Spicy Chicken Couscous Bowl

Ahhh, it’s that time of year where I want to indulge on heavy comfort food as soon as the weather dips below 20 degrees! But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t find a dinner option that will keep me nourished and satisfied by using a lot of clean ingredients and is yet, still considered a “comfort food” in my mind.

Now technically, I can’t call this a buddha bowl because apparently that is a term that normally refers to vegetarian or vegan bowl–but that is not the case for me here even though it’s riffing off the same concept of a protein/veg/grain situation in one cohesive bowl. Although I really love the idea of a Mexican inspired grain bowl (Chipoootlaaaay), I really wanted to bump up the fall ~VibES~ since we are at the peak of the season right now. To do that, I incorporated warm spices in my marinade, used a unique grain to save some time, and added everybody’s favourite fall vegetable; the almighty butternut squash.

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken:

  • 1 pack of chicken tender fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Juice and zest of one lemon (save zest for later)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsps of neutral oil

Extras:

  • 1 cup of dry couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups of broth or water
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • Zest from said lemon
  • 2 cups of butternut squash
    I bought pre-chopped for convenience
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of chilli powder
  • Prepared hummus
  • Prepared tzatziki or greek-style dressing
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Chopped red onion
  • olive oil, s+p for taste

In a medium bowl, prepare the marinade for the spicy chicken by combining all ingredients listed and only one tablespoon of a neutral oil such as canola or vegetable. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours to marinade.

Preheat your oven to 400ºF. On a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, drizzle the remaining neutral oil over your butternut squash pieces and toss with the smoked paprika, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes in the middle rack and then lower the heat to 350ºF and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the butternut squash is fork tender. Be sure to toss the squash every 8 minutes or so. Set aside for assembly.

For your couscous, let the broth simmer in small sauce pot and then throw in the dry couscous, stir, cover again and remove from the heat. Literally the easiest grain to exist!

After about 8-10 minutes, fork the couscous and make it fluffy with a fork before adding the lemon zest, a glug of olive oil and the red pepper flakes and mix together. Taste and season to preference and then set aside for assembly.

To prepare the chicken, heat a non-stick pan on medium high heat and wait till the pan is hot before drizzle a small about of oil and then sear the chicken until opaque and cooked through completely.

Once the chicken is cooked through, it’s time to make your bowl! Top with a little bit of everything and an extra squeeze of lemon for freshness. Hope you guys enjoy this, I know I’ll probably be making it quite a few times this fall.

Peace and good eats, as always.
-A❁ 

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