Gluten-Free Chicken Recipe with Balsamic Peppers

Karina's gluten-free recipe for Italian pepper chicken
Balsamic chicken smothered in roasted peppers.

When it comes to big change I'm brave. I jump in feet first. In my small and particular universe it's easier to pinch your nose and hurl yourself off the edge than it is to stand there and think about it. That kind of anticipation is excruciating. Give me five minutes to think about all the things that can go wrong and I'll start making lists. And never budge an inch.

So I've learned to develop a social reflex- a Hell yeah, let's do it reflex. And in almost every circumstance this reflex has served me well (and if by some slim chance you need a list of when it has worked for me and when it has not, I've got it, filed away in my pictorial little brain).

It's the small day to day changes that can set me spinning.

The blips in routine. The interruptions of flow. The tiny changes that evolve over time into articulate curves on a chart. See this dot? This is where we used to be. See this dot? This is where we are now.

I struggle so intently on orchestrating my string of moments into some semblance of coherent awareness that within each moment I live so completely I fail to see the bigger sprawling truth. The truth that often blindsides me. I wake up to it like a child from a nap, rubbing my eyes and trying to center my bearings. I look at my aging hands and think, Whose hands are these?

I open the door to the blinding bright desert and realize I am not Georgia O'Keeffe, the weathered austere heroine in the books I devoured. I am not madly in love with the emptiness and isolation here. It does not inspire me. It steals from me. Tiny pieces day after day. The desert gnaws at me. It will leave nothing but bleached white bones. And a hip with three titanium screws.

I am trying not to feel as if I've failed somehow. Failed the desert. Or rather, some Georgia O'Keeffe fueled romantic idea of the desert. But the brittle, honest truth is- the desert does not feed me.

Karina's three year course in desert living: F

It's a good thing I can cook.

Karina's Easy Chicken and Balsamic Peppers Recipe

This a great make-ahead dish. Assemble it, cover with foil, and chill until you are ready to bake it (and add extra time to the baking- 10 to 15 minutes).


4 large ripe bell peppers: red, green, orange, yellow; cored and sliced thin
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup organic balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup or so chicken broth
6 fresh cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
4 fresh, organic free-range split breasts of chicken, rinsed and patted dry
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 375ºF. Toss the pepper and onion slices in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, fork-stir your sauce using: balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, olive oil, broth, chopped garlic, and herbs. Pour the sauce over the sliced peppers and onions and toss well to coat.

Place the split chicken breasts in the bottom of a baking pan sprayed with olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the balsamic pepper mixture over the chicken and arrange them evenly. Use every last drop of sauce.

Loosely cover the pan with a piece of foil and place in the center of a pre-heated oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Spoon the sauce all over the peppers and chicken breasts to keep everything happy and moist, recover it and continue to bake until everything is melt-in-your-mouth tender (depending upon the thickness of the chicken, and the size of your pepper strips, and your particular oven and altitude it could be an additional 10 minutes or 20 minutes). You want the chicken to be cooked through (no longer pink inside) and the peppers to be limp and soft.

Serve with a side dish of cooked rice or quinoa, brown rice pasta tossed in pesto, or creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp baby greens on the side.

Serves 4.

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More chicken recipes from food bloggers:

Ilva's Chicken Rolls with Red Onion, Balsamic Vinegar and Thyme
Braised Chicken, Peppers and Greens at Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Kalyn's Kitchen Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar
Andrea's Recipes uses apple cider vinegar in Maple and Black Pepper Chicken
Grilled Chicken Breast with Sauteed Peppers and Mozzarella at Life After Gluten
Simply Recipes Chicken Stew with Onions, Tomatoes and Dijon


Anonymous said...

K, I been a fan for awhile...and please don't fret that you're no longer where you want to be. Coming to these truths are often harder than the journey to your truest desires. Stay true to yourself and start planning the next recipe for your 'life'.
And can't wait to try this recipe. -Roxann (in Kodiak, AK)

Sue said...

Hi Karina,

I have been enjoying your site for some time now and recommend it to anyone who is struggling with how to eat gluten free. Thank you for adding some joy to the challenge of what-to-eat.

I wish for you, the same joy in your surroundings. I live in southwest Michigan so I can not profess any knowledge of the desert. I do love to dig and garden and so I am the recepient of many garden catalogs. One in particular comes to mind when you are despairing in the landscape engulfing you and this is High Country Gardens. This catalog specializes in xeric plants. There are pictures of beautiful desert gardens in textures and hues that any artist would be longing to paint. I don't know how you feel about digging in the dirt but if you are stuck with the house, maybe you can paint the earth around you and create a little peace to feed your soul.

