This recipe is inspired by one of my very good friends, who made a similar dish for a large group of adults and children on a ski trip. As a few of our kids were quite little and somewhat picky, she mixed all the veggies into a tasty and smooth sauce. The result was delicious, and both kids and parents nearly licked their plates.
Although I’m an advocate of serving children real veggies they can actually recognize as such, I’m not shy about sneaking in a few veggies from time to time. Less protest, negotiations, and food debates, and just soooo satisfying to watch your kids effortlessly gobble down their veggies.
Cook once, eat twice
This recipe requires a few more minutes and ingredients than most of my recipes, but it’s totally worth the effort. Especially if you apply my golden trick: “Cook once, eat twice”.
The quantities of the sauce will cover about 2 family dinners. And if you’re smarter than smart, you make a double batch and freeze a month’s worth of stress-free, healthy meals.
I usually freeze leftover sauce in BPA-free plastic Ziploc (still looking for a flat recipient that’s not made from plastic), and store them in the freezer until needed. To defrost, you can either put them in the fridge before you run out of the house in the morning or bathe the bag a few minutes in warm water. It will defrost in a few minutes.
Adaptable in many ways
This veggie sauce pairs well with chicken (as in the recipe below), but is also great with meatballs, veal, or white fish, to name just a few. I also often add it to pasta sauce to sneak in extra veggies.
It can be made with virtually any veggies, and I usually throw in whatever I have in the fridge. Great veggies for this sauce are carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach, or kale, although the last two will of course produce a less vibrant colour.
I like to serve this healthy chicken recipe with brown rice, black rice, or quinoa. For an extra vitamin boost, try serving this chicken and vegetable sauce over zucchini noodles.
4 (+ leftovers)
- 3-4 chicken breasts (ideally cut in 2 or 3 length-wise to reduce cooking time)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 white onion, minced
- 1 large carrot, finely cut or grated
- 1 large zucchini, finely cut or grated
- 2 red bell peppers (or one red and one yellow), cut in small cubes
- 200 ml (6.8 oz.) coconut milk
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. mild curry powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric (curcuma)
- 1 tsp. mild paprika
- Black pepper & salt
Note: You could use a bouillon cube instead of tamari, but make sure to avoid commercial brands like Maggi and Knorr, which are bursting with ingredients you want to avoid by all means. Prefer organic brands, and read labels. You want to avoid: sugar, MSG, and hydrogenated palm oil, and prefer low sodium. If in doubt, a few cracks of salt and some spices will definitely do the trick.
- Prepare rice or quinoa if making.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or grass-fed organic butter in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken breasts until no longer pink inside (5-10 minutes each side, depending on thickness). Set aside.
- Using the same pan or skillet, heat more olive oil and sauté garlic and onion for about 1 minute.
- Add the carrots, zucchini and bell pepper, and sauté for another 5-10 minutes. Add some water if the veggies are getting too dry and stick to the pan.
- When vegetables are soft, add coconut milk, tomatoes, tamari, and spices.
- Bring to a boil and let simmer on medium heat for minimum 10 minutes. Just like bolognese sauce, the longer it simmers, the better it tastes.
- Add the chicken gravy. Transfer the sauce to a blender, or mix using a hand mixer. Adjust the taste adding more spices, salt, pepper, or tamari.
- Return the chicken to the skillet. Sprinkle with herbs if desired. Serve immediately with brown or black rice, quinoa, or zucchini noodles.