First off let’s preface this with the fact that I am not a master chef. I need things spelled out like it would be for a 4 year old in the kitchen (ask Jess she can attest to this). That doesn’t mean I have to compromise on taste and nutrition. This recipe is delicious, simple, quick and has tons of nutrition.
Lets do a quick breakdown of this dish’s macronutrients:
Protein – Chicken Breast: Lean chicken breast is a staple to any carnivorous healthy eaters diet. In this recipe it is simply cooked while unseasoned. Doesn’t get easier than that! Don’t worry, the sauce brings the flavor! For those vegetarian and vegans out there, tofu is a possible substitute to help add some protein to this dish. Another possible protein booster is edamame (I haven’t tried either of these, just suggestions).
Carbohydrates – ALL THE VEGGIES: Did you know you should be consuming 10 servings of fruits and veggies a day? And if we are trying to lose excess body fat then a majority of those servings should be vegetables. About a 1/2 cup of raw fruits or veggies amounts to one serving in most cases. That all comes out to a whole lot of veggies that we need to eat. Good thing this recipe uses zucchini noodles instead of traditional pasta. Add in carrots, bell peppers, and cabbage and you have some serious plant nutrition!
Fats – Sesame Oil: This is a great option when it comes to healthy fat. Similar in caloric content to olive oil, sesame oil has a more balanced profile of fats than its Italian counterpart. Sesame oil has more than double the amount of polyunsaturated fat than olive oil while still having a good amount of monounsaturated fat. Why do we care about all this fat? Polyunsaturated fats contain omega-3 fatty acids which are instrumental to heart health. They help your body regulate blood pressure and have been shown to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. Monounsaturated fat is good for lowering LDL cholesterol and possibly raising HDL cholesterol (both good things in many cases). Sesame oil is a good tool to have in your pantry, but due to its distinct flavor it won’t be great for everyday use. Peanuts and peanut butter are other significant sources of fats in this recipe.
There you have it. This meal is stuffed full of nutritious veggies, healthy fats, and a lean source of protein. As future posts will reiterate, when you’re living the lean life, there are three pillars to every meal: lean protein, healthy fats, lots of veggies.
In the portions given this will make 2-4 servings depending on the individual. We got this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and you can find the original ingredient list and directions there.
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
- 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2-3 large zucchini, spiralized
- 2-3 large chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
- Finish with: 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, handful of cilantro, 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup honey (optional)
- 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
- 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (add more if you like the heat!)
- Cook the chicken before hand. We use frozen chicken a lot in our house, just toss it in the crockpot in the morning with some water on low. Ready to shred before dinner time.
- Spiralize the zucchini. If you don’t have a spiralizer, I highly recommend it. Zucchini pasta is a great way to get a lot of vegetables into a dish traditionally lacking in that area. We use a small handheld one (bought for less than $10), but they make larger versions as well.
- Heat sesame oil and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, cabbage, and pepper slices. Cook until the vegetables are a tad bit tender. Then add the zucchini noodles and shredded chicken to the skillet. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes until the zucchini is a little softer and chicken is warm. Turn off the stove, remove from heat. Set aside.
- Combine all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk to combine everything, continuing until peanut butter has completely melted.
- When the sauce is done pour over the skillet. Toss everything to combine. Serve it up and top it with sesame seeds, cilantro, peanuts, and green onion.
The original recipe and cooking instructions can be found here at Sally’s Baking Addiction. If you want to make this recipe even “leaner” here are some of my suggested modifications and recommendations:
- Use an all natural peanut butter. You could try almond butter if you wanted (that’s a shot in the dark, if you do let me know how it turns out!)
- The recipe calls for honey in the sauce. Honestly I don’t think it needs it. Peanut butter is plenty sweet on its own.
- Make sure the soy sauce is low sodium. Use less than recommended if concerned about sodium intake.
Hope you guys give this delicious recipe a try! I really love the way it turned out and we will definitely be eating it again soon. Let me know if you guys try it, how you liked it, and if you tweaked it! Would love to hear from you!