Caribbean jerk seasoning offers big flavors of sweet, smoky, and deep warmth thanks to the allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Tender, juicy chicken that is rubbed with the unique jerk seasoning is cooled by fluffy, creamy coconut rice and beans and finished with sweet pineapple salsa. This bowl has it all!
I got the girls’ soccer schedules AND Gina resurfaced the idea of resurrecting our podcast, Dietitians Dish. I’m traveling this weekend and next. My back is still on the mend and is making slow progress. My poor PT is working overtime on me and has been since January. Lord love her, she’s the best. Needless to say, life has been a little crazy and the weather has been an absolute dream. Despite my back strain, I cranked out over 18,000 steps on Tuesday and while that was probably a bit too much, it felt glorious to be outside and in the sunshine. I loved every second, even the physically uncomfortable ones. Winter really has a way of arranging the things that bring joy and sunshine and warm temperatures definitely does the trick for me.
A bunch of girlfriends and I are heading to Chicago this weekend to see Jagged Little Pill and spend some time tearing up rooftop bars in the city. Can’t wait! I’m even taking the Amtrak in tomorrow because #citylife. I’m pumped!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Fans of Flavor: You guys, Caribbean Jerk seasoning is legit. It is all the things: sweet, spicy, smoky, salty, warm. There is something incredibly unique about the combination of flavors and colorful ingredients that make this feel like one exotic meal! Delicious flavors of the Caribbean shine through with this island bowl! I don’t have a ton of experience with Caribbean recipes, but if flavor is your thing, the flavors of the Caribbean will most definitely be your thing, too! A little taste of the tropics!
- Bowls: Hip-hip-hooray for those all-in-one meals that marry together various flavors into a masterpiece-in-a-bowl. That stunning presentation is hard to resist and creates for some fun leftovers, too!
- Balance: Healthy fats, lean proteins, fiber-rich beans all make for a perfectly balanced meal. I love that the carbohydrate can easily be reduced, if desired, and the protein is ample while the fat comes from (mostly) healthy, unsaturated sources. It’s a meal you can feel great about serving your crew! Healthy eating that tastes this good? That’s the best part!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Jerk Seasoning: If you can find a pre-made jerk seasoning, go for it! I would recommend 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons if not making your own. Be mindful of heat – some are spicier than others!
- Rice: I used a short grain rice which uses 1 1/2 cups of liquid per cup of dry rice. You can certainly use a long grain rice, or perhaps even better – brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice if you want to increase the fiber and nutrition of the recipe! Note: each of those will require a different amount of liquid (or no liquid!) and a slightly different preparation. But, some options especially if you want to go low carb or lower in carb!
- Coconut Milk: Most of the liquid in cooking the rice comes from coconut milk which gives on a rich, creamy, subtly sweet and nutty flavor. However, if you prefer a simpler route or don’t like or have coconut milk on hand, you can use another unsweetened nut milk, water, or broth in its place. You will need 3 cups in total for cooking the rice.
- Pineapple: Mango would be a fun swap for the pineapple in this recipe. I used fresh and when it comes to pineapple, have a strong belief that fresh pineapple is best from a flavor perspective, however you can certainly swap in canned. Try to get the pineapple in natural juices if you go this route.
- Beans: I used pinto beans out of preference but black beans or kidney beans would be great, too! Truly, use what you prefer. If you don’t like beans, omit them – totally fine!
- Olive Oil: Coconut oil is a great swap for olive oil in this recipe. Coconut oil is a staple in Caribbean cuisine, too!
- Lime Juice: Don’t skip this part of the salsa, it offers that citrus contrast to the sweet pineapple that gives all of the flare of Caribbean cuisine!
- What I love about making my own jerk seasoning is the ability to reduce the salt. Some seasoning mixes are quite high in sodium!
- Dairy-free with no changes – love it!
- This recipe is very high in fiber thanks to the fiber-rich beans, avocado, and pineapple! Coming in at 8.2 grams of fiber, this dish is a great source of fiber!
- To decrease the amount carbohydrate in the recipe, quinoa or cauliflower rice are great alternatives. Quinoa would offer additional protein while still offering that fluffy goodness to serve the chicken and salsa over. You can use the coconut milk to cook the quinoa, just as you would the rice.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, AND TIPS
- Store the salsa separate from the rice and chicken for reheating purposes. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- I highly recommend prepping what you can ahead of time. For instance, that pineapple salsa will be EVEN BETTER on days 2 and 3!
- Jerk chicken has a lot of uses that can be used beyond this recipe. Double up and use on salads or sandwiches throughout the week! I also love to double or even triple spice recipes so that I can store them for a future date and save some time in the kitchen!
- If you decide to grill your chicken, you can add some skewered vegetables to increase the veggie component of this meal. Green bell peppers, red onion, or sweet potatoes would be fun additions to the meal and stick with that Caribbean flare!
- This is a great recipe to meal plan so that you can eat throughout the week!
- 5 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper*
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- A small pinch of nutmeg
- A small pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground allspice
Rice and Beans:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15 oz) can reduced fat coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups short grain rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups pineapple, diced
- 3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Or heat a grill to medium heat.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, cayenne, brown sugar, oregano, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice; mix until combined.
- Rub each chicken breast with olive oil and then with the dry rub on all sides.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 13-15 minutes or grill for 5-7 minutes per side. Remove to a cutting board to rest. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before thinly slicing.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the coconut milk, rice, water, and beans; bring to a simmer.
- Cover the rice and beans with a lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before fluffing and serving.
- Prepare the pineapple salsa by combining the pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl; mix well.
- Prepare bowls with rice and beans topped with chicken, pineapple salsa, and avocado.
*use less cayenne if you prefer less spice
If you can find jerk seasoning, use 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons
Recipe adapted from Olive and Mango
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 578Total Fat: 19.2gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 734mgCarbohydrates: 74.2gFiber: 8.2gSugar: 11.2gProtein: 32.2g
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