I think it’s fair to say that chicken and sweet potato is a pretty standard combination on a lot of meal preps, bodybuilder sites and general health and fitness blogs. There’s a reason for it — lean protein, low-GI carbs, easy to make.
That said, there is absolutely no reason for it to be bland or boring. It aggravates me so much when people just skip out on flavour when it comes to basic meals. Here, I prepare all three parts separately and combine them.
The order you should do this in (for efficiency):
- Prep your chicken first, so it marinates for as long as possible while you’re doing everything else.
- Get your sweet potatoes chopped, spiced, and stick them in the oven.
- Make your black beans while your potatoes are cooking.
- Grill your chicken.
Chop two large sweet potatoes, or three medium ones, into wedges.
- 1 heaped tbsp hot smoked paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp sea salt
If you don’t have (or can’t find) hot smoked paprika, use smoked paprika and add a 1/2 to 1 tsp of chilli powder, depending on how hot you like it. The smoked paprika is essential here, the regular sort doesn’t impart the same flavour.
Toss your wedges in the spices along with 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, then bake at 200C for 30-40 minutes, until slightly charred. That’s where a ton of the flavour comes from. If you don’t have that long, 20 minutes will be long enough for them to be cooked.
For your chicken:
- Four chicken breasts (500g total)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Slice halfway into your chicken to ensure even cooking time. Leave it to marinate for three-quarters of the time it takes to cook your sweet potatoes. Once you’re ready to grill it, use a grill machine (which is what I did) or a hot griddle on the stovetop. It takes me about five to six minutes for my chicken to be ready. DON’T overcook it!
Just as important as not overcooking your chicken (which will dry it out), let it sit after it’s come off the grill. If the juices don’t settle, you will once again lose out on moistness and flavour.
For your black beans:
- Two small onions, chopped
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chilli powder
Add your onions to a hot pan and let it them fry off for a little while until they’re golden. Add your chilli powder here as well, to cook off the powder a bit.
Then add your beans and make sure to have the flavours incorporate well. Once you’re satisfied it’s well-mixed, take it off the heat.
This recipe makes enough for four portions. For those of you counting macros, if you stick to my ingredients, you’ll end up with roughly 38g of protein, 76g carbs and 12.4g of fat per portion, at a total of 565 calories.
I was trying to up my protein here, but I also upped my carbs because I’d needed it that week. Now that I’m lowering my carb intake and upping my protein some more, I’d probably reduce the amount of sweet potato — but that’s the great thing about meal prep. You mix and match to suit your needs and requirements.
As for serving it up, it won’t surprise you to know I like my food to look good! I usually heat up my portion at work and then serve it up for myself on a bed of baby spinach to get some greens in.
Simple, quick – 40 minutes for four meals! – and delicious. Let me know if you’ve got an meal preps you want to see.
As always, bilafiya (well wishes and wellbeing)