This chicken, chickpeas and broccoli with spinach sauté is a combination of plant-based, animal protein and loads of nutritious vegetables. It tastes great served fresh and can be re-heated for another meal during the week.
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 like this, 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 include a wide enough variety of sources to meet your protein needs. Or, if you are like me and prefer both, enjoy meat and plant-based protein, but make your meals use an equal portion of the two types
This chicken, chickpeas and broccoli with spinach sauté dish combines a wide variety of foods, resulting in a wide variety of nutrients. 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.
How To Make Chicken, Chickpeas & Broccoli w/Spinach Sauté
To make this recipe, start by preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. To make it easy, I suggest preparing all of your ingredients first.
Prep The Vegetables
Remove the chickpeas from the can and dump into a colander. Rinse them under cold water and let them drain.
If you didn’t buy pre-chopped vegetables, prepare those, too. Chop the spinach, dice the broccoli and peel and chop the garlic cloves. To prepare the leeks, trim the root and cut the dark green leaves off. The green leaves can be eaten, but they don’t taste great plain. If you have time later in the week, you can use the leek greens in a soup. Run the leeks under cold water, then chop.
Prep The Chicken
Once the vegetables are prepped, clean your cutting board, or get another cutting board, and prepare the chicken. Use cooking scissors to trim any visible skin and dis-guard. Slice the chicken lengthwise into pieces, then set aside.
Prepare the Dish
Put the broccoli and chickpeas in a bowl, then add the olive oil, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper (not all of it.) Gently toss those ingredients together until the broccoli and chickpeas are evenly covered with spices. Transfer those to your prepared baking sheet, in your preheated oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then use a spatula to toss the broccoli and chickpeas. Put back in the oven and 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 pepper. Sauté until the leeks are see through, then add spinach and lemon juice. Stir well, then reduce heat to low-medium. Cover with a lid and simmer.
Once cooked, transfer spinach sauté to a separate bowl. Add the chicken broth to the sauté pan that you used to cook the spinach. If you don’t have any chicken stock you can use water. Add the cut-up chicken breast to the pan and sauté until the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees.
Once cooked, remove the broccoli and chickpeas from the oven, When you are ready to serve, spoon the broccoli and chickpea on plate, and top with spinach sauté and two ounces of cooked chicken. Finish by topping it with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
This chicken, chickpeas and broccoli with spinach sauté is a great plant-forward meal if your trying to incorporate more vegetables and plant-based protein into your diet. And, it’s easy to prepare.
Give it a try, and let me know what you think. If you like this plant-forward meal, you might also like my recipe for seared sea scallops with spinach and beans.
Chicken and Chickpeas with Broccoli and Spinach Sauté
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray..Put broccoli and chickpeas in a bowl and add olive oil, garlic powder and black pepper (not all of it.) Toss gently until broccoli and chickpeas are evenly covered with spices. Place on the prepared sheet pan in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, use a spatula to toss the broccoli and chickpeas, then continue to cook another 10-15 minutes.
- Prep the ingredients: trim the root from the leeks and cut the dark green leaves off, then 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 and broccoli. Set all prepared ingredinets aside.
- Remove chicken from packaging. Using a cutting board, remove any visible fat and dis-guard. Slice the chicken lengthwise into pieces. Set aside
- While the broccoli and chickpeas are in the oven, spray a deep sauté' pan with non-stick cooking spray, then warm over 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 the chicken broth (if you do not have any chicken stock you can use water) to the same sauté pan used to cook the spinach. Add the cut-up chicken breast and sauté until chicken is cooked to 165 degrees.
- Remove the broccoli and chickpeas from the oven. Once ready to serve, spoon broccoli and chickpea on plate, and top with spinach sauté and 2 ounces of cooked chicken.
- Top with Parmesan cheese (if desired). Enjoy.
- Recipe Makes: 6 servings.
- Nutrition Facts (per 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.
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