Have you ever heard of the Whole 30? One of my coworkers was talking about his experience following the Whole 30 regimen the other day and I was inspired by how good he said he felt. So inspired, in fact, that I very nearly agreed to commit to 30 days without any sugar, legumes, dairy, grains, and just about every other food group I hold near and dear to my heart. If you haven’t heard of the Whole30, the basic idea is that you eat a lot of meat and vegetables and no processed foods for 30 days and then feel 8 million times better than the average person does.
I actually seriously considered it for a few hours. I mentally drew up a list of pros and cons. Weighed my options.
I will definitely concede that I could do with less sugar and carbs in my diet. But as someone who eats meat 1-2 times a week at most, the idea of eating meat at almost every meal makes me a little uncomfortable. Especially given the recent general agreement among people way more educated than I am that most meats are carcinogenic.
And, well, legumes. I eat beans and peanuts every flippin’ day.
I haven’t completely ruled out the idea of (maybe) someday committing to the Whole 30. But until such a time that my will power miraculously becomes iron clad, these Thai Chicken Salad Bowls are my version of a compromise.
Lean protein, tons of veggies, brown rice, and, well, peanut sauce.
I do love me some legumes.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to call these beauties. They’re kind of like a salad in that they involve a lot of crispy, crunchy veggies. They are also kind of like a bowl in that you layer those veggies with tangy, shredded chicken over rice and then top the whole thing with creamy, spicy, and seriously delicious peanut coconut sauce.
Whatever you want to call them, they are delicious, filling, and (arguably) healthy.
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ⅔ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons chili paste (sambal oelek)
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed
- ½ cup cilantro
- ½ cup light coconut milk
- 2 cups cooked rice
- ½ head napa cabbage
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 large carrots
- 1 cucumber
- 3 green onions
- ½ cup cilantro
- Begin by combining the first six ingredients, whisking until slightly emulsified. Marinate chicken in mixture for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- While chicken is marinating, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Grill the chicken on a pre-heated grill over medium heat for about 6-7 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature has reached around 165 degrees fahrenheit. Remove from the grill and let cool for a few minutes before shredding the chicken with two forks.
- While chicken is on the grill, shred the cabbage and carrots, thinly slice the red pepper and green onions, and chop the cucumber into bite-sized pieces. Toss the veggies together in a large bowl.
- To serve, layer rice, veggies, chicken, and sauce.