These flavor-packed Moroccan Chicken Bowls include chicken dusted with warming spices, a fresh and sweet nectarine sauce, lightly browned zucchini, and tangy olives. It's a Moroccan party in a bowl!
The recipe for these Moroccan Chicken Bowls with Nectarine Sauce came to me on a night when we were running low on food. Not wanting to make a trip to the grocery store I scoured the fridge, freezer, and pantry for inspiration.
I found some chicken breasts in the freezer and nectarines in the pantry. From the fridge I was able to grab some green olives and the combination of these three ingredients brought to mind Moroccan chicken tagine.
A tagine is often a slow cooked dish that combines chicken, Moroccan spices, dried apricots, and olives, which is then topped with mint and a crunchy sprinkle of almonds.
I wanted to create a quick cooking dish inspired by a traditional tagine, without the long cook time. And, I wanted to put the fresh nectarines I had on hand to good use, so I swapped those in for dried apricots.
The chicken in these bowls is coated with an easy Moroccan-inspired blend, adding the flavors of a tagine without much effort. The other parts of the bowl cook quickly in the same pan and then everything is assembled in one bowl.
Feel free to serve these bowls atop quinoa, couscous, or brown rice. Or go paleo-style and skip the grains altogether. You can't go wrong. As written, this recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly.
Kid-friendly notes. These Moroccan Chicken Bowls with Nectarine Sauce may not at first seem to be super kid-friendly, but with some adaptions you may be surprised that your little ones will be asking for seconds. Here are some options for adapting the recipe for resistant eaters:
- The spice blend for the chicken is very kid-friendly (my 3 year-old ate all her spiced chicken and asked for more), but if you think your child won't go for it cook up some plain chicken seasoned simply with salt.
- The nectarine sauce is also pretty kid-friendly, but hold aside some raw sliced nectarines to serve in place of the sauce if necessary.
- Serve all the parts of the bowl separately on his or her plate with the sauce on the side for dipping.
- Substitute an alternate veggie if she's not a fan of cooked zucchini.
Now, on to the recipe!
Moroccan Chicken Bowls with Nectarine Sauce
For the Chicken:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Nectarine Sauce:
4 nectarines, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
To Assemble the Bowls:
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup green olives, chopped
4 tablespoons roasted, salted almonds
¼ cup lightly packed mint, chopped
1. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, garlic powder, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken pieces, tossing well to coat.
2. In a large Dutch oven or pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken in one layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (you may need to sauté the chicken in 2 batches). Sauté for 4-5 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown. Flip the chicken and sauté an additional 4-5 minutes or until both sides are browned and crisp. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
3. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan along with the nectarines, lemon juice, and honey (if using). Sauté over medium-low heat, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan until the apricots are just softened, about 4 minutes. Remove the nectarine mixture from the pan and set aside.
4. Wipe the pan clean, then add 1 teaspoon olive oil and the zucchini. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, then sauté over medium-high heat, flipping once, until browned and cooked through on both sides, about 8 minutes.
5. Assemble the final dish by arranging the cooked chicken, zucchini, green olives, and nectarine sauce in bowls. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and mint. Serve warm.
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