Kalyn said...

A winner! And yet another beautifully written post. Fingers are still crossed.

Alisa said...

I feel your frustration, though I could never put it as poetically as you do. Though you are describing emptiness the whole passage is so alive with imagery ... but I do wish for you to find a more fulfilling home soon.

In the meantime, damn you CAN cook! That looks awesome, and like something that needs to be made in my kitchen very soon.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

This is just my kind of dish. I always have the seasonings on hand in the pantry, and chicken in the freezer. And I love the colors of the peppers, especially at this time of year when they look like Fall in New England.

fibrofood said...

Love your recipes, love your writing. Thank you for sharing yourself.

Jules said...


Have you ever made GF cinnamon pinwheels?? I just love them and is something I miss in GF life.

Rach said...


It never ceases to amaze me - how your words conjure up imagery in my own mind.

This recipe is going on my Must Do list.

RecipeGirl said...

I can't believe my hands are mine either ;)

This looks really great, the sheer colors alone would attract me to this recipe!

Becky said...

Karina: I love your posts and even if I didn't have to eat gluten free I would read your blog. I also want to thank you for sharing your love and frustration with the Southwest. You're living out one of my dreams, and coming to the same conclusion I suspect I would have. Visiting is different from living somewhere else. I've now crossed off living in New Mexico from my list. I do love the food and the weather but I'm not sure it would ever feel like "home." I could feel your energy come back when you were at the beach and I suspect you now know that is where you need to be. Maybe you could turn your current home into a vacation b&b for celiacs and live in California the rest of the time. Anyway, best wishes and good luck.

Karen said...

This is a household favorite of mine - we have eaten this regularly since I found it on your site some time ago.

Hang in there in your desert - my fingers are crossed you'll find a buyer...maybe when you least expect it, someone will come along.

vickys said...

Hi Karina!

After being a quiet follower for the longest time, I thought I'd srop you a note letting you know how much your work has inspired me to speak up about gluten free food and recipes through my new blog.

Thanks for everything!

amy said...

Hi Karina,
Love your blog and your writing. Thank you for contributing to my life. I left Colorado 5 years ago on a 2 month sabbatical to Scottsdale , I am still here. I do not love the desert either.

When I read your post I felt compelled to share a statement with you. If you had to live with your current situation, being in your existing home and staying in New Mexico, what quality would you have to develop to allow you to feel complete peace there?

When you have an answer know that as you develop that quality, you will reach a neutral space and be able to move on.

Also I sure hope you are doing something magnificent with your exceptional gift of writing beyond these blog posts.

Have a beautiful day!

Anonymous said...

Love reading your posts! It is the GF cooking that got me here in the first place, the delicious recipes keep me coming back, but it's your writing that makes me devour every single post.

Before bed every night I find 3 things from my day that I'm thankful for. Often the 3 items are so trivial - the feel of the lotion on my (aging) hands, the way my daughter looked at me for that single momnent while cooking dinner, and the sunlight on the trees outside the bathroom window. Even when I'm not exactly where i want to be in my life, those three small things change the mood of my life enormously.

Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free) said...

I am much like you - not being able to stand being stuck where I am unhappy. I went through that last year with a job and after a year of it I finally quit. I tried everything I could to make it work but in the end it just didn't.

I do understand the joy and peace you get from cooking - lately I've had some unresolved health issues and it's much like being stuck in that job I had, never quite able to get fully comfortable. So, like you, I cook. And thank God I can.

Mindy said...

Although I'm among the newly diagnosed and still healing (no whole grains, corn, soy, milk, tomatoes, peppers, coffee, or alcohol), I'm sooooo grateful that there are bloggers like you who are sharing your GF recipes and showing us that wonderful food is still possible.

I too transplanted to the desert. I from back east and moved to the southwest 20 years ago. I love how you describe the desert gnawing at you as I feel the same way! Yet, I remain here, missing rain and green and fresh seasonal veggies that don't have to be trucked in. The dream is to move Elsewhere, but as we all know (and my house on the market that hasn't sold yet), in this economy, some dreams have to be put off indefinitely.

judie said...

Ah, Karina, this looks and sounds soooo good I just have to try it.

