Basil Chicken with Feta Slow Cooker Recipe

I'm sitting here munching on cold chicken (because it even tastes good cold!) while I'm typing. Adam and the kids are in the front room watching Star Wars (I don't know which one--- the one with the little Ewok guys) and I snuck out of the room to share our dinner.

Because you need to make this.

We've begun growing basil for the first time (well, we've tried growing basil before, but this is the first year it's actually producing instead of withering up while glaring at me). I'm pretty sure the difference between this year's basil bounty and previous crops are the gnomes. 

And maybe that I'm remembering to water.

The Ingredients.
serves 4-6 (4 grown-ups, or 2 grownups and a handful of kids)

2 pounds chicken thighs (mine were boneless, skinless)
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese

The Directions.

Use a 4-quart slow cooker (I used this one). Place the chicken into the bottom of your cooker, and add the entire can of tomatoes, and toss in the rinsed garbanzo beans. Sprinkle on green olives, add the basil leaves(I left my leaves whole) and crumble on the feta cheese. Cover, and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for about 3 hours. If you'd like to use frozen chicken, increase the time about 45 minutes or so. 

The Verdict.

I love how this is a dump-and-go recipe, yet the flavors are so layered and intense it kind of rivals restaurant food. There's a lot of juice accumulated in the bottom of the pot-- you can eat this as is or serve it over brown rice or quinoa with a ladle full of the juice. I served the kids with a box of gluten free cous-cous (it's made from brown rice) but I had mine grain-free because Elana and AndreAnna have piqued my interest in paleo style eating (I should note, though, that you need to omit the feta to keep to keep this truly paleo).

Enjoy your summer!

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at July 15, 2012

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What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous7/15/2012

    The basil looks lovely in your photos, but I can't actually find it in the recipe...? As it's still winter chilly in Australia, I'm going to add pesto and make this're books have saved my sanity, seriously!

  2. Kimberly V.7/15/2012

    Love this! Will omit olives because of my family members hatred of them (I happen to love them), but it sounds wonderful! Trying it this week!

  3. @alysonhill, oh no! you caught me while I was still editing--- you were super fast. :-) stay warm!

    @kimberly v., no worries on omitting the olives, there's plenty of juice and flavor without them.

  4. Hey, y'all know the trick where you make something in the crockpot that has way too much juice, and then add some broth to it and more veggies and other yummy goodness, and call it soup tomorrow night, right?

    One of my favorite things about these "chicken and" crockpot meals...I so have to try this one!!

  5. This looks so yummy! I'll definitely be making this soon as my basil plant is going crazy! Can't waste such a delicious treasure from the garden.

  6. Total yum on this one, Steph! Can't wait to try it, as I am crazy about basil with chicken. I also love the fact that it's a "sophisticated" dish. Sometimes I need those! :-)


    p.s. Mr. GFE who loves gnomes would say your gnome is helping your basil plant! ;-)

  7. I make this all the time with chicken thighs I call it Spanish chicken because of the Spanish olives- I dump all the olives and juice from a small jar it adds a lot of flavor- this is my go to meal with rice.

  8. Looks fantastic!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. We had this for dinner tonight. So good. The only problem I found was that the olives needed to be further down ... I ended up using a whole jar because the lid kept being lifted and olives stolen. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  11. There is nothing in this that I don't like!

  12. This sounds super yummy.

    I think it's the gnomes too.

  13. Wonder if you could use black olives. Favored over green. Keep on cooking (slowly)!

  14. Oh, this sounds so good and I have most of the ingredients: I see this for dinner tomorrow night. Thanks.

  15. It certainly does look delicious. I like to cook it for 6-7 hours like you said rather than 3.

  16. Have loved your blog for a couple of years now, thanks for ALL the wonderful recipes, lots of friends are followers now too. :-) Would it be possible to use turkey instead of chicken? Cooking my first ever turkey right-now and would love to have some crock-pot uses for it. THANKS!

  17. I'm so excited about finding your blog! I have recently discovered that I"m gluten intolerant--it has caused HORRIBLE DAILY migraines for years, but now I'm migraine free. Being a VERY BUSY teacher with this "condition", these crockpot meals are going to be a life saver!

  18. I made a 1/2 recipe of this in a 2 qt. crock for an early dinner before a movie. It's really yummy. Have leftovers for tomorrow :) after letting the variety of flavors infuse the chicken overnight. I sure wish a firm would make smaller cans (8 oz) of these veggies.

  19. This is a great recipe i tried this yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

  20. your blog has been a life saver! our oven went out last sunday and will not be fixed until wednesday. we have had a crock pot meal each night ~ five of them were from your blog. i made the white chili for my brother-in-law's birthday (i did add cooked shredded chicken to make it go farther). nothing like hosting a gathering and trying a new recipe too! thanks for a delicious recipe data base. i can't wait to try more.

  21. Debbie7/26/2012

    I made this and omitted olives. I had to pick out the basil after it was done, because it was not very appealing.
    The dish was very good, especially the chickpeas and tomatoes by themselves. This would be a good vegetarian dish if you left out the chicken. I used only half the feta cheese, but next time will use the full amount.

  22. Anonymous7/31/2012

    I made this last night for dinner-YUM! I made a few changes based on what we had- I didn't have enough fresh basil so I used some Penzey's Greek seasoning mix and used kalamata olives instead of green.

