Today I’m sharing my final healthy lunch bowl idea, using a few of my FAVE pre-prepared meal ingredients. The first, is smoked chicken. I love a smoked chicken breast. I never quite understand why I don’t see them used more frequently. SO tasty, super easy (just slice and serve) and usually sold vacuum sealed so they last a long time in the fridge. A smoked chicken breast has often gotten me out of a bare-pantry emergency!
I buy individual smoked chicken breasts at my local IGA – but you can usually find them at delicatessens and good butchers. They do look rather disgusting (kinda shrivelled on the outside) until you rinse and slice them, but don’t be deterred!
The other ace ingredient I’ve used here is pre-cooked baby beets. I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING. You’re thinking, ‘I’m not the type of person who buys pre-cooked vegetables from the supermarket grocery section!’. I know. I’m not either. BUT hear me out! Firstly, beetroots have got to be the most annoyingly messy, stain-y food to prepare and cook from scratch, and secondly, pre-cooked baby beet truly taste EXACTLY the same as if you had cooked them yourself. Cast your pre-cooked prejudices aside and give them a shot – my Mum got me onto them and, you know, Mums always know best.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 cup red quinoa
1 smoked chicken breast
1 can butter beans (or cannellini beans)
1 handful fresh parsley
1 sachet pre-cooked baby beetroots (or, 3-4 baby beets)
50g crumbled fetta or goats cheese
1 small handful walnuts
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
This bowl really has only one ingredient that requires cooking, the red quinoa. My top tip with quinoa is simple – don’t overcook it. Much like rice, if you put too much water in, or if you leave it cooking for too long, it can go a bit soggy – ideally you want the grains to retain their nutty texture.
Read the specific instructions on the package – usually it’s best to rinse quinoa in a sieve under running water, then transfer to a pot with 2 cups of cold water for every cup of quinoa. Bring it to the boil then turn down to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 mins or until all liquid is absorbed.
As soon as it’s cooked, take the quinoa straight out of the pot and transfer into a large mixing bowl, separating the grains out with a fork to allow them to cool and dry off a bit. Once cooled, season the grains with a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper.
THAT is the hardest part, Everything else is a piece of cake.
Rinse and pat dry your smoked chicken breast. Peel off the gross shrivelled skin (if it came with skin on). Slice.
Drain and rinse your can of butter beans. Stir through some roughly chopped parsley, and dress this mini salad with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. (A little lemon zest is a nice addition too).
Lastly, your beetroot salad. Serve your pre-cooked baby beets straight from the packet (AMAZING). Crumble fetta / goats cheese over the top, add walnuts, and dress with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Plate up your quinoa, sliced chicken, bean salad and beetroot salad. Add a few fresh green leaves to balance it out. Drizzle the whole dish with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.