This easy, healthy and comforting warm Moroccan chicken grain bowl makes great lunches and easy weeknight dinners.
My appetite has been really frustrating lately. Ever since getting sick well over a week and a half ago, my desire for food has been a real struggle. Some mornings I eat everything in sight and I think it’s coming back but then the rest of the day I’m completely disinterested in anything food related. Other mornings I’ve skipped breakfast altogether because I just don’t care so that by lunch I’m insanely hungry but still just don’t want anything. I literally ate a baked potato with butter and some steamed broccoli for dinner every single night for seven nights in a row. At least the last few nights I’ve been inhaling this incredible vegan pasta that I created a couple of days ago and these no bake gingerbread cookie balls that are just ridiculously good.
Luckily I’ve still had some moments where I want something. Like, really want something. So I jump on it and make it immediately for fear I’ll lose my desire again and then I’m literally left with nothing to share with you people. #foodbloggerproblems. I also luckily made this Moroccan Chicken grain bowl before I lost my appetite.
While I was away for the weekend in Niagra with my mom and sisters, we stopped for lunch at the same Moroccan restaurant we always seem to go to when we’re there and I had this. Well, not this exactly. What they made was a mixture of like 5 different grains and lentils, it didn’t come with tomatoes or mint (but I decided they were much better with them!) and for some reason that I don’t fully understand, they like to add diced pickles to everything. Every dish I’ve ever eaten there has come with diced pickles. Yes, somehow it does in fact work but, I hate pickles so they do not reside in my home and therefore do not end up in my cooking.
When I knew I wanted to recreate this comforting, warm meal, I knew I had to nix the 5 different grains/lentils. As lovely as it was, I knew I’d never go to the effort of cooking separate ones just to mix them AND I had zero interest in going out to find a grain/lentil blend (that likely does exist) because I have such a stupid amount of grains already hanging out in my cupboards. I decided one grain was plenty and it was easy to just cook up a big batch of that same grain and keep it in the fridge for throwing bowls together in minutes at lunchtime.
When it came to the chicken, I decided to marinate it in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and chicken broth. It means you have to plan ahead but it is most definitely worth it. Trust me. After the marinating, you simply sautee the chicken in a Moroccan spice blend that I adapted from Cook Republic and combine it with a mixture of tomato paste and chicken broth. It really couldn’t be easier.
After the grains and chicken are done, all you have left to do is throw it in a bowl with some diced cucumber, tomatoes and red onions, some pickles if that’s your thing, plenty of fresh mint and a homemade lemon tahini yogurt that will take you 3 seconds to make (while the grains cook). If you’re feeling fancy, top your bowls with a drizzle of evoo and fresh lemon juice and then dig in!
I totally have plans to make some sort of Moroccan chickpea thing and a lamb tagine after the craziness of Christmas is over. For now, it’s a super delicious vegan eggnog quickbread, peppermint bark scones, pasta, no bake gingerbread cookie balls and soooo much more coming your way over the next couple of weeks. Thank God I never lose my desire for those things!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and when you make a recipe, tag your photo #thepretendbaker so I can see what you’re whipping up!
- 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
- If marinating the chicken, 1 lemon sliced in to rings, 2 TBSP olive oil, ½ C chicken broth, 1 smashed garlic clove
- 1 TBSP Moroccan spice blend (recipe below)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- ¾ C chicken broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 C uncooked grain of choice (I used bulgar)
- 1 C greek yogurt or Skyr (I used Skyr)
- 2 tsp tahini
- juice of 1 lemon
- Diced cucumber, tomatoes, red onions and pickles, to serve
- fresh mint, olive oil and lemon juice to serve
- Moroccan Spice Blend:
- 2½ TBSP ground cumin
- 2½ TBSP ground coriander
- ½ TBSP ground cinnamon
- ½ TSP ground allspice
- ½ TBSP ground paprika
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- If marinating the chicken, in a large plastic bag, combined chopped chicken along with all marinating ingredients along with ½ tsp salt. Seal the bag, toss everything around until well combined then allow to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
- When ready to cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 TBSP olive oil. Meanwhile, toss chicken with the Moroccan spice, cinnamon, cumin and a pinch of salt. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the skillet and turn the heat down to medium.Do not crowd the pan or the chicken will steam- do this in batches if you need to.
- Cook, turning the pieces every so often until the chicken is completely cooked through (5-7 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken chunks)
- Remove chicken from the skillet and whisk in chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Whisk in tomato paste and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens, about 1 or 2 minutes. If it gets too thick, add more broth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
- Return the chicken to the skillet and heat through.
- While the chicken is cooking, cook your desired grain according to package directions.
- In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice. Whisk until well combined.
- Serve the chicken with your desired grain, cucumber, tomato, red onion, pickles, mint and lemon tahini yogurt. Drizzle with extra evoo and lemon juice, if desired.
I highly recommend marinating the chicken. It makes an incredible difference in the taste and juiciness of the chicken.
Spice blend adapted from Cook Republic
More delish grain bowls