ZA'ATAR TURMERIC TAHINI CHICKEN BOWLS W/ ASPARAGUS & SWEET POTATO
I feel like I do my best cooking when I am not performing. I mean, specifically, when I am not intentionally trying to create something for content but rather when I am just casually putting something together for my partner and me to eat.
It was a casual Thursday, I didn't have any specific recipe planned. I just had a handful of ingredients in the fridge and gave Brent 3 different options, combing those ingredients into different ways to choose from. He settled on a Buddha Bowl, which is kinda my specialty, after all. And this recipe was born. It is absolutely delicious. It has all kinds of nutrient-rich ingredients and it so satisfying, both to eat and look at.
The base is a really simple salad with mixed greens, julienned radish, dill, olive oil, lemon juice, feta, and za'atar. No recipe for this; just eyeball it and toss it in a bowl. Next is cooked quinoa, I like to make mine with vegetable broth, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper. It really takes it up a notch. You could also serve it with rice if you prefer, or any grain really. I used the same spices for the sweet potatoes and chicken and cooked them both on the same sheet pan, which keeps this very simple. While everything is in the oven, you can start the onions and asparagus in a skillet, and while everything cooks, toss together the salad. This comes together in about 35 minutes mins the pre-heating time for the oven, but while it pre-heats, you can prep your veggies. Although this might look like a complicated dish, it's actually very easy to put together, so don't be intimidated by it. For the sauce, I used a pre-made tahini sauce, like hummus, so you can use storebought as I did, or make a simple one on your own. Up to you.
Tahini, which is the sauce for this dish that ties everything together, is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and North African cuisines and is commonly used in dishes such as hummus, baba ghanoush, and halva. Tahini has a nutty and slightly bitter taste and a creamy texture. It is a good source of protein, healthy fats, and minerals such as calcium and iron. Tahini can be found in most grocery stores and can also be made at home by grinding sesame seeds into a paste with a food processor or blender.
I was gifted some tahini sauce from Fun Sesame, a small, women-owned business in Los Angeles. For this dish I used their Za'tar Turmeric tahini, and it was such a dream. All her sauces are a dream that I've tried.
Za’tar Turmeric Tahini Chicken Bowl with Sweet Potato and Asparagus
CHICKEN & SWEET POTATOES
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1-in cubes
1 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 tsp smoked paprika, divided
1 tsp za’tar, divided
1 tsp onion powder, divided
1/2 tsp turmeric, divided
Salt and pepper
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2 inch half-moons
1 bunch of asparagus trimmed
2-3 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Tahini or hummus (I used @fun_sesame za’tar turmeric tahini sauce)
Mixed greens tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, chopped radish, avocado, dill, feta, Za’tar, salt, and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400f
Toss the sweet potatoes with oil and half the spices. Set aside. Toss the chicken with oil and half the spices—season both with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
Lay out the chicken on an oiled sheet pan. Cook for 15 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and cook for another 10-15 minutes until both the chicken and potatoes are cooked through, and the chicken's internal temp is at least 165f. Slice the chicken into strips.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium, then add the onions and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the aged balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Push to one side and add the asparagus to the skillet to cook. Toss occasionally and season with salt and pepper until both asparagus and onions are cooked through, about another 10 mins.
Then build your bowls, layer up the salad, sweet potatoes, quinoa, chicken, asparagus, tahini or hummus, and garnish with feta, dill, za’atar, and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Enjoy!