    With the leftover sauce-I took out all the extra chicken and most of the feta. I kept the sauce and chickpeas in the slow cooker, added a bag of lentils and some water, put it on low overnight and woke up to a delicious pot of Greek inspired lentil soup! For dinner tonight I think we will have the soup with some extra feta, vinegar and oil thrown on top.

    Keep your amazing recipes coming!

  23. I'm combining this with the Mediterranean recipe to make a full dinner. Then added frozen brussel sprouts. It's been warming for 90 minutes and already smells amazing when I lift the lid!

  24. Love this! Can't wait to make it for my guests on Thursday!

  25. This is awesome. I thought it was missing a flavor, though, so upon a second crocking, I added about 8 cloves of garlic to the top, sort of pushed them down a little, evenly dispersed among the feta/olives. A perfect addition! Very flavor-ful!

  26. I made this last night and it was very good. While it was cooking the aroma wafted through the house and a couple of people who stopped by commented on how good it smelled. I will definitely make it again, and at the suggestion of A.V. above, I will add garlic to it.

  27. Speattle8/28/2012

    I put it on around 1:20, on high, because I got a late start. Then about 2:30, I laid down for a nap. Husband woke me at 4:40 and wow, did it ever smell GOOD! I added the minced fresh garlic (2 little sections) to the pot on top of the beans, before the basil leaves.

    I tasted the broth (there is a LOT) and it has a bit of a spicy bite, probably from the tomatoes. I am not normally an olive eater/cooker with, but I did add the amount she said. For me it was 9 olives that filled a half cup measure. The broth is much saltier than I am used to, as I normally cool low sodium. I wanted to try the recipe as written, so I used the fire-roasted tomatoes and they are saltier as are the olives. I’ll have to warn my family that I actually used salty stuff in this recipe and to not automatically start salting at the table (they are used to my “no-salt” style and add it when they eat.)

    Like I said, there is a lot of juice, so I ladled off 1.5 cups, then added water to make 2 cups liquid and this is what I am cooking the rice in now.

    We are having this, rice, and just some fresh fruit for dinner.

    Then a little later:
    It was really, really good! I didn’t eat the olives, but they were nice for flavor. I’m glad I used the canellini beans instead of the garbanzo beans. I just like them better. The beans were delicious on the rice.

    Next day:

    Okay, I seriously LOVE this recipe. I have never used the boneless skinless thighs and I think they are better than breasts. Moister and more flavorful. Using the broth to cook the rice in was a great idea. I am not a rice fan, but this actually tasted pretty good. Even better with some of the beans scooped onto it.

    I would like to try this again, maybe sans olives. I think they added an interesting note to the flavors, but they are so salty I don’t enjoy eating them. Plus the tomatoes and the feta add a fair amount of saltiness that I normally don’t do. I think next time I will try it without the olives, and instead of plain feta, use the TJ crumbled feta with herbs. I might try it with the salt free tomatoes, but I really liked the chiles flavor in the sauce. I guess I could add a can of them instead.

    Another variation I’d like to try is using a jar of the red and yellow roasted peppers instead of the tomatoes. They are actually pretty low in sodium.

  28. I am sure the fresh basil is absolutely the best, but unfortunately, I don't have a fresh basil plant, and it is very expensive at the grocery store. Would dried work OK?

  29. Anonymous9/04/2012

    @Julie- I made this without fresh basil. I actually used a Greek herb seasoning blend from Penzey's Spices. I'm sure that dried basil would be great!

  30. Loved this dish. Added a little garlic and used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. This was incredible. Served over white rice . Thanks for this.

  31. Anonymous10/12/2012

    Just checked this blog(finally!)and mean to try this recipe.Sounds so good.Need to check my blogs!!!!I'll let you know the outcome.Thanks,Garry from Kentucky.

  32. This DOES smell amazing while it is cooking.

    It is in my crockpot right now. This is our second or third time to make it. Gosh, we love it!

  33. I loved this recipe! I used Trader Joe's olive tapenade and served with goat cheese sprinkled on top - it tasted very similar to Carraba's Chicken Bryan...yum!

  34. Hi, Stephanie! You are a rock star at our house -- and many of my fellow beauty consultants', because I keep sharing you!
    When you say to add 45 min if frozen chicken is used, is that for the low time or high? I assume low, so how much extra on high? Thank you for have no idea. :)

  35. Hi KatrinkaJane, thank you for the props! ;-)
    45 min for either setting is about right --- it takes that long for the pot to get up to speed and start to defrost the meat.

    enjoy your chicken!!

  36. This was terrific - but I couldn't help tinkering. I'm not a big green olive fan, and I had mushrooms, so I used those. Someone mentioned garlic, and I had some chopped onion ready, so I threw that it. Delicious. It occurred to me that artichoke hearts would be good in this too if it needed to be even more fancy! Thanks for another great recipe.

  37. Trying this for dinner tonight. I didn't have fire roasted tomatoes so I used a can of Italian seasoned and a can of plain white beans because we are not fans of garbanzo beans. Will take some advice from others and use the juice to cook the rice....can't wait to try it!

  38. SO YUMMY!!! I made this last night....I doubled the recipe but only used 8oz of feta and a 7.5oz container of fresh basil. I used chicken thighs, but removed the skin before cooking them. I also skipped the olives (personal taste). This was just so good!!!