Do you love a good meal in a "bowl?" I've got a fantastic new option for you! North African Grilled Chicken and Veggie Bowls are complete, nutritious, and super-flavorful bowls with North African components - roasted vegetables with dukkah, grilled chicken marinated in lemon juice and ras el hanout, a serving of whole grain, and a dollop (or two) of yogurt sauce!
There's a lot of flavor in this "bowl." I combine a simple ras el hanout and lemon marinated and grilled chicken breast with a variation of my Roasted Vegetables With Dukkah recipe. To round out this flavorful meal, I cook some freekeh (couscous, brown rice, or bulgur are great options too). The final touch is a duo of sauces - a simple harissa yogurt (recipe in this post) and a Moroccan Preserved Lemon with Fresh Herbs.
One focus of Beyond Mere Sustenance is encouraging my readers to loosen their grips on a recipe. North African Grilled Chicken and Roasted Veggie Bowls are perfect for customizing:
- Vegetarian? Sub roasted chick peas for the chicken breast. Toss chick peas with a drizzle of olive oil, ras el hanout, Aleppo pepper, and good sea salt.
- Gluten free? Sub brown or white rice for the freekeh!
- Paleo? Omit the freekeh, rice, or grain.
- Chicken isn't your favorite protein? Try lamb or beef.
- Not your favorite veggies? Choose fresh, seasonal favorites. Keep in mind cooking times for each vegetable, and add accordingly.
I marinate the chicken breast in a simple ras el hanout and lemon juice mixture. Ideally the chicken would soak about 8 hours, but that involves being capable of addressing our evening meal in the morning (right after coffee). That's probably not going to happen. 😀 I typically mix the marinade ingredients in a zip bag, and drop in a pounded chicken breast (plenty for 2). Preheat the oven...
On photo day, I chose heirloom rainbow carrots, purple cauliflower, sweet potato, golden beets, shallots, and zucchini. I added the zucchini to the roasting pan after the others had a 10 minute "head start." While the veggies roast, I start my grain, preheat the grill, and whisk up my sauce(s). You may wish to do one or both!
While keeping an eye on the roasting vegetables, I grill the chicken. (Honestly, hubby grills the chicken while I focus on the other components). I don't try to serve it piping hot, so timing isn't at all critical. Mark finishes the chicken, tents it with foil, and lets it rest (an important step as it allows the chicken breast juices to resorb). Look at the finished vegetables:
This is rustic rather than fancy fare. Arrange sliced chicken breast and roasted veggies around a scoop of your prepared freekeh, rice, or grain (or omit entirely for paleo). Top with yogurt sauce as desired, and enjoy!
Grilled Chicken Breast
- 2 lemons, zest and juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, pounded to even thickness (see notes)
- 1/2 cup toasted nuts, (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans)(see notes)
- 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon good sea salt
- several grinds black pepper
Roasted Vegetables with Dukkah
- 1 large beet, (see notes)
- 2 carrots, (see notes)
- 1 sweet potato, (see notes)
- 4 shallots or 1 small sweet onion, (see notes)
- 1 zucchini, (see notes)
- olive oil, to drizzle
- 1/4 cup dukkah, (recipe above)
- fresh ground pepper
Harissa Yogurt Sauce
- 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons harissa, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon brine from preserved lemons, or sea salt to taste
Freekeh (or Substitution)
- 1 cup dried freekeh, (see notes)
- water or broth, (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- Add marinade ingredients to a gallon zip bag. Pound chicken breast to even thickness (about 1/2"). Add to bag. Squeeze air from bag. Refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
- If your dukkah is not already made (from a previous meal or a commercial brand), add all ingredients to a small food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs are achieved. Over-processing may result in a paste (not what you want!).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (375 convection). Arrange veggies (except zucchini if using) in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven.
- After 10 minutes, add zucchini. Stir all the vegetables. Sprinkle generously with dukkah (about 1/4 cup). Return to oven. Stir again at 20 minutes. Cook until vegetables pierce easily with a fork, and edges are caramelized. Mine usually take 25-30 minutes total.
- Meanwhile, preheat grill, start freekeh (or substitute) according to package instructions, and make the yogurt sauce(s).
- For the Harissa Yogurt Sauce, simply whisk all ingredients together, and taste for seasoning.
- Grill the chicken (or substitute). If subbing chick peas for a vegetarian option, roast them with the vegetables.
- To Serve: Slice the grilled chicken breast. Divide among 4 shallow bowls. Divide roasted vegetables and grain/rice. Top with yogurt sauce(s) as desired. Enjoy!
You can substitute chicken thighs or other meat. I pound the breast to even thickness (about 1/2" thick). This allows for more even cooking (ie. under-cooked portion and over-cooked portion). For a vegetarian option, roast chick peas with the veggies! (See post).
I use whatever nuts I have on hand for the dukkah. I always have slivered almonds, and they're super easy and affordable. The recipe makes about a cup, so you'll have quite a bit extra. Store in an airtight container in your pantry.
For the veggies: The key to awesome roasted veggies is to prep them in similar sizes, and cook them the appropriate amount of time. In this instance, I did a lengthwise slice on the fairly young rainbow carrots, half moons on the sweet potato about 1/2" thick, and thin wedges on the beet. With the sweet onion, I use the outer sections, and cut them in wedges, saving the interior for stock or other use. The zucchini gets cut in half moons and 1/2" thick slices, and is added 10 minutes after the root veg.
I love freekeh with this dish, but you can sub brown rice (gluten free), bulgur, couscous, farro, etc. Cook with broth or water according to package instructions.
The other yogurt sauce pictured is Easy Moroccan Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce with Fresh Herbs. It's delicious, but requires preserved lemons. Make your own, or buy them ready-made. They're a great addition to your well-stocked pantry!
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 269 calories; 32 g protein; 17 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat. Macros based on 6 servings with my specific vegetables and does not include freekeh or other grain.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 8gCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 32g
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