Easy Chicken Thighs with Fresh Herbs, Greens & Olives

These chicken thighs with fresh herbs, greens and olives have so many wonderful flavors and textures and lots of good green veggies for you! Especially now as home gardens are starting to produce vegetables and herbs, this recipe is a perfect choice for a garden-fresh dinner. Made with scallions, Swiss chard, collard greens, cilantro, parsley, and olives, it is so delicious and easy to make in just one pot or pan. You can prepare most of the ingredients ahead of time, so it’s easy to assemble once you’re ready to roll for dinner.

I especially love the addition of lemon zest and lemon juice to brighten everything up and the combination of lemon and olives gives the dish a delightful tangy and salty contrast. As the dish bakes, it creates a wonderfully flavorful sauce, so I like to serve it over a base of creamy polenta to soak it all up. You can also serve it with rice, French bread, mashed potatoes, or even a soup spoon for mopping up the sauce.

Creamy Caramelized Shallot Polenta is the perfect base

The polenta recipe I like for this dish is remarkably simple and easy to prepare. Just sauté your shallots ahead of time, and when it comes to making the polenta, simply bring water, milk (or cream) and the shallots to a low boil, and slowly add the polenta or cornmeal, whisking as you go. The polenta thickens up very quickly. For this recipe, I make it with regular cornmeal for a creamier texture and a quicker polenta, but if you like the coarser polenta grind, that will be just as delicious.

Herbs, Greens & Olives

If you grow herbs and greens in your garden, by all means use whatever you have, but if you need to shop for them or go to the farmers’ market, then I’d say pick collard greens and Swiss chard for your hearty greens. they hold up very well while the chicken is baking in the oven. We love the rainbow Swiss chard, since it offers so many beautiful colors! You can also use spinach or arugula as part of your greens. For your herbs, parsley and cilantro are wonderful in this dish, but dill or basil would also be delicious. I like to use both the leaves and stems of the Swiss chard, and usually just the leaves of the collard greens.

As for olives, we are in love with Mt. Athos Greek olives, but they can be hard to find, so if you have trouble finding green Greek style olives, then Castelvetrano is an excellent substitute and sometimes we just start with them because they’re so yummy. I love to buy the olives already pitted, but I always carefully check them as I chop them, as there is almost always one olive pit in every jar of pitted olives! That can send you to the dentist in a hurry if you’re not careful!

The greens and herbs take some time to wash and chop, so allow plenty of time to prepare the veggies. This can easily be done several hours or a day ahead of time. Just store the prepared veggies in airtight containers in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. I like to get these ready well ahead of time, so when it’s time to get dinner on the table, it’s super quick. Browning the chicken and sautéing the veggies goes really fast, and then the chicken thighs only take 25 minutes or so to cook through. Remember to saute the greens just until they barely wilt and you can fit all of them in the pan before adding the chicken back in. They shrink fast and will continue to cook in the oven.

Chicken thighs with fresh herbs, greens & olives

Treks IMG 8921
One-dish chicken thighs with fresh herbs, greens and olives, seasoned with coriander and lemon zest – delicious!

Easy Chicken Thighs with Fresh Herbs, Greens & Olives

Chicken thighs browned and then cooked in a bed of lightly sauteed garden greens, fresh herbs and olives and lightly tossed with lemon zest and lemon juice.
Servings 6 Servkngs
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes


Chicken Thighs with fresh herbs, greens and olives

  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2+ cup olive oil, split (some for veggies + some for chicken – may need more for browning the chicken thighs)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 bunches green onions (use both green and white parts)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and coarsely chopped (or your favorite green Greek olives)
  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard
  • 2 whole lemons (1 juiced and zested and the other cut into 6 wedges for garnish)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth

Creamy Caramelized Shallot Polenta

  • 2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup parmesan or similar cheese, grated


  • Prepare your veggies. Slice the onions, mince the garlic, coarsely chop the herbs. Clean and trim the stems of the collard greens and Swiss Chard. Coarsely chop or tear into 2-3 inch pieces. Zest and juice the lemon. Set all of the prepared ingredients aside until ready to use. This can all be done several hours ahead of time.
    Treks IMG 8920
  • Preheat oven to 425 ℉. Blend 1/4 cup olive oil with the garlic, salt, and coriander. Rub this mixture on top and bottom of each chicken thigh.
  • Heat a little of the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven. Cook over medium high heat until thighs are nicely browned. Turn thighs over and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes. The second side does not have to be as browned. Remove chicken to a plate.
  • Heat a little more oil and cook the onions until translucent and just beginning to brown. Add chopped olives, cilantro, parsley, and lemon zest and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
    Treks IMG 8929
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, and slowly add the chopped greens a handful at a time, until all of the greens fit into the pan, tossing them with the onions and olives in the bottom of the pan as you go. Don’t over cook the greens, just cook them enough to fit them all into the pan. They should just be beginning to wilt. Gently toss greens, onions, and olives together.
    Treks IMG 8933
  • Nestle chicken thighs back into the pan among the greens. Pour chicken broth and 2 tsp. lemon juice over the top and bake for about 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
    Treks IMG 3090
  • To serve, spoon the greens over a bed of the polenta and place two chicken thighs on top. Serve with a lemon wedge on the side.
    Treks IMG 3122

Creamy Caramelized Shallot Polenta

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add shallots and cook over medium heat until beginning to caramelize. Add water and cream (or milk) and stir to incorporate shallots. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and slowly add the cornmeal a little bit at a time, whisking with each addition to combine.
  • Once the cornmeal is added, bring mixture just to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in grated cheese. (If you want to make the polenta ahead of time, reheat when you’re ready to serve and you may need to add just a little more liquid to make it soft and creamy again.)
Course: Main Course
Keyword: chicken thigh recipes, chicken thighs with greens, herbs and olives, one-dish chicken recipes, summer chicken recipes

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