Broccoli, Chicken, and Almond Sauté

One of the things I love about cooking is how some ingredients, tossed together on a whim, can turn out unexpectedly well. Like two people meeting for the first time, instantly recognizing they will be friends forever (has that ever happened to you?) Dear broccoli, meet toasted almond, and her friends grilled chicken, sesame oil, and red chili flakes. You are all going to get along swimmingly.

This was one of those what-can-we-put-together-for-dinner-with-what-we-have-on-hand meals that was a surprising success. We almost always have broccoli in the fridge, because it keeps well, and I could eat it practically every day without tiring of it. Toasted almonds are another well-loved pantry item—great for snacking, and good for you too. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are usually not my favorite (give me bone-in, skin-on thighs any day), but they are wonderfully convenient when you want a quick meal. No fuss.

The big “ah hah” with this dish? Broccoli and toasted almonds are meant for each other. With a little sesame oil and chili flakes, you don’t even need the chicken, so feel free to skip it if you want to go meatless with this one. But, it’s great with the chicken too.

Broccoli, Chicken, and Almond Sauté Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

The amounts are estimates, adjust to your taste.



  • 1/2 lb to 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Your favorite spice rub for grilling (optional)
  • 1 lb broccoli florets
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes (more to taste)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Put a 2 quart pot of salted water (about 1 Tbsp of salt) on to boil. While the water is heating, start the chicken cooking in the next step.

2 Place the chicken breasts in a bowl and sprinkle seasoning on all sides. Use at a minimum some salt. Or if you have a favorite spice rub, you can use that too. Heat a grill pan, or prepare a grill, for high, direct heat. (If you don't have a grill pan or grill, use a cast iron skillet, and only season the chicken with salt.) Rub some olive oil all over the chicken breasts. Grill the breasts for a few minutes on each side to get some nice char marks, then lower the temperature to low and leave on the grill until the breasts are just almost cooked through. They'll cook a little longer in the sauté pan, so they can still be a little pink in the middle at this point. Remove from pan or grill, set aside for a minute, then thinly slice.

3 Once the chicken has cooked and the water is boiling, add the broccoli florets to the salted boiling water. Allow the water to come back to a boil, and once boiling again, let cook for about 1 minute. Drain.

4 Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan on high heat. Add the red chili flakes. Once the red chili flakes are sizzling, add the broccoli florets, sliced grilled chicken, and toasted almonds. Drizzle dark sesame oil over the broccoli and chicken, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss and cook until all of the chicken pieces are no longer at all pink in the center, a minute or two.

Serve immediately.

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  1. Living The Sweet Life

    It’s the simplest of cooking methods and flavors that bring out the richness of food – – I adore anything with broccoli, so this is definitely a win in my books.

  2. Kay

    I’ve just outgrown my childhood hatred of broccoli (membories of being forcedto eat it…and I’m now 57 yr. old!!). I began eating broccoli when I learned a simple recipe for broccoli-cheese soup. This looks great..broccoli, chicken and almonds sound like a great combination.
    Thanks, Elise!

  3. Kiran @

    The best and delicious foods are usually the simplest to prepare. I love this combination of ingredients. Quite similar to a recent stir-fry in my kitchen :)

    ps: Miss you and so glad we got to spend some time at FBF Orlando :)

  4. josette

    I have tried your great recipes several times and they always come out so delicious.
    Thank you

  5. shawn heneghan

    Looks tasty. One word of caution, however. Don’t let your partially cooked grilled chicken sit for a long time. And be sure to treat your cutting board and utensils as though the chicken were raw.

  6. Becki

    I’ve done a side dish of broccoli with almonds, but what a nice idea to make this a one pot meal with the chicken, or maybe just have a little side of noodles in a simple garlic butter sauce to go with it. And I totally agree with you about chicken breasts; they’re convenient but thighs have so much more flavor! I wish my husband agreed with me …

  7. Kristen Hess, The Artful Gourmet

    Thanks for this great simple recipe! Love all the ingredients..will definitely make this!

  8. T. Hannibal Gay

    It’s a nice combination that I’ve made before, sometimes with almonds and the next time with cashews. The only problem with only cooking it in oil is the dish is very dry. A 1/4 cup of chicken stock with a little bit of corn starch thoroughly mixed in before its heated is a nice way to moisten it up. I’ve never tried it with chili flakes – sounds awfully good.

  9. Bummer

    I’ve been doing variations of this great dish for a few years. I also use chicken thighs and add broth and corn starch, and in early summer when my grape tomatos begin ripening I split them in half and throw in a handful during the last minute of sauteing.


    That’s my favorite way to cook. especially when you need to use up some veggies in the frig. Stirfrys are always a hit.

  11. mantha

    Ah, how pretty! Photo is almost as good as eating. Love sesame oil and red pepper — I do something almost identical with long, thin string beans. This makes me think of a hint of lemon — maybe a little in the chicken grilling stage with the rub, or the lightest sprinkle of fresh juice over the dish just before serving.

  12. Alan

    This looks fantastic and something I’ll be trying very soon. One question though, you mention if using a cast iron skillet to only season the chicken with salt. Is this because other spices may burn/blacken in a cast iron skillet or is there another reason?

    Yes, that is the reason. ~Elise

  13. Jill

    This looks good — I’ll try it tonight, without the chicken, as a side for our steaks.

    On another note, I love your site! I must have already tried about 20 of your recipes and they’ve all been great. :) Tomorrow I’m making the chicken breasts in a mushroom sage sauce. Thank you, Elise!

    You are very welcome Jill! ~Elise

  14. KJill

    This is a really good one. So simple but with so much flavor. I like that there isn’t a ‘sauce’ because it means I don’t feel like it needs to be served over a pile of carbs. That said I did add about 1/2 cup of leftover brown rice when I threw in the almonds which added another chewy crunchy note. It was just enough that DH said he didn’t feel like he was missing a carbohydrate side dish and we made it a one pan supper.

  15. Kim Bee

    This is a wonderful recipe. I love chicken with broccoli. I am going to try this over some black rice I picked up in Orlando. I wish I had met you while at the FBF conference. The weekend was a whirlwind. My first one so I think I spent the weekend like a deer in the headlights. So much fun and learned a ton. Hoping to go to Seattle in June. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to come up and say hello!

    Hi Kim, sorry to have missed you, please do say hello in Seattle! ~Elise

  16. Barbara Halliwell

    A quick dinner with good flavor. I cooked the broccoli ahead and toasted the almonds that same time so later I just needed to saute the chicken. At that point I put all on a cookie sheet and heated it in the oven. A low-calorie dinner.

  17. Dizzle

    I’ve made many recipes from this website to great success. But I have to say, this one sucked a lot. I just made it and it was super bland. I should have known that it would come to this based on the ingredients.

    Sounds to me like you didn’t use dark sesame oil. It’s impossible for a dish to be bland if you use that oil. ~Elise

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