Mediterranean Chicken Bowls

Mediterranean Chicken Bowls

Currently the Pacific Northwest is digging out from a snowpocalypse of epic proportions. Our kids have had so many snow days in the last month, it’s quicker to count the number of days that they have been IN school. (For the record, only 5 days in the last month!)

This time of year, my entire system craves food that is fresh and light. You would think all this cold and wet would inspire soups and comforting casseroles, but we are summer dreaming here and this incredibly flavorful dish could just as easily be fresh from the July garden.

So many tastes of the Mediterranean combine in this healthy layered bowl- bright lemon, fresh tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, tender marinated chicken, coriander and turmeric brown rice- all drizzled with an herbed yoghurt sauce bursting with garlic and fresh parsley.

Fill your bowl, pull up a chair, take a bite, close your eyes- and imagine warm Mediterranean breezes, brilliant sunshine, and crystal clear sapphire water- not quite as good as being there in person, but definitely cheaper than an airline ticket!

Mediterranean Chicken Bowls

(Note: Despite the number of steps below, this is actually a fairly quick and easy, yet impressive, dinner dish. Make it faster by cooking the rice and marinating the chicken the night before.)

Spiced Lemon Chicken:
(This chicken is best marinated overnight, but even 30 minutes marinade time is enough to add amazing flavor)

4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs) cut into cubes
2/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced and zested
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash salt and pepper or 1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning

Add ingredients together in a gallon size freezer bag and set aside to marinate, turning occasionally to ensure that all chicken pieces are coated.
When ready, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add chicken and allow to brown for several minutes undisturbed before turning.
(Tip-Cooking chicken in small batches will allow for better flavor and a nice sear on the outside.)
Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

Turmeric Rice:

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash salt and pepper or 1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
3 cups Basmati rice or brown rice
5 cups unsalted chicken stock or broth (6 cups if using brown rice)

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add all spices.
Saute until spices are mixed with butter and fragrant- about 2 minutes.
Add rice and stir until rice and spices are thoroughly combined. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until stock is almost completely absorbed in rice, about 30 minutes. (45 minutes for brown rice.)
Remove from heat and set aside while preparing remaining dinner ingredients.

(Alternatively, if you have a rice cooker- skip the butter, add all other ingredients to rice cooker, and set for white or brown rice. If you have an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, saute butter and spices using the Saute button, then add rice and stock, and set cooker on Manual for 4 minutes for Basmati and 18 minutes for brown rice. Natural pressure release for both.)

Greek Yoghurt Dressing:

1 cup Greek yoghurt, storebought or homemade
1/2 cup sour cream (*sour cream helps to thicken the dressing- can replace with all greek yoghurt if preferred)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, snipped
2 tablespoon lemon juice (preferably fresh)
1 teaspoon paprika ( I use Trader Joe’s smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon lemon zest (or one drop lemon essential oil)
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning or salt and pepper to taste
Dash cayenne pepper (if desired)

Add all ingredients to a medium size mixing bowl, stir well, and set aside. This dressing goes well with many things, and we frequently double the recipe. Adjust spices, herbs, garlic, or lemon juice to personal preference.
(Tip: I mix mine directly in a quart size mason jar and serve- it’s easy to put extras away if there are any!)

Tomato Cucumber Salad (Israeli Salad):

8-10 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 English cucumbers, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/3 cup finely minced red onion (if desired)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, snipped
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Dash salt and pepper or Montreal Steak Seasoning

In a medium size mixing bowl, add tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, and red onion (if desired). In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over salad, tossing well to coat.
(Tip: soaking the red onion in a bit of lime juice mellows the flavor and makes it easier to digest)

Gather all dishes together on the table. Place a spoonful of Turmeric Rice in each bowl, top with Spiced Lemon Chicken and Israeli Salad, and drizzle with Yoghurt Dressing.

Serves 8

(Tip: This dish is even better the next day. The leftovers keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge. Yoghurt dressing will keep 10-14 days.)