Healthier Indian Butter Chicken

Yesterday afternoon I ran my first 5k distance outside!

I usually run on the treadmill and, for whatever reason, I find running outside a lot more difficult. I actually took two short walk breaks, but I still completed the 5k with a decent time. My walk breaks didn’t seem to slow me down as much as I tend to think they do. I’m pretty confident I could do it the whole thing without walk breaks and get a faster time. Now I just have to decide which upcoming 5k to sign up for!

This morning I came across an article called “The 6 Foods Every Runner Needs to Eat“. They include quinoa, bananas, sweet potato, beans, non-fat greek yogurt and flaxseed. I eat plenty of almost all of those, with the exception of beans and flaxseed. I still have a slight aversion to beans, but I’m slowly overcoming it :).

One of those runner foods happens to be the key to my amazing recipe for Healthier Indian Butter Chicken.

Can you guess which?

Greek yogurt of course!

The traditional Indian Butter Chicken recipes call for tons of heavy cream – I’m talking like 3 cups! I nixed all of that cream out and replaced it with a 6 oz plain non-fat Chobani greek yogurt and a little 1% milk. I also cut the butter down from sixteen tablespoons to a mere two tablespoons. Much healthier! And it tastes just as good, if not better. Luke repeatedly kept saying “this is really good” as he was eating.

You may think making an Indian dish is super complicated, but other than waiting for the onions and chicken to cook, there isn’t too much involved. You do need a somewhat foreign spice to make this – garam masala (pretty much the one essential spice you need to cook Indian food). You can usually find it at the normal grocery store, and trust me, you’ll use it again if only to make this dish :).

First chop your onions, melt 1 tbsp of butter on a pan and caramelize your onions over medium low heat, stirring every couple minutes for about 15 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

In the meantime, chop up some veggies (I usually use carrots but we had some parsnip that needed to be cooked soon too).

Then melt a tablespoon of butter in a large pot over medium heat, reduce to medium low and add tomato sauce, yogurt, milk, spices and onions and stir to combine.

Add your chicken, carrots and parsnips (or whatever veggies you are using) and cook over Β medium low heat for about 30 minutes, until veggies are cooked to your desired tenderness and chicken is cooked through.

It’s not the prettiest, but it’s incredibly tasty!

You can serve it garnished with parsley to enhance the look :).

Healthier Indian Butter Chicken

Serves two with leftovers (probably could serve 3-4)


  • 2 boneless chicken breasts sliced into bite sized pieces (1 lb)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2.5 tbsp butter, divided
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced *you can use other veggies too*
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz plain non-fat Chobani greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cayenne *use less if you don’t like spicy stuff*
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Chop up your onion, carrots and parsnip.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp butter on a skillet over medium heat. Add your onions and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring every couple minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Heat the other 1.5 tbsp of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low and add the tomato sauce, milk, yogurt, cooked and caramelized onions and spices (including salt) and stir to combine.
  4. Chop your chicken into bite sized pieces.
  5. Add the chicken, carrots and parsnip to the sauce. Cook at a simmer over medium low for about 30 minutes, until the veggies reach your desired tenderness and chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve with rice or another grain and enjoy!
This entry was posted in Fitness, Gluten-free, Indian, Recipes, Running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Healthier Indian Butter Chicken

  1. I think your butter chicken is VERY pretty! πŸ™‚ I’ve actually never tried making homemade Indian food (unless you consider those bottled sauces from Whole Foods + chicken homemade πŸ˜‰ )

    Congrats on running your first 5k outside! I find running outdoors more difficult too…The uneven terrain/ changing elevations actually requires more energy!
    Sara @ Nourish and Flourish recently posted..Cardio(less)My Profile

  2. This looks delicious and easy! I can’t wait to try it! I always want to make Indian food at home, but it’s always a little intimidating. Plus Chobani is AWESOME!
    Katy @ HaveYouHurd recently posted..The Truth About ReubensMy Profile

  3. Congrats on the 3.1!!! We have a really similar pace, actually, from what I can tell – and yes, those walk breaks are total gift!

    • Caroline says:

      Thanks! I’m hoping to be able to nix the walk breaks in the next couple weeks before I do a race, but even if I can’t I’ll still finish with a decent time. I hope you reach your 30 minute goal! That might be what I aim for too..we’ll see.

  4. Nikole says:

    Congrats on the outdoor 5K! I usually run indoors, but I’ve just started running outside and I find that I run farther and faster outside than I do on a treadmill. Pacing seems to be a challenge outside– the sidewalk doesn’t keep me at a steady pace like a treadmill does. πŸ™‚

    Also, the Indian Butter Chicken looks amazing, yum! I’m excited to try it– it’s my kind of meal!
    Nikole recently posted..Elephants are SexyMy Profile

    • Caroline says:

      Thanks! I agree – my pace tends to be faster outside too. But I still get tired more easily! I think I just have to get used to it.

  5. Yeah, for your first 5k distance!
    This dish looks incredible!! YUM! Definitely going to make this.
    Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian recently posted..Champagne and Bubble GumMy Profile

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  7. Lisa says:

    My husband and I are runners and both love Indian food but hate the fattening ingredients. I came across your idea to use less butter and greek yogurt so I”m going to try it next time. The only thing I would suggest for more of a butter chicken flavour and less of a curry flavour is that you drop the curry from the recipe and just coat the chicken cubes with tandoori masala. It tastes more authentic that way.

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  9. Kkelsey says:

    Awesome recipe thanks! I was thinking you could definitely cut up some sweet potato in there and serve it on quinoa as a way to work in a couple more of those 6 essential foods that runners should be eating! Also, using coconut oil instead of butter provides much more health benefits and I feel even contributes to the taste of the dish!! πŸ™‚

  10. Kelley says:

    This was delicious!! Will definitely make again!

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