Friday, September 11, 2009

Balsamic Roasted Chicken with Figs and Sweet Onions

Every now and then I will bake a whole, organic chicken for dinner. Since figs and sweet onions are in season right now I am finding more creative ways to use them!

Roasting the figs and onions with the chicken brings out mouth-watering sweet and savory flavors in the juices. The onions practically melt in your mouth after 2 hours of roasting. To serve, slice the chicken and drizzle with the juices, onions, and figs. I serve this over brown rice but cooked quinoa or steamed, mashed winter squash would be equally as delicious. We also like to add a few green olives on the side as a treat. :)

This recipe would also be delicious served with my Zucchini Bake and a green salad with my Everyday Salad Dressing. Or try it with this Soaked Whole Grain Flatbread recipe.

Balsamic Roasted Chicken with Figs and Sweet Onions

I am not a gourmet cook by any means, so please don’t think that this recipe is fancy and complicated by the sound of the title. It is super simple and kid-friendly. My kids don’t eat the roasted figs or onions but they love the chicken over the rice. It is delicious even as leftovers! Be sure to serve the chicken with a large, raw green salad to help digest the protein!

Note: This recipe can also be found in my Nourishing Meals cookbook!

1 whole organic chicken (about 4 pounds)
Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper
1 large sweet Walla Walla onion, chopped
fresh figs
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
fresh rosemary sprigs

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Rinse chicken under cold running water. Place it into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or other roasting pan. Generously sprinkle with Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the chopped onion inside the cavity of the chicken and around it on the bottom of the pan. Place the figs around the chicken.

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and maple syrup in a small bowl or cup. Pour over the chicken. Place a few fresh rosemary springs on and around the chicken.

Add about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan.

Place in the oven and roast at 475 degrees F for about 20 minutes to seal in the juices. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to cook until juices run clear, about another 1 ½ hours. Source:

Happy Cooking! :)

More Main Dish Recipes:

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Wow, what a beautiful meal, Ali! I've only recently learned how delightful fresh figs are and I'm a huge onion and balsamic vinegar lover, so this recipe looks like a "must make soon" for us. Thanks for sharing the info on the green salad helping to digest the meat protein. And, I think you make an excellent point about the fact that this recipe is still kid friendly. They don't have to eat all the ingredients themselves that actually contribute to the wonderful flavor. At 21, my "kid" loves the flavor of onions, but he still doesn't want to eat one. LOL


  2. This looks so yummy! I'm currently doing your 28 day elimination diet (day 3), though. So, it is going to have to wait until I start eating meat again. I love the flavors of roasted figs and onions. I'm afraid in a month, figs might be on their way out. What do you think about dried in place of fresh?

  3. Shirley - Thanks! My kids don't always eat everything I make, they like simple flavors. I actually serve them a green smoothie with this meal. This is a much easier way to get greens into their diet. Though I do offer salads, they are just harder to chew for the little ones, but still a good taste experience. Hope you enjoy! :)

  4. Jennifer - Yes this would be a good meal to introduce during Phase 3 of the diet. Though I have never done this, I imagine you could freeze a bunch of figs right now. Since they will be cooked it shouldn't matter. I have a few Phase 1 recipes that I will be posting this week so look forward to those. Good luck with the diet! :)

  5. I'd like to make this for dinner tonight, but never having actually baked a whole chicken before, I am a little unclear when you say "cook until juices run clear, about another 1 1/2 hours"? Thanks for all of the great recipes, we sure have been loving them!!

  6. I love all of the ingredients in this dish. It's making my mouth water. I'm a big crockpot roaster. I wonder if this would work there. I could have dinner waiting for me after soccer and this would be a good one. Figs are on my shopping list!

  7. Wow, I might have to order a chicken from my CSA friends. They have the most wonderful, organic, pastured chickens and your recipe has inspired me. I've never cooked figs with anything, I'm embarrassed to say. Love them dried, but I've not tried them in a recipe like this. Sounds wonderful.

    Yep, I think I'll give this a try.

    Thanks Ali! And hi to Tom. :-)


  8. I made your Balsamic Roasted Chicken for dinner tonight. Here is a link to my blog post. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe!

  9. This looks delicious, Ali. Just the other day I was thinking of making something with figs, since they look so tasty and fresh at the market right now. It's a great meal for that transition time as the summer warmth fades and the cooler fall days arrive...

