There’s something so gratifying about using an entire vegetable.
A few months back, my boyfriend and I tried out several meal delivery services. While they didn’t end up being the right fit for us (I like coming up with my own recipes way too much to have them pre-determined for me), I did pick up one or two tricks that I’m still using. One tip from a Plated recipe was to use the stems of leafy greens like Swiss chard in your cooking, instead of throwing them out. You remove the stems from the greens, then finely dice the stems. Throw them in pan with some oil and maybe some garlic or onions. They’ll soften beautifully and add a unique flavor. Then add your greens, let ’em wilt, and voila. You just used a whole plant! This tip is also awesome for using up those so-often-wasted beet greens.
Sautéed greens are rad as a solo side, of course, but don’t forget that they can easily be incorporated into your main dish, such as this version of a Smitten Kitchen recipe for Ginger Fried rice. This meal is so yummy and satisfying that I’ve included it in our meal plan for two weeks (and counting?) — I don’t usually like to repeat recipes so close together, but I can’t help it with this one.
Deb’s recipe originally came from Mark Bittman, and it’s pretty much flawless. If you follow her measurements for oil, you’ll get a restaurant-quality dish that feels decadent. But for my weeknight dinner purposes, I cut down on the oil — still delicious, but healthier-ish. Deb also uses peanut and sesame oils in her recipe, and while I love the flavor of both, they’re not something I typically keep on hand, so I subbed in neutral oils instead. I also added chicken, which isn’t called for in her original recipe, since I’m upping my protein consumption for weight-lifting. (Y’all, that is not a sentence I ever thought I would write, but I kind of love power-lifting? Also not a sentence I ever thought I would write.) If you’re vegetarian, just skip the first three ingredients and the first paragraph of instructions in this recipe for an easy and filling meal.
You also could, technically, make this recipe into a one-pan deal, and I understand not wanting to clean as many pans, but . . . this way you can work on all your elements simultaneously, and then you get to eat earlier, which is way better than extra dishes, in my mind.
GINGER-GARLIC FRIED RICE WITH CHICKEN AND GREENS
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 6 servings
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into ~2-inch cubes
- 5-6 tbsp neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
- 1 cup beet greens or chard, stems separated from leaves and cut into small dice, leaves roughly torn or chopped
- 4 cups day-old cooked brown rice (though to be honest, it’s rare that I have day-old rice — I usually end up cooking rice same-day for this recipe)
- 4 large eggs
- 2-4 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
- Optional: hot sauce, such as Yellowbird Habanero or Sriracha
Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season diced chicken liberally with salt on one side. When the coconut oil has melted and starts to shimmer, add chicken to the pan. Let chicken sear, undisturbed, for roughly 7-8 minutes. Flip to the second side, and sear until chicken starts to turn golden brown, 3-5 minutes. If you’re having trouble getting the golden brown sear, try carefully draining off excess liquid. When fully cooked, set chicken aside.
Meanwhile, in a large, high-sided skillet skillet, heat 1 tbsp canola oil over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes until crispy. Transfer ginger and garlic to a paper-towel lined plate.
In the same skillet (no need to wipe out browned bits), add another 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add leeks and stir occasionally. After about five or so minutes, add the diced stems from the greens. Cook leeks and stems for another five minutes, until both are tender, but not browned.
Next, stir in leafy greens, adding another tablespoon of oil if the mixture seems too dry. Allow greens to wilt slightly, about three minutes, but color should still be vibrant.
Increase heat to medium and add rice, chicken, and another tablespoon of oil. Stir until rice and chicken are heated through, OR if you’d like to get your rice a little crispier, let sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes, then use a spatula to “flip” some of the rice and let sit for another 5-10 minutes. (Note: Don’t be alarmed if your rice suddenly looks a little pink — super normal if you used beet greens or rainbow chard. Enjoy the whimsy!)
While you wait for the rice to crisp up, heat remaining oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat (you can wipe out the skillet you used for the chicken if you happened to use nonstick) and fry four eggs sunny side-up, about 2-3 minutes so the white is set but the yolk is still runny.
Before serving, stir soy sauce into rice mixture. Then divide rice into four bowls and top each with a fried egg, crisped ginger and garlic, and hot sauce to taste.