Coconut Basil Chicken with Rice Gluten Free

Who doesn’t like basil? It’s so fragrant and green and lovely. Beautiful in a garden, better on your plate.

flickr photo credit, izik

Well, okay. Bunky doesn’t, and I’m sure there are a few other people out there. Truth be told, I didn’t always love basil. I grew into it. Sort of like how I grew into loving tomatoes, though that took going to Greece and eating Greek salad three times a day. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I didn’t have to go to a gorgeous foreign land to figure out how much I like basil. It just happened one day. I tried it, and I liked it.

I try to explain this to Bunky, who is in a VERY picky eater place right now, but she just looks at me like I’m an alien and says her new favorite word: Gross. Which, incidentally, she says she learned from me.

Still, this meal is so good, I don’t let her keep me from making it several times a week. My husband doesn’t mind. He LOVES this meal. To keep the small human happy, I set aside a plain piece of chicken for her – as she is also anti-sauce – and if I call the coconut rice “white rice” she will eat it all up. Coconut is gross, she says. But we all know that is simply not true.

Moving along, here is the recipe. Feel free to tweak as you like. Sadly, my husband is also picky in a stomach-issues kind of way, so I often omit other yummy ingredients such as onion, garlic and fresh ginger (sigh) and it’s STILL really great. Sometimes I “accidentally” throw in one clove of garlic. Just because. You understand.

Gluten Free Coconut Basil Chicken 

This version has string beans, but you can use whatever other green veggie you have on hand. Or none. Because basil is enough.


2 pounds skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 strips, or cubes, or not cut at all *
2-4 tablespoons of vegetable or light olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced
1-2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup of coconut milk (regular or low fat)
1/4 cup of gluten free soy sauce
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar OR 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
1 ½ cups of lightly packed slivered fresh basil

**Extras: You could also throw in a bag of baby spinach at the end with the basil, and allow it to wilt. Or, add 1-2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces, to the mostly cooked chicken. Throw in a few tablespoons of chicken broth or water to help the beans cook.


Preheat wok or pan over high heat add 2 tablespoons of oil then add onion, garlic, ginger, and jalepeno. Cook, stirring often until onion light golden.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add chicken to pan (about a third at a time, if in strips), stir occasionally until tinged brown.

*Personally, I have ZERO time to cut into 1/4 strips, so I either have the butcher cube it for me (thank you lovely butcher men) or I don’t cut them at all. Different ways of cutting (or not) will effect cooking time, so make sure the juices run clear before taking out of the pan.

**This would be the time to cook the green beans, as mentioned earlier. Throw them in when the chicken is nearly done and add a few tablespoons of water or chicken broth to speed up the process.

Set aside cooked chicken (and possibly green beans) with onion mixture.

Pour coconut milk, soy sauce and vinegar into pan, bring to a boil uncovered until reduced by a third (about 5 minutes). Return onion mix and chicken (and possibly green beans) to pan, stir.  Add basil (and spinach if you want some extra healthy green action). Heat through. Serve with coconut, or regular rice.

Coconut Rice

[Dork alert] I use my awesome rice cooker, but if you don’t have one follow the directions on your rice package and just sub in the coconut milk for water (make sure you use the correct amount of total liquid since rice is persnickity that way) and add the other ingredients into the pot. Either way, it’s easy peasy, people. (Though extra easy with a rice cooker. Yes, I am in love with my rice cooker and this rice cooker cookbook.)

I use this coconut milk, but any kind will do as long as it’s GF.


1 cup of white (or brown) basmati rice – brown will take longer to cook
1 cup of coconut milk *this should be basically what’s leftover from your can
1/2 cup water
dash of ground ginger
squeeze of lime (as much as you like from one lime, depending on your lime-y preference)

Throw everything in rice cooker and give it a swirl. Set to cook. When timer goes off, check and then let steam for 5-10 minutes more if necessary. This rice and the fragrant basil will make your home smell amazing.

If you have a sassy four-year-old (going on fourteen), she may say it smells gross, but she’d be wrong.

Thank you to Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays link up! Check out the other great recipes by clicking on the button below.

Thank you to for inviting me to the wonderful Gluten Free Fridays recipe link up! Check out the other great recipes by clicking the button below.

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