So, you’re trying to eat healthier and have some chicken in the fridge.
The classic image of a “healthy” meal – boiled chicken, packet brown rice and soggy broccoli – springs to mind, and you start to feel a bit sad (hey, I’m not judging.). Does healthy eating have to be as regimented as chicken, brown rice and broccoli?
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with chicken, brown rice and broccoli (in fact, they’re all very nutritious), the idea that this is the only healthy meal option is outdated and, kind of dull.
If you’re tired of the same old chicken recipes and are looking for creative and delicious ways to up your chicken game and add some variety to your weekly meal rotation, you’re in for a treat.
Here are TWO of my favourite chicken recipes for dinner. I promise – there’ll be no boiled chicken in sight.
Let’s start with a classic – butter chicken.
If you’re craving some creamy and flavourful butter chicken but don’t want to sacrifice your health, I’ve got a healthy butter chicken recipe that will have you licking your bowl clean. And yes, you read that right – healthy butter chicken! Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Butter chicken? Healthy? Is that even possible?” Well, my friend, it absolutely is. Let me show you how.
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the butter. Traditional butter chicken is loaded with, you guessed it, butter. Oh, and a whole lot of cream. But in this version, we’re swapping out the butter and regular cream for coconut cream. Coconut cream is a rich and creamy alternative to traditional cream and comes with a range of added health benefits. It contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can help to improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels.
Next up, the chicken. Chicken is already a great source of lean protein, but we’re taking it to the next level by using skinless chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are a fattier meat cut, giving this butter chicken a rich and intense flavour.
Now, let’s talk about the star ingredient in this recipe – cashews. Cashews add a delicious nutty flavour and are loaded with heart-healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they add a nice crunch to the otherwise creamy dish that I know you’ll love.
Convinced? I thought so.
Butter Chicken Clay Pot
Everything just tastes better in a clay pot — even butter chicken. This version will help give your Friday-night curry a gut-friendly upgrade.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 cm (1 ¼ inch) knob of fresh ginger, grated
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved or cut into pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- 400 ml (14 fl oz) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) coconut cream
- 100 g (1 lb 10 oz) roasted unsalted cashews, crushed or finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large clay pot or heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion for 3–4 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a further minute.
- Stir in the ground spices and salt and sauté for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, before adding the bay leaf, passata, coconut cream and cashews.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20–25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in the lemon juice, scatter with coriander and serve with cauliflower rice or your choice of accompaniment.
And now, onto the second recipe.
My Filipino-Style Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Adobo
Not only is this recipe delicious and packed with flavour, but it’s also super fun to say. Go ahead, try it out: “Filipino-Style Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Adobo.” See, didn’t that feel good?
Now, on to the recipe itself. Adobo is a popular Filipino dish that typically features chicken or pork cooked in a tangy, vinegary and savoury sauce. This version highlights the goodness of chicken and one of my favourite veggies – leeks. If you’re new to leeks, it’s important to know they’re similar to onions, just more a-peel-ing.
Leeks add depth to any recipe, promote healthy gut bacteria, and break down fat; they’re also high in vitamin K and flavonoids, which are beneficial for blood, bones and heart health.
Another ingredient that adds some va-va-voom (and a load of health benefits) to this adobo are mighty mushrooms. That’s right, those funky little fungi that pop up in your backyard after a rainy day are packed with a ton of health benefits. One of the most impressive things about mushrooms is their ability to boost your immune system. They contain beta-glucans, which are complex sugars that help activate your immune cells and improve their function. So, if you’re feeling a bit run down, adding some mushrooms to your diet could be just what the doctor ordered.
Believe it or not, mushrooms can also help boost your brain function. They contain ergothioneine, an antioxidant that helps protect your brain cells from damage. Some studies have even suggested that eating mushrooms could help improve your cognitive function and memory.
To top it all off, the apple cider vinegar adds a tanginess to this dish and is also full of enzymes and potassium to aid digestion and support the immune system. PS: think you’re ready to up your apple cider vinegar game? These are the mother of all apple cider vinegar capsules.
Now that you’re ready to try this adobo for its health benefits, I know what you’re thinking: what about the flavour?
It’s sweet, salty and acidic in all the right places. Cooking softens the sharpness of the vinegar, while aromatics such as star anise and bay leaves build the complexity of the broth.
Without further ado: the adobo.
Filipino-Style Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Adobo
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
- 4 chicken Marylands (leg quarters), about 1.25 kg (2 lb 12 oz) in total, skin on
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 cm (3/4 inch) knob of fresh ginger, grated
- 250 g (9 oz) mushrooms, roughly sliced
- 2 leeks, white part only, washed well and thinly sliced, or 4 spring onions (scallions), chopped
- 1 star anise
- 4 dried bay leaves
- 1 dried red chilli, whole
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) apple cider vinegar
- 75 ml (2 ½ fl oz) wheat-free tamari
- 175 ml (5 ½ fl oz) quality chicken stock or bone broth, such as the Gut-Healing Turmeric Chicken Broth
- 1 long red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
- Melt the coconut oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat.
- Season the chicken with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Working in batches if necessary, fry the chicken, turning frequently, for 6–8 minutes or until browned on all sides.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1–2 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Stir in the mushrooms, leek, star anise, bay leaves, whole dried chilli, vinegar, tamari and stock.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone.
- Sprinkle with the sliced fresh chilli, and serve with cauliflower rice or your choice of accompaniment.
I hope these chicken recipes add some spice to your meal rotation. Let me know what you think in the comments section below. If you're looking for more delicious recipes, check out my book, Supercharge Your Life.