Oooooh guys this is a deeeelicious one!
Since it’s a fresh new year, I figured today would be a perfect time to share these Moroccan Grain Bowls with Harissa Orange Chicken that I’ve had in my weekly meal prep repertoire for the past couple of months. Don’t get me wrong – I’m allll about the roasted carrots, squash, Brussels sprouts etc in the winter, but now that it’s January, the taste buds just need a shake-up, ya know?
I’ve waxed poetic about harissa in the past, and if you’re not familiar, it’s a chili paste that’s used in a lot of Middle Eastern and African cooking. When I lived in Bahrain (a small island east of Saudi Arabia) it was in a few of the dishes I ate, but I’ve got an even bigger appreciation for it now that I’m far more adventurous in the kitchen. I’ve been using this one and this one lately, but it’s not as hard to find as you may think. You should be able to find some in the ethnic foods aisle of your grocery store.
Harissa delivers a lovely, unique kind of heat, and it punches up the flavour of just about everything from meats to vegetable dishes. The sauce I made for the chicken breasts used in this recipe was a simple mix of harissa, freshly squeezed orange juice and extra virgin olive oil (and nope, no blender required!) Trust me guys, those of you who are bored of plain old chicken will change your mind when you taste this.
A quick side note for my vegan and vegetarian friends: As you’ll see in the photos, you totally don’t have to put chicken in these grain bowls. If you prefer, you can absolutely toss chickpeas in the harissa-citrus mixture, roast them (like this!) and toss them into the rest of the dish.
As for the rest, you’ll find buckwheat, carrot, cucumber, purple cabbage, dried figs, chopped apricots, pistachios, fresh mint and parsley. All these come together to make some totally killer flavour magic that gets even better when you enjoy the leftovers.
I know lots of you have nutrition-related plans for this year that involve more whole, unprocessed foods, and this dish will certainly help you do that.
Made with Moroccan-inspired whole food ingredients including harissa and fresh herbs, these Moroccan Grain Bowls with Harissa Orange Chicken make a hearty, healthy lunch that’s even better as leftovers.
For the chicken:
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp harissa
- 2 raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 120g each (ideally ethically raised and free of hormones and antibiotics)
For the grain bowls:
- 1/2 cup uncooked buckwheat groats + 1 1/4 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 1 cup thinly sliced or spiralized cucumber
- 1/2 cup shredded or chopped purple cabbage
- 4 dried apricots, finely chopped
- 2 dried figs, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp chopped shelled pistachios
- 1/4 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint
- 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- a generous shake of sea salt + black pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix together the orange juice, olive oil and harissa until a smooth paste forms. Rub it into the chicken or use a basting brush to generously coat each piece. (Alternatively, toss everything in a resealable bag and let it marinate for a couple of hours.)
- Place the seasoned chicken on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. (Thicker breasts may take a little longer.)
- Meanwhile, boil the buckwheat in the water/broth for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, or according to package directions. The liquid should be almost fully absorbed, but drain off any excess.
- Combine the cooked buckwheat in a large bowl with all remaining ingredients. Toss very well to combine.
- Divide the grain mixture between 2 bowls. Top each with chicken and garnish with orange slices and fresh mint if you like.
For my Vancouver-area friends: For the past couple of months I’ve been getting all my meats from MeatMe.ca, a local company that sources ethically-raised cuts from farms all over BC. If you’d like to give them a try and get $10 off your first order, simply place your order via this referral link. I think you’ll love them just as much as I do!
So tell me… what sort of dishes are speaking your name right now? Are you curious to try anything new in particular?