As the weather heats up, a cool and healthy lunch is something I crave regularly. Caprese, chicken and couscous come together over a bed of greens for a delicious combination that is both satisfying and filling in these Chicken Caprese Lunch Bowls. Fresh leaves of basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar round out this make ahead meal.
I was between quinoa and couscous as a grain here and when I opened my pantry and realized I was out of quinoa- couscous it was! Either would be delicious because they're a filling and healthy grain that are just as delicious warm or cold, something that I don't is as true find with rice.
For this recipe I used #galbani pearl mozzarella balls.
They have them both as original and also marinated in olive oil and herbs. I kept things simple here and stuck with the original but I think the marinated version would be great if you're looking for a more filling meal or are someone who likes a little extra flavor and dressing. If you can't find the marinated ones you can create your own using dried herbs and olive oil! I included the olive oil as optional in the recipe and nutrition facts so that you modify as you prefer!
I love searing my chicken on the stove in a cast iron pan and transferring it to the oven to finish cooking.
I think it creates perfectly juicy and flavorful chicken. I even use a meat thermometer to avoid over cooking. The biggest issue with make ahead chicken dishes is dried out chicken. Reheating can ruin a perfectly cooked chicken sometimes. This dish is perfect because there is no reheating involved! BUT if you must, I recommend adding the dressing first so it has some extra juices to soak up while it warms.
Chicken Caprese Lunch Bowls
8 servings | 30 minutes
1.5-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 lbs cherry tomatoes
8 oz #galbani pearl mozzarella balls (marinated or original)
8 cups chopped spinach
1 cup couscous or quinoa
1/4 cup fresh basil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Optional: 1-2 tbsp olive oil (I left this out on mine but if you prefer an oil based dressing it would be delicious)
Grill the chicken. I used two large chicken breasts for this recipe (~3/4 lb each) and cooked them in a cast iron.
Preheat the oven to 350F,
Heat cast iron-seasoned with salt and olive oil spray- on the stove. Sear chicken for 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Season the top side of the chicken with salt and pepper. Flip and season the second side. Transfer the cast iron the oven and bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes (depending on thickness of chicken). I used a meat thermometer and removed it when it reached an internal temperature of 165. Let the chicken rest and cool prior to slicing.
Cook the couscous or quinoa. I used couscous and cooked it according to the packaging (brought water to a boil, added couscous and removed from heat for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork). For quinoa I typically follow my Minute Instant Pot Quinoa recipe.
Start with a base of chopped spinach.
Spoon coucous over the spinach. Slice the chicken into very thin strips and add to the bowl.
Sprinkle in cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. I used the original pearl mozzarella balls but the marinated version would add great flavor to the dressing!
Top with salt and pepper and drizzle balsamic vinegar and (if using) olive oil over everything.
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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used.