This flavorful Moroccan chicken bowl is a great way to add a little spice to your lunch. Spice rubbed chicken breasts, sweet, dried apricots, nutty chickpeas and crunchy pistachios on a bed of romaine lettuce prove that a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be boring.
This salad is full of flavor, high in protein and just might make you the envy of the lunchroom.
Moroccan Chicken Bowl
Moroccan food seems to be gaining popularity this year and rightfully so, because it’s delicious. I’m not claiming that this is by any means “authentic”, it is simply a combination of delicious flavors to prove to the naysayers that eating salad doesn’t have to be unpleasant.
For this meal prep bowl, I took the flavors of a tagine and simply added them to a salad. Because we are all still eating salads, right? That seems to be the “intention”, at least.
Last week, I was discussing New Year’s Resolutions with a friend of mine. She said that she no longer subscribed to this.
We both agreed that it was our “intention” to continue to eat better, take better care of ourselves (in a variety of ways, not just food), to be kinder and approach things with love and compassion. Isn’t that what we should all be doing?
It’s such a simple concept, to be kind, yet we don’t always measure up. Worst of all, we are usually the most unkind to ourselves. We look in the mirror and focus on every wrinkle or laugh line, every gray hair, every extra pound.
This year, my 45th to be exact, I’ve decided that while there are things I would like to change, I will try not to beat myself up when I stumble.
This year, it is my intention to give myself a break once in awhile. Something that I am notoriously strict about with myself.
As in, it doesn’t happen. I expect more from myself than I would ever expect from others. I’m sure most of us, especially women, are in the same boat. So, let’s give ourselves a little slack.
My other intention is to approach things with more compassion and kindness. This one isn’t always as easy as it should be. Especially when someone has legitimately wronged you.
My friend always says “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” Well, dammit… sometimes I want to be RIGHT. And, that’s ok. But, sometimes I have to let it slide right off my back, even though I know I’m right. That’s tough, isn’t it?
Moroccan Chicken Meal Prep Bowl:
So, here we are. Two weeks into the new year. I’m still eating fairly well, except for yesterday. We had guests in town, it couldn’t be helped. And, I think I’ve learned a thing or two about myself and my capacity for love and compassion. And also, the need for more Moroccan food and definitely a few more salads like this.
** I also made a little cous cous and served it for dinner. It was fabulous.
For the Salad
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 - 3 tbsp ras el hanout, Moroccan spice, explained below
- 3 heads romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled
- 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced in half
- 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, sliced
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 slices preserved lemon
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, washed and chopped
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
For the Vinaigrette
- 6 fl. oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 4 big lemons
- 6 TB raw honey
- 1 TB whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups canola
- Drizzle chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with ras el hanout. Heat saute pan over medium high heat and sear chicken. Let it cook for 4 - 5 minutes without disturbing it. Lift chicken to make sure it isn't burning if you think it is getting too dark. Lower heat if it's browning too quickly.
- Flip chicken over, lower heat to medium and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes. If the chicken breasts are large, give it an additional 2 - 4 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to cool. (Chicken should not be pink inside, juices should run clear when sliced open.)
While chicken is cooling, make dressing
- Combine lemon juice, honey, cardamom, mustard, salt and pepper in a deep bowl or container. With an immersion blender (or regular blender), combine all ingredients for about 15 seconds and SLOWLY drizzle in olive oil, then canola oil.
- The texture and color will begin to lighten as it emulsifies.
- You will see oil on top and then suddenly, it will be a perfectly blended dressing that holds together instead of looking separated.
- Slice chicken when it has cooled and divide into 5 equal portions.
- Using a vegetable peeler, make carrot ribbons or chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Finely dice 2 slices of preserved lemon and set aside. If you aren't using preserved lemon, you can substitute a little lemon zest.
- Place a few handfuls of lettuce in each of your containers and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken, carrots, parsley, chickpeas, pistachios, apricots and olives. Top chicken with lemon and add vinaigrette.
*Ras El Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend. Most grocery stores are carrying a wide variety of spice mixes these days and you can most likely find it in your local market. I've included a link (affiliate) to purchase it if you can't find it and also a link to make an easy version of this spice mix yourself.
** I also made this and served it with cous cous instead of making it as a salad. It was delicious.
*** If you have fresh mint, add it to your salad, it's fantastic.
I prefer to roast my chickpeas, but you don't have to. To roast: toss drained, rinsed chickpeas with a few teaspoons of olive oil & a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast at 400 on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes until slightly crispy.
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