This chicken, chickpeas and broccoli with spinach sauté dish incorporates both animal and plant-based protein with two different vegetables, resulting in a flavorful nutrient rich entree.

Lately, there’s a lot of talk about protein and its impact on health.

One group blames animal protein for increases in cancer, type II diabetes and inflammation, while another group claims we were born to eat meat.  As with everything nutrition related, nothing is simple. Popular opinion often wins over science, even if it’s not sound advice.

If you follow my blog, you know where I stand on the topic- balance is best. Eating a variety of food increase your chance of getting the nutrients needed to support health, and it also helps you feel good mentally, physically and emotionally.

I’m not saying you should eat meat. I’m not saying you should avoid it, either. You can meet your nutritional needs, reach your goals and feel fantastic by following many different eating patterns. What matters is that your intake is balanced and adequate.

It’s this simple:

  • if you prefer animal protein– eat it, but consider cutting back and mixing in some plant-based sources.
  • if you prefer plant-based protein– eat it, but make sure to includes a variety of sources to meet your needs.
  • if you enjoy meat and plant-based protein– eat both, but make your meals use an equal portion of the two types

That’s where today’s post for chicken, chickpeas and broccoli with spinach sauté comes in. This recipe incorporates both animal protein (chicken) and plant-based protein (chickpeas) into one delicious dish, but reduces the typical portion size to keep it balanced. Two-ounces of chicken is recommended per serving, compared with the 4-6 ounce portion you might typically eat. Combining different sources into one dish maintains the protein content while increasing the vitamin, mineral and fiber content. Incorporating vegetables with the protein increases the flavor, increases your vegetable consumption and it also saves on time.

Give this combo a try and let me know what you think.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chicken and Chickpeas with Broccoli and Spinach Sauté

This chicken, chickpeas and broccoli with spinach sauté dish incorporates both animal and plant based protein with two different vegetables, resulting in a flavorful nutrient rich entree.
Author: Heather Mangieri, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 16oz chickpeas
  • 1 16oz spinach
  • 13 oz leeks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    Prep the ingredients:
    Trim the root from the leeks and cut the dark green leaves off (save the leaves to add to a soup another day). Rinse well under cold water then chop.
    Peel and chop the garlic cloves
    Remove the chickpeas from the can and rinse under cold water
    Chop the spinach
    Remove chicken from packaging. Using a cutting board, remove any visible fat and dis-guard. Slice the chicken lengthwise into pieces. Set aside.
    Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
    Put broccoli and chickpeas in a bowl and add olive oil, garlic powder and 1/4 tsp of black pepper (not all of it.) Toss gently until broccoli and chickpeas are evenly covered with spices. Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Using a spatula, toss the broccoli and chickpeas. Continue to cook another 10-15 minutes.
    While the broccoli and chickpeas are in the oven, spray a deep sauté' pan with non-stick cooking spray. Turn on medium heat.
    Add oil, leeks, garlic and 2 tsp pepper. Sauté until leeks are see through, then add spinach and lemon juice. Stir well. Reduce heat to low-medium. Cover with a lid and simmer.
    Once cooked, transfer spinach sauté to a separate bowl. Add 1 tbsp. of chicken broth (if you do not have any chicken stock you can use water) to the sauté pan (the same pan used to cook the spinach) to deglaze. Add the cut-up chicken breast and sauté until chicken is cooked to 165 degrees.
    To Serve: Spoon broccoli and chickpea on plate, top with spinach sauté. Top with 2 ounces of cooked chicken.
    Optional: sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Notes

  • Recipe makes 6 servings.
  • 1 serving= 340 calories, 39 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fiber, 30 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 550 mg sodium, 15% daily calcium, 7% daily iron; 20% daily potassium

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?  Tag @heathermangieri  on Instagram and hashtag it #HeatherMangieriNutrition

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