One-Pot Noodles with Chicken, Butternut Squash and Bok Choy
It’s full-blown Thanksgiving madness on the Internets right now, which I obviously support. God knows I love T-Day. But since we’re a week out, I figure you’ve likely got your menu locked in at this point (if not, these are my best offerings) and may be down with some everyday fare. I mean, we’ve all still gotta eat between now and next Thursday.
Here’s the thing. The holidays—they’re upon us, people!—are glorious, but they also tend to wreak havoc on the health front. There are endless celebrations to attend, cocktails to drink, fingie foods to attack, and various forms of sugar coming at you from all directions. There’s a lot less sleep happening. Not to mention the fact that most of us are dealing with FRIGID weather.
While I believe in embracing a treat yo’self mentality during the drunk bath holiday season, I am also a delicate flower who needs to maintain some sense of healthy routine/normalcy in order to avoid becoming a sequin-clad ball of anxiety with a face rash and a runny nose come mid-December. That’s where nourishing one-pot meals come in.
I rounded up some of my favorite cozy one-pot recipes here, but I wanted to introduce you to a recent (and epic) addition to the rotation: One-Pot Noodles with Chicken, Butternut Squash and Bok Choy.
This baby, like most of my best recipes, was born of a clean-out-the-fridge experiment. I had some rice noodles, butternut squash, and baby bok choy leftover from Dude Diet testing and thought they might make quite the base for a sweet and savory noodle bowl. Cleary, they did.
The first batch was so good that I made the recipe again a few days later, throwing in some chicken for extra protein, more fresh garlic and ginger to boost flavor and immunity, and a splash of Thai fish sauce for funky, umami-laced awesomeness. This version of the noodles far exceeded my expectations on their own, but once I got a little fresh lime juice, cilantro, peanuts, and a sinus-clearing amount of sriracha involved? Mind blown. (I haven’t said that about a recipe in a while, right? Don’t answer that.)
These comforting and convenient noodles come together in 45 minutes from start to finish—only about 15 minutes of which is hands on time—and given the one-pot element, there’s minimal cleanup. They taste indulgent but happen to be loaded with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and immunity boosting ingredients to help you keep it tight and ward off seasonal sickness. They also happen to be gluten- and dairy-free and Dude Diet-friendly. (Hallelujah!)
Now for the requisite you do you options. These noodles are served in a delicious broth, but they’re not “soupy.” If you want to turn this into a noodle soup (I support it), add an extra cup or so of broth and a tiny bit more soy sauce and fish sauce if needed. The recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts, which are cooked in the broth, but feel free to add shredded roasted or rotisserie chicken, or leftover Thanksgiving turkey(!!!) if you prefer. To add even more fiber and nutrients, try brown rice pad Thai noodles (I like Annie Chun’s brand), or sub zucchini noodles for a grain-free/paleo-friendly twist. Sweet potatoes can obviously be subbed for butternut squash, and the bok choy can be replaced with your favorite leafy green (although I do love the crunch of the baby bok choy stems).
- 1 tablespoon light sesame oil olive oil or coconut oil is also fine
- ½ medium yellow onion minced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled and freshly grated ginger
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash sliced into ¾-inch cubes
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 ounces straight-cut rice noodles sometimes labeled pad Thai noodles
- 6 ounces baby bok choy about 3 heads baby bok choy, sliced crosswise into ½-inch pieces
- 3 scallions white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
For serving: (optional)
- Freshly chopped cilantro
- Chopped roasted peanuts or cashews
- Lime wedges
Heat the oil in a medium Dutch oven or sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the ginger and butternut squash and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the chicken broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer.
Slice the chicken breasts in half crosswise (this will help them cook faster) and add them to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cover for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the squash is just tender.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred the meat with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the pan and add the rice noodles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles have softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the scallions and bok choy and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bok choy leaves have wilted and the stems are slightly softened. Taste the noodles and season with a little salt if needed.
Ladle the noodles and broth into bowls and serve garnished with chopped cilantro and peanuts, a drizzle of Sriracha if you love heat, and lime wedges.
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