This year, I made a big career jump and left the restaurant industry. I’ve found a new home in the marketing world for a local company, and for the first time in many years, I’m at a more traditional desk job.
This move has obviously had a big impact on many different parts of my life, but one of the most notable has been the reduction in my waist line. Slowly but surely, I’ve managed to slip off about 10 pounds in the few of months since I made the transition, and you better believe it’s in large part because I can’t just have delicious pasta at the push of a button. Instead, I’ve mostly been eating lots of leftovers reimagined as rice bowls or something similar, and it’s totally working for me. Every lunch is super tasty and something I look forward to, but they usually clock in at around 400 calories instead of a 700 calorie gut bomb in the middle of my day.
The basics of any good rice bowl is rice + protein + veggie + sauce. I use a wide variety of rices, but it’s usually Basmati, basic long grain white, or wild rice. Protein is usually chicken, but ground turkey, leftover steak, salmon, or half meat/half beans make appearances, too. Veggies are whatever I have in my fridge.
The key component to making these rice bowls exciting is the sauce. Sometimes it’s as simple as guac or sriracha, but other times I like to shake it up with something I’ve made. This particular sauce has become a recent favorite. In fact, this post is really about the sauce- it’d be good over just about anything.
This combination of ingredients totally hit the mark. Wild rice (I used Lundberg Farms Wild Blend Rice ordered from Thrive Market), grilled chicken I’d let sit in a simple lemon/olive oil/herb marinade, and sautéed spinach. I’ve gotten into the habit of making enough servings of dinner to give me a few bonus lunches, so these bowls come together super easy.
The sauce is easy and wonderful and my new favorite thing in the world. Are you ready? Are you sure? Okay: sriracha, paprika, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, kosher salt. And that’s all she wrote. Smoky, spicy, citrusy, and everything that is good in this world. I promise it will make you smile.
In addition to being a great sauce, it would make a killer marinade. Just up the batch size a bit!
Chicken and Wild Rice Bowl with Paprika Sriracha Sauce
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 lemon juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 tsp butter
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Add all ingredients for the chicken except the chicken breasts to a large plastic bag. Shake until combined. Add the chicken breasts and shake to coat. Let sit in refrigerator for 2-24 hours.
- In your rice cooker or according to package directions, prepare the wild rice with water and the 1/2 tsp salt.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare remaining ingredients. Preheat your grill to medium high heat. Grill the chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes on each side, until slightly charred and completely cooked through. Let rest for at least 3 minutes before slicing.
- Add the 1 tsp butter to a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it just starts to brown. Add the water and spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach has wilted.
- To make the sauce, add all ingredients for the sauce to a small jar or tupperware container. Shake until combined.
- To assemble, measure 1/2 cup cooked rice into bowls. Slice the chicken long ways into thin (1/2 inch) strips. Top the rice with chicken and spinach. Drizzle sauce over the top.