  10. Pam - Thanks! :)

    Trish - Yes, thanks, looks like I should change that. What I do to test for doneness is to prick the skin in between the thigh and the breast and see if the juices are clear. If not continue to cook. Also, if the thigh pulls away easily, the chicken is done. Another thing to consider is if you fill the cavity of the chicken too much it will hinder cooking. After you do it a few times, you'll get the hang of it. Hope this helps! :)

    Diane - Hmm, never cooked one in a crockpot roaster before. You could also turn the oven temp down to 300 and cook longer. :)

    Melissa - I love dried figs too, but roasted, oh they are amazing! You'll have to give Tom's avocado fig fudgesicles a try sometime - that's a great raw recipe he created - in the cookbook! :)

    GF Gidget - Thanks! I liked your photo, the rosemary is so beautifully arranged! Your meal sounds incredible, happy cooking! :)

    Lisl - Ah yes, I am feeling the cooler fall weather too and this recipe is nice, especially the aroma in the house it creates! :)

  11. Hi Ali....I made the fig and onion chicken....and OH my goodness, it is the best chicken I have ever eaten, and the only time in my life that I am glad I am single as I get to eat it "all". I didn't have a sweet onion so I used a red one, and a sweet potato, a tiny butternut squash and a carrot. Also, I used agave as I didn't have maple syrup. So, sooooo delicious....Thank you for the recipe. Next time I will envite friend to share....maybe.

  12. We made it too and it was great! I really like foods that you can assemble and just pop in the oven. We made it with some baked winter squash sprinkled with cinnamon and then served it all with a salad. Very yummy dinner!

  13. Michelle - I like your idea to add in squash, carrots, and a sweet potato, it sounds very "fall-ish." Thanks for sharing, I might try that next time! :)

    Jennifer - I love baked winter sqaush with cinnamom. Your meal sounds colorful and balanced! Happy cooking! :)

  14. Hi there! This dish is roasting away in my oven right now! I added some carrots and potatoes to it, too, just to complete the meal. I love roasting chickens - it sounds so elegant, but it is so easy - took me about 15 min to get it into the it's just a waiting game! Thanks!

  15. Loved this in the crockpot. So did everyone else who ate it too.

  16. Here's my post about trying this recipe. YUM! Thanks again!

  17. Love this!!! Thank you for sharing it on Friday Foodie Fix.

  18. Hi Ali,
    Hello from Alaska! We met awhile back in our children's playgroup just before I moved up north. I wanted to send a big thanks for all your wonderful recipes. I made the roast chicken last night and it was so moist and tender -- adding water to the bottom of the pan was a great tip. I've also purchased 3 copies of your cookbook (for me and for friends) and everyone has been so pleased with the recipes. Best wishes in 2011!

  19. This was one of the best meals I've prepared in awhile. My friends and I enjoyed it very much it was worth heating the kitchen for!

  20. Loved the chicken and so did my family! I noticed that balsamic vinaigrette has natural suicides though. I think my daughter may ne sensitive because she was kind of rashy the following day (she has multiple food allergies). Can the balsamic be substituted? I'm thinking probably not but I thought I would ask. Thanks!

  21. Thanks for the great recipe!! My family loved it but I think my daughter reacted to the balsamic vinaigrette (maybe because the sulfites?). I know this is a long shot but can I sub the vinaigrette with something else....maybe coconut aminos? Thanks for your help and all your fabulous recipes!

  22. Hi
    Great ingredients .
    Here is the BEST WAY (Fool proof and easy) to roast a chicken.The dark meat is done and the white meat is JUICY.
    Heat oven to 450 w/ a Cast iron frying pan inside.
    Wash, oil and salt chicken 1 hour or so ahead. When oven is hot put in the Chicken for 1/2 hour!
    Turn off oven and leave the chicken in for 1/2 hour (or longer as the oven is cooling) DONE

  23. Cooked this recipe tonight and it was scrumptious. 4 1/2 pound chicken was ready in about 80 minutes. Cooked it at 475 for 20 and then for about 60 minutes at 325 (recipe called for 90 minutes at 325). Glad I didn't cook it any longer. It came out delicious and juicy. I threw some potatoes in with the figs and onions and served it with broccoli. I'm a spleen health kick... no raw or cold foods so salad for me. But the broccoli went well with the dish. Not sure it helps like salda the break down the protein...


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)