat for five minutes until slightly thickened.
- Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
To make the shredded chicken enchiladas:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and add the minced garlic to the enchilada sauce in a deep skillet and heat to a boiling over medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle sea salt and ground black pepper over the chicken breasts and then nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is completely heated, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce, set aside and let both the chicken and the sauce cool.
- Using two forks, shred the chicken breasts by holding one fork steady and slowly scraping the other fork, prongs faced backward, away from the other fork.
- Transfer the shredded chicken to a large bowl. Add half the enchilada sauce from the pan with the chicken, half the Monterey Jack and half the cheddar cheeses and the 1/2 cup of cilantro to the shredded chicken. Stir to combine.
- Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp cloth or paper towel and microwave on high for 15-20 seconds until pliable and warm.
- Grease a 9-inch x 13-inch casserole dish with olive oil. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the center of a tortilla. Gently, but firmly, roll the tortilla around the filling and place into the baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Lightly brush the exposed tortillas with olive oil. This will help the tortillas turn golden in the oven and will also help keep them from cracking. Place casserole dish in the oven, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until the tortillas begin to turn golden.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese over the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
- Place back into the oven for ten to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Healthier Rotisserie Chicken Salad
Since this recipe reduces out the usual mayonnaise base for Greek yogurt, it’s a healthier option with more protein. “The spices add a ton of flavor without a lot of calories,” says Barkyoumb. She suggests enjoying it over a bed of greens!
7 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup whole plain yogurt (Greek is great)
1/2 cup real mayo
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional: chopped parsley for garnish
- Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Gently fold with rubber spatula until all ingredients are well incorporated. Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Serve with crusty bread, crackers, or in a sandwich. It’s also delicious over a green salad if you’re looking to cut down on carbs. Keeps well, when covered and chilled, for several days.
Tortilla Chicken Soup
From her book Eating in Color, Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D.N., shares this perfect fall recipe starring rotisserie chicken. It’s brimming with colorful, nutritious ingredients, from black beans and corn to bell peppers and tomatoes. Make a batch on a Sunday and enjoy lunch for the whole week!
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, chopped finely
¼ teaspoon and ⅛ teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 32-ounce container low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup thawed frozen corn
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup low-sodium canned black beans, rinsed and drained
5 six-inch corn tortillas
2 cups cooked and cubed or shredded rotisserie chicken
⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
- Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat, then add the onion and cook for one minute.
- Add ¼ teaspoon chili powder and cook another three to four minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Next, add the garlic, jalapeño, and bell or poblano pepper and cook for three minutes more.
- Add the salt, black pepper, broth, corn, beans, and lime juice.
- Raise the heat to high, cook for five minutes, then tear one of the tortillas into small pieces and add it to the soup, along with the chicken. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) and place the remaining four tortillas on a rimmed baking sheet and brush them with the remaining two teaspoons olive oil.
- Sprinkle each with a bit of the cumin and the remaining chili powder.
- Cut each into quarters (a pizza wheel works really well) and bake for 13 minutes, until crispy and lightly golden.
- Add the tomato and cilantro to the soup and raise the heat to medium. Cook for three minutes.
- Serve hot, with the tortilla chips and avocado on the side.
Make meal-prep easy and fast with these simple rotisserie chicken recipes. Pick up a pre-cooked chicken at your grocery store to cut prep time in half and get healthy meals on the table in no time.
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