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Lemon Chicken Rice and Squash

This lemon chicken rice and squash is the perfect summer meal! It’s quick, easy, and has SO much flavor. The marinated chicken bakes on a sheet pan with the zucchini and yellow squash, and the seasoned lemon rice comes together while the chicken and vegetables are in the oven. Really, you can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less!

I love sheet pan meals–cooking most (if not all) of the meal on one pan at the same time makes cooking so simple. If you are looking for other sheet pan meals to add to your rotation, check out these chicken shawarma bowls with tzatziki, or these sheet pan chicken fajitas.

cooked marinated chicken on top of seasoned, sliced zucchini and yellow squash on a baking sheet

How to Make Lemon Chicken Rice and Squash

Marinade the Chicken

The most important part of this recipe is the marinade. Baking chicken in the oven has a tendency to turn out dry. By either marinating or brining beforehand, chicken stays EXTREMELY moist and full of flavor!

Make the marinade with some olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt, pepper, and a little bit of sugar. These flavors blend together together creating the perfect summer Italian-inspired meal! Both the rice and vegetables also add to these simple, fresh flavors.

Then, pound out the chicken until it’s 1/2 inch thick (about half the distance between your first and second knuckle on your middle finger, if you don’t have a ruler on hand). This will break down the fibers in the meat, making it more tender. The chicken will also bake evenly when it’s all the same thickness. If you don’t have a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken, use a rubber mallet. I’ve done this many times when I don’t have a meat tenderizer on hand! I usually cover the chicken with plastic wrap so I don’t have to worry about getting meat juice all over it.

You can also slice the chicken breasts lengthwise (like a hamburger bun). Either way, you want the chicken to be thinner in order to shorten its bake time. This will keep the chicken moist, and give the chicken the same bake time as the vegetables. However, I do prefer to pound chicken instead of slicing it to control its thickness and to make the meat even more tender.

Make sure to marinate the chicken for a MINIMUM of three hours, and up to eight hours. If you let the chicken marinate longer, that’s okay, just don’t marinate longer than twelve hours; the acid in the marinade will break down the meat fibers too much, making the chicken mushy.

Bake the Chicken and Squash

Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Add the sliced zucchini and yellow squash to a baking sheet and toss it with olive oil, salt, and pepper until they’re well coated. Spread out the vegetables in an even layer.

Lay the marinated chicken on top of the vegetables in one layer, rubbing some of the excess marinade on the chicken. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. If you have a meat thermometer, you’ll know the chicken is done once it has reached an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken and squash from the oven, and let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before slicing it, cutting against the grain.

Cook the Rice

In a sauce pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the diced yellow onion and saute for about 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Make sure to stir frequently, butter tends to burn easily. Add the minced garlic, lemon zest, salt, Italian seasoning, and long grain rice, and mix well. Saute for 1-2 minutes, and then add the chicken broth.

Turn the heat up to high, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Cover the sauce pan with a lid, and turn the heat down to simmer. Let the rice cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the stove, and fluff the rice with a fork. Then, gently mix in the lemon juice and fresh parsley. You can use about one teaspoon of dried parsley instead, but fresh will taste much better!

Serve the rice with the sliced chicken and vegetables immediately, and top it all off with some parmesan cheese. You can even add more fresh parsley, if you’d like.

If you try out this this lemon chicken rice and squash recipe, I’d LOVE to hear about it. You can leave a comment below the recipe box, or if you post a picture on Instagram, be sure to tag me! Getting any feedback on my recipes is both rewarding AND helpful as I write and edit recipes in the future. Enjoy!

Lemon Chicken Rice and Squash

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Maddie Saxey
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Marinade time

3-8

hours
Calories

676

kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs 2 chicken breast

  • 2 2 small zucchini, sliced

  • 2 2 yellow squash, sliced

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp 1 1/2 olive oil

  • 3/4 tsp 3/4 fine sea salt

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 ground black pepper

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 grated parmesan cheese

  • Marinade
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 olive oil

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 fresh lemon juice

  • 1 Tbsp 1 minced garlic

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Italian seasoning

  • 2 tsp 2 dried parsley (or 2 Tbsp fresh parsley)

  • 2 tsp 2 fine sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 granulated sugar

  • Rice
  • 3 Tbsp 3 unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 diced yellow onion

  • 2 tsp 2 minced garlic

  • 1 tsp 1 lemon zest

  • 3/4 tsp 3/4 fine sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Italian seasoning

  • 1 1/2 cup 1 1/2 long grain rice

  • 2 3/4 cup 2 3/4 low sodium chicken broth

  • 2 tsp 2 lemon juice

  • 1 Tbsp 1 fresh parsley, minced

Directions

  • Marinade
  • Mix together the marinade ingredients (except the chicken) in a large bowl. Pound out the chicken* using a meat mallet until it’s about 1/2 inch thick, then put them in the bowl, fully covering them in marinade.
  • Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but ideally 3 to 8 hours.
  • Sheet Pan Chicken and Squash
  • Preheat the oven to 425° F. On a large baking sheet, toss the zucchini and yellow squash with the olive oil, salt, and pepper until well coated. Spread out the vegetables in an even layer.
  • Lay the marinated chicken on top of the vegetables in one layer, rubbing excess marinade on the chicken. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (has reached an internal temperature of 165° F).** Remove from the oven, and let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before slicing the chicken, cutting against the grain.
  • Rice
  • In a sauce pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the diced yellow onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, (until translucent), stirring frequently. Add the garlic, lemon zest, salt, Italian seasoning, and long grain rice, then mix well. Saute for 1-2 minutes, and then add the chicken broth.
  • Turn the heat up to high, and bring to a rolling boil. Cover with a lid, and turn the heat down to simmer. Let the rice cook for about 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork, then mix in the lemon juice and fresh parsley.
  • Serve the rice with the sliced chicken and vegetables, topped with some parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • *Instead of pounding the chicken, you could also slice it lengthwise (hamburger bun style) to thin out the meat. However, pounding it will make the meat more tender, and give you more control on its thickness.
  • **Check the chicken after 20 minutes, it will likely be done. Chicken that’s this thin is very easy to overcook!

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