Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls
I’m late to a lot of parties. Literally and figuratively. And to be perfectly honest, I’m 100 percent cool with that—especially when it comes to things like trendy books, music, movies, and foodstuffs. (I’m never late to a TV party. You know this.)
By the time I get around to experiencing the wonders of a given trend, people have often already begun to forget about it, so I like to be the one to remind them, “HEY! [Insert cool thing] is awesome!” (And then I cross my fingers and pray that down the line they mistakenly remember me as the one who introduced them to said cool thing.) Examples include quinoa risotto, cauliflower crust pizza, and in the case of today’s recipe, sweet potato noodles. So…
HEY! Sweet potato noodles are awesome!
You heard it here last first. Tell everyone you know.
Given my spiralizing fetish, you’d think I would have embraced sweet potato noodles sooner, but until recently, I was too busy spiralizing summer squash (and the occasional jicama) to experiment with spuds. Full disclosure, my first batch of sweet potato noodles was born out of necessity rather than culinary curiosity. I was scouring my fridge and pantry for random stuff I could use for dinner, and the only produce I had on hand was a lone sweet potato. I went to cube and roast it, but I was starving and didn’t want to wait the 35 minutes for the oven to pre-heat and the cubes to roast. My spiralizer was basically staring me down on the countertop, so I thought, why not give sweet potato noodles a shot? I knew they wouldn’t take much more than 5 minutes to cook, and they’d probably turn the spicy chicken and sweet potato bowl in my head into something slightly more exciting. Orange noodles would be so festive!
And they really were. Sweet potato noodles may just replace zucchini as my go-to spiralized vegetable. They don’t release any water, which is glorious, and there’s something about their hearty texture and versatile sweetness that pairs beautifully with all manner of sauces and dressings. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also bursting with nutritional benefits. I don’t want to bore you with the infinitieth Domesticate ME! dissertation on the wonders of sweet potatoes, but just as a refresher, the spuds are loaded with fiber, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and a laundry list of disease-fighting antioxidants. WHOOOP!
I’ve made a variety of sweet potato noodle recipes recently—usually while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (I was also late to that party)—but this Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl remains my favorite.
This recipe is laughably simple, but so, SO bomb, friends. The sweet potato noodles are tossed with your favorite salsa, topped with warmly spiced ground chicken and a runny fried egg, and finished with creamy avocado and a generous sprinkling of fresh cilantro. The whole shebang comes together in about 25 minutes, and it’s quite the fiery flavor fiesta, so you’re gonna want to work it into your dinner and breakfast/brunch rotation ASAFP.
For those that don’t own a spiralizer, don’t panic. (But you should probably add that shiz to your Chrismukkuh list, stat.) You can easily make these bowls with roasted sweet potatoes instead of noodles. Simply dice your sweet potato into ½-inch cubes and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and roast at 375 for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time, until tender and lightly browned. Transfer them to bowls with the spicy chicken and pour the salsa on top. Boom, done.
And since I know someone will ask, yes, it’s cool if you sub ground turkey for chicken. Just be sure to use 93% lean turkey—99% lean will be kinda sad and dry. Lean beef or bison would also be great, and vegetarians should definitely try this with tofu. Quickly cooking a can of drained and rinsed black or pinto beans with the spice mix is another killer option for veg-heads/peeps looking to limit their meat intake. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls: (Serves 2)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
½ pound ground chicken (Feel free to sub 93% lean ground turkey if you prefer.)
¾ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1½ tablespoons minced pickled jalapenos (plus extra for serving)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and spiralized using the blade that makes spaghetti-like noodles
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup salsa of your choice
½ avocado, sliced or diced
Freshly chopped cilantro for serving (optional)
Preparing your Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls:
-Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. (Be very careful not to burn it, peeps!)
-Add the chicken and cook, stirring and breaking the meat up into small pieces with a spatula, until no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes.
-Add the cumin, dried oregano, chili powder, jalapeños, and a pinch of salt, and cook for 1 minute to toast the spices. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet and return it to the stove over medium heat.
-Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. (I know I switched pans in the pictures. Do as I say, not as I do.) When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the sweet potato noodles and a good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally (tongs are very helpful here!), until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
-Add the salsa to the noodles and for about 30 seconds just until heated through.
-Divide the noodles between two bowls and briefly set aside.
-It’s time to fry the eggs! Wipe out the skillet again, and return it to the stove over medium heat. (If your skillet isn’t perfectly nonstick, add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan.) When hot, add the eggs, making sure to leave plenty of space between them. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the white are just set but the yolks are still runny. (If your eggs aren’t setting, cover the skillet with a lid for a minute or so to help them along.)
-Add half of the spicy chicken to each bowl and top with an egg and half the avocado. Garnish with cilantro and pickled jalapeños if you’re feeling festive.
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