Grapes for Dinner: Sauteed Chicken with Roasted Grapes and Onions

This time of year, dozens of clusters of green and purple grapes take over the outside wall of my garage. I pop them into my kids’ lunches every day for weeks at a time and serve them again as an after-school snack. They also make an easy appetizer, set out in a pretty bowl with a hunk of good cheese. Inevitably, though, my family’s ability to eat endless amounts of raw grapes starts to wane. Before I know it, the fruit is spilling out of my refrigerator and I’m racking my brain to find new uses for it.

Most recipes for grapes — jellies, jams and desserts — call for combining them with a lot of sugar. These uses also often dispense with the skins, which provide healthy fiber. Besides containing fiber, grapes are an excellent source of antioxidants known as polyphenols, which are associated with a reduced risk for developing several types of cancers.

Fresh Red Grapes

Photo by: Charlotte Lake ©Charlotte Lake

Charlotte Lake, Charlotte Lake

To retain all that healthy goodness, it was time to think beyond dessert. That’s when I came upon the idea of roasting grapes to make savory compote. Bonus: That would help me sneak grapes into dinner too.

Roasting grapes at high heat intensifies both their flavor and sweetness. For balance, I mix them with a little balsamic vinegar, some red onion and a few sprigs of rosemary — an herb that grows just a few feet away from my wall of grapes. After they cook for 20 minutes in the oven, I’ve got a delicious topping for any type of meat.

In this recipe, I’ve paired the compote with sauteed boneless, skinless chicken, which is low in saturated fat and an excellent source of protein, but this compote would also be a good match for pork tenderloin or chicken sausage. Leftover roasted grapes are tasty spooned onto rye crackers spread with goat cheese or ricotta cheese — lunch for the adult set.

Sauteed Chicken with Roasted Grapes and Onions

Serves 4


1 pound mixed small red and green grapes (halved, if large)

1 small red onion, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces

4 sprigs rosemary, plus extra, for garnish

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon cold butter


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss grapes and onion with rosemary sprigs, 2 teaspoons oil, balsamic vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through baking time.

Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts in half horizontally. Place meat between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with the smooth side of a mallet until meat is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 4 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until golden-brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.

Add wine to skillet; cook over high heat until reduced by three-quarters, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 1 minute. Add butter; swirl until butter is melted, about 30 seconds. Spoon sauce onto plates; top with chicken. Serve chicken topped with roasted grapes and red onions. Garnish with additional rosemary and serve immediately.

Per serving: Calories 432; Fat 15 g (Saturated 4 g); Cholesterol 132 mg; Sodium 955 mg; Carbohydrate 30 g; Fiber 3 g; Sugars 22 g; Protein 40 g

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Abigail Chipley is a freelance recipe developer, writer and cooking teacher who lives in Portland, Ore.

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