(Printable recipe below)
When you're looking for an easy throw together dinner in the middle of the week, we love one pan meals. Mediterranean dishes are often low carbohydrate, full of nutrient dense veg and healthy fats like the indispensable extra virgin olive oil.
During lockdown we sometimes need to make do with what's in our freezer and pantry, which is what I did for this recipe. Don't be afraid to vary the veg & legumes. Chickpeas are nutty legumes which a great plant source of protein and fibre making you feel fuller for longer. If you don't have roast capsicum in your pantry, I think artichoke hearts, or sun-dried tomatoes would also be great. Anything with an olive oil & vinegar marinade to add to the more-ish tang.
Cauliflower, like all cruciferous veg, are full of fibre, low kilojoule, high in folate and vitamin K. In fact 1 cup of cauliflower has around 70% of your daily needs of vitamin K, which is used for blood clotting, cell growth and bone formation.
As always the nutrient breakdown here is only a guide. I know what you're thinking - YIKES look at the energy from fat! However, don't forget to compare total fat with the saturated fat (as you should on all nutrition labels). The saturated fat here is pretty low. Also, don't think of it as the meal is 60.5% fat - it's the ENERGY. Fat yields 37 kilojoules of energy per gram, whereas carbs and protein yield 17 kilojoules per gram. Most of the fat (65% of it) comes from olive oil and olives which are full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. To reduce the total fat you could use chicken breasts rather than thighs.
Preheat oven to 180 celsius
Cut cauliflower into quarters and then cut into 1cm slices. Some of the florets will fall away but you'll also get some lovely 'steaks' of veg.
Drain roasted capsicum, but reserving some of the marinated oil.
If not already sliced, slice capsicum into strips and set aside
Combine salt, herbs and paprika.
After trimming excess fat off chicken thighs, rub in half the spice mix with a splash of the oil. Cover as much of the chicken as possible.
Drizzle olive oil into base of baking tray and place in oven to preheat for 10 mins
Take tray out of oven, taking care as it will be hot, and arrange onion slices and garlic in the middle of the tray (the chicken will sit on top of this), and arrange cauliflower around the outside of the tray. Scatter chickpeas around the tray. Place chicken thighs on top of the onion & garlic. The chicken should not be covered by any of cauliflower.
Spread capsicum slices and pine nuts around the tray, sprinkle on lemon zest and drizzle reserved marinated oil over everything.
Place tray in oven for 20 mins.
Take tray out. Move chicken aside from onion & garlic, and mix veg in tray to cover in all the delicious juice. Replace chicken, other side up. Bake for another 20 mins.
Check for chicken for doneness, if needed, return to oven for another 5, but be careful not to overcook chicken or it will be dry.
Serve on a bed of fresh spinach leaves and a few mixed olives around the plate (I thought of the olives after the fact, but they'd also be great done with everything else in the oven). Drizzle with a little more olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. Enjoy!
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