Get yourself and ocean sounds cd and play it in the background all day, so even though you see desert, your mind will hear the ocean.

Bury that upside down statue of St. Joseph in your front yard. Even if you aren't a believer in this it is supposed to work.Can't do any harm.

Hang in there,that casita will sell.

Sigrid said...

Karina, My grand children are gluten and dairy intolerant so I found your website that way. I also love your rants. I live in Washington state and love the seasons it never gets to hot or to cold We lived in Ca. many years I loved it there also but here I have a larger piece of land and love to garden. I could not live in the desert either. Good luck with selling your home. Sigrid

Anonymous said...

Karina, I was just wondering if you used chicken breast with the skin and bones? Or was it boneless/skinless?
Thanks for the delicious looking recipe.

mamasitamaya said...

Hang in there Karina, things, undoubtedly, will change. They always do. I try to remember in stuck moments that there's always a great lesson in frustration and pain. And thank you again for another wonderful recipe!

Alexander Allrich said...

Hey! One of my all-time favorites. Made it the other night, in fact, and had a bit left over. Diced up the chicken and gave it all a quick stir-fry and served it up in some warm corn tortillas for lunch. Great stuff.

Mom said...

Hi Karina-
I've been following your joys, trials & tribulations this summer while making MANY of your terrific recipes. My Karina said she loves to take "credit" for yet another Karina meal or dessert on our table. :) She's not even the GF/DF family member.

I can relate to the call of the ocean...I need a beach fix every year or I get very cranky!

Scratch the "F"-This NYS certified teacher gives you Honor Roll status! You have poured yourself into such a productive & helpful role. Sharing your recipes has been an enormous help to us! Good, healthy, appealing, delicious...

I arranged to have my daughter tested through Meridan while we were out of state this summer. (They do not "do" NY) We just received the results, and are trying to make sense of them.

I would really like to run some questions about your experience by you, if possible. Can you retrieve my email address through here?
I totally understand if this is asking too much.

Wishing you a sold house & a sandy floor to sweep!

Southern Grace Gourmet said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! Can't get enough chicken recipes! we practicall live off chicken and fish. And I love to incorporate different colored peppers in recipes, I get a big bag of them at Sam's.

Cookin' Canuck said...

What a lovely, introspective post! Your recipe looks delicious and your photo is gorgeous. In other words, I'm a fan.

Melissa Peterman said...

Hello Karina,

We've selected you as our Featured Food Blog of the Day for tomorrow, Thursday September 24th! Your blog for Easy Chicken and Balsamic Peppers will be featured on the Foodista homepage for 24 hours. Since you are now apart of the Foodista Featured Food Blog of the Day Community, we have a special badge for you to display on your sidebar. Your email sent me to a 404 error, otherwise I would have emailed you directly. I'd like to get you the badge code if you are interested. Please send me an email and I'll email it to you right away. We are really enjoying your food blog!


Melissa Peterman

Rach said...

Grats on the Foodista Featured Food Blog of the Day!

Karina Allrich said...

Thanks, everyone for your comments. There is good news coming.



Karina Allrich said...

Susan- I used boneless chicken breasts but you could also use the bone-in style if you don't mind dealing with the bones.


kellypea said...

I just love how gorgeous peppers are in just about anything. This dish sounds so satisfying ; )

Laura said...

This looks like a great recipe, I am excited to try it!

Fibromyalgia and Faith said...

That looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

do you know if I can leave the Worcestershire Sauce out? or will the dish not taste good without it?
my grandfather had a heart attack, and we are cutting back on his sodium intake.

Karina Allrich said...

Yes, you can leave out the Worcestershire sauce. -Karina

Jen said...

I made this because it looked really good and healthy, not because it is gluten free, so I'm sorry if my comment doesn't apply to some followers. But, I have to share what I did with the leftovers! I added about a half a head of cauliflower to the pepper/onion mixture because I needed to use it up. I made homemade hot pockets using 2 leftover shredded up chicken breasts, pureed the veggies in my blender to make a healthy sauce, added a little bit of grated cheddar and some sriracha sauce. The family went nuts for them! I'm sure you could use gluten free bread mix to make them too though :) Got to enjoy this twice, thank you for sharing this recipe!

heatherja79 said...

You're a new discovery of mine and you inspire me by the way you marry my love of words and food/cooking!!

I've tried several of your recipes and look forward to exploring much further!!

Thank you!!!

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