Michael and I have been busy lately, which means we've been eating a lot more crap than usual. After several weeks of holiday-related celebrations, we were ready for something healthy this week, and threw together these pan-seared chicken and bruschetta bowls. They're full of rainbow veggies and so fresh and delicious. They're gluten free, and you can customize them to be Paleo and dairy-free, too (we love them with mozzarella and cannellini beans, so that's a no-go for us). Best of all, they're totally customizable and come together quickly--all you really have to cook is the chicken.
Here's what you need for the bruschetta.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes. You can use regular tomatoes if that's what you prefer, but I love the flavor of cherry tomatoes.
- Fresh basil
- Cannellini beans (optional). These are an optional ingredient, but I'd encourage you to try adding them! They add some protein and soluble fiber and they're super creamy, which adds some nice texture to the bruschetta. Omit if you're following a Paleo diet.
- Pantry ingredients/spices: good quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and black pepper
Here's what you need for the chicken.
- Chicken breast. Chicken thighs or chicken tenders will also work if that’s what you prefer.
- Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce. You can substitute your own favorite hot sauce or buffalo sauce, but I’m pretty much obsessed with Frank’s.
- Maple syrup. 100% pure maple syrup is best. Honey works too if you don’t have any maple syrup on hand.
- Soy sauce, or coconut aminos for gluten free/Paleo
- Pantry ingredients: garlic and high smoke-point cooking oil. We use avocado oil. Try to avoid olive oil, because it's more likely to burn during the cooking process.
Suggested bowl toppings:
- Romaine lettuce. I like to serve the chicken over a little bit of chopped up romaine. Sometimes I toss it with oil and vinegar or a store-bought balsamic salad dressing, and sometimes I just leave it dry and let the bruschetta juices run onto the lettuce.
- Mozzarella pearls. I love serving these bowls with mozzarella pearls on the side, but if you're following a Paleo or dairy-free diet, feel free to omit. For something extra special, try adding our homemade marinated mozzarella pearls.
- Cauliflower rice. For some extra veggies, add some cauliflower rice to the bottom of your bowl. We generally keep bags of cauliflower rice in the freezer at all times. It's easy to throw a bag into a pan with some oil, salt, and black pepper.
- Red onion
- Olives. We love canned black olives in these bowls, but any type of olive would be delicious.
- Whatever else you like! Peppers, additional beans, feta cheese, spinach, or other veggies would also be great in this! Get creative and use what you have on hand and love.
Here's how you make these bowls.
First, add chicken, hot sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce or coconut aminos, and garlic to a baggie and place into the refrigerator. The longer the chicken marinates the better it tastes, but if you only have half an hour, that works fine too. If you want to throw it into the fridge the night before, it can marinate for up to 24 hours.
Next, make the bruschetta. Combine cherry tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cannelllini beans in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside. It's better to make this the same day--it's best when it's fresh.
Then compile and cook any toppings you plan on adding to your bowls. I've included a list of recommended toppings above, but we generally cook cauliflower rice, chop up some romaine lettuce and red onion, and set aside some mozzarella pearls and black olives. Sometimes I'll toss the lettuce in some balsamic vinaigrette or oil and vinegar, but it's also great on its own.
Once the chicken has had a chance to marinate, add oil to a large non-stick or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken breasts and cook, untouched, for about 6 minutes. Check the bottom of the chicken breasts to make sure they’re not burning–if they’re not, leave them in the pan for another 2 minutes, then flip them over. Add more oil, then cook the other side of the chicken breasts for another 6-9 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts reads 165 degrees. Total cook time will vary based on the thickness of your chicken breasts.
Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and let them rest for about five minutes. Then cut them into ½ inch slices, add them to a shallow bowl with your desired toppings, and top with bruschetta. Enjoy!