“Food, like many things that give us warmth in our lives, is known to comfort. It is sought after + indulged in to provide us a temporary emotional safety blanket. And that’s ok when it is made with as much thought and consideration as the comfort we seek.” – ME when thinking about this recipe rehab
I am a savory person at-heart when it comes to my food cravings + have an incredible love for Asian flavor profiles. If you haven’t noticed, I also love to stuff things and wrap them up in creative ways. I approach my recipe rehabs with thoughts of nutrition, flavor, + creativity- this dish is perfect for weekly meal prep or a fresh meal in under 30 minutes.
I cut the sugar + sodium (mostly made within the sauce itself) and offered options to make it more filling with added vegetables + whole grains. Make it your own by going with my suggestions and don’t waste any food by checking out how I repurpose my leftovers to save time + $.
SESAME-ORANGE CHICKEN WRAPS
makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes
- 1 ½ LB skinless, boneless chicken breasts; chopped into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, for cooking
- 1 head green or purple cabbage, leaves removed for “wraps” + the rest shredded
- 1 head broccoli (cut into florets) or snow|snap peas
- 4 scallions, chopped
For the Sauce:
- 1TB orange zest
- ⅓cup orange juice
- 2TB coconut aminos
- 1tsp grated ginger
- 3TB apple cider vinegar or brown rice vinegar
- ½tsp arrowroot starch
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
To Top: optional, noted below are per individual servings
- 1 TB hemp hearts
- 1 TB raw sesame seeds, I use black or white
- 1 to 1 ½ cups raw veggies, chopped (I love chopped radish + jicama with shredded carrot + cabbage)
- 3 avocado slices
To Mix: optional
- ½ cup of cooked whole grains
- Chop the veggies according to the instructions (including any toppings.) Set aside.
- Make the sauce: in a saucepan over medium heat, add in the ginger + garlic- saute for 30 seconds-1 minute. Stir in the aminos, orange juice, vinegar, + zest- bring to a boil, reduce the heat. Mix the starch with a dash of water in a small bowl. Add into the saucepan, stirring, simmer for 10-15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add red pepper flakes, to taste.
- At the same time between “stirs”- in a large wok or skillet over medium heat, heat the sesame oil for 30 seconds. Toss in the chicken + cook for 7-8 minutes or until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, steam the broccoli. See microwave quick prep notes below.
- Toss the broccoli, chicken, scallions, + chicken together in bowl- pour the sauce over it + mix well. (Note the below recommendation to wait to add raw veggies until serving.)
- Serve in cabbage leaves with the toppers + any whole grain of your choosing.
AVERAGE MEAL NUTRITION | ASHLEY’S MEAL NUTRITION (without rice)
473 kcal | 351 kcal
25g fat | 20g fat
790mg sodium | 160mg sodium
19.5g sugars | 8g sugars
20g protein | 18g protein
THE DIFFERENCE: most notable here is how much lower in inflammatory ingredients my version of the dish is without as much sodium and sugar. Not to mention, saving over 100 calories/serving, but walking away full thanks to the raw/cooked veggies and whole grains.
RECIPE REHAB | MEAL MAKEOVER
The goal is to give you the most nutrients possible to uplift your health without sacrificing flavor, fulness, or even, the beauty on your plate.
In this recipe…
- Make with steamed broccoli so no oils/fats are needed for cooking
- Add flavor and crunch with scallions on top
- Add raw veggies with the wraps + bulk the recipe up by adding in shredded cabbage
- Optional add-ins for color + more veg: shredded carrot, radish, jicama, mung bean sprouts…
- Add healthy fats with diced or sliced avocado + 1 TB hemp hearts/serving
- Skip the white rice or pasta + instead add in quick-cooked whole grains in the form of brown or black rice or lower carb options like cauliflower rice or kelp noodles
GROCERY STORE TIPS
Our lives can’t + shouldn’t be spent scrambling for time + effort to plan, shop for, + prep healthy meals. I’ve got you.
For the chicken:
- Bulk cook chicken breasts for the week (in a neutral flavor like low-sodium, organic chicken stock or extra virgin olive oil with lemon)
- In this recipe, then you would store the pre-made chicken in the sauce overnight or toss it together when serving (makes a lighter flavor)
- Buy a rotisserie chicken, peel off the skin, + hand shred
For the sauce:
- DIY sauce for a low-sugar option
- Instead of using added sugar, I simply used real orange juice + other ingredients to fortify the flavor.
- Store-bought sauce (how to shop the “best” options)
- Check the label. Ingredient lists have the most used ingredients listed as one of the first 3. If it is a sugar or sugar substitute, skip it.
- Other tips:
- Buy pre-cut broccoli + any veg you are choosing to use
- I pre-chop all veggies for the week on Sundays + store them in Produce Saver containers until ready-to-use. Saves time + $ by keeping them fresh, longer.
- Purchase the quick-steam brown or “forbidden” black rice bowls by Annie Chun’s or Lotus Foods (Serving size note: 1 meal = ½ of a container)
- Buy pre-cut broccoli + any veg you are choosing to use
MEAL PREP TIPS
Whether it is a designated meal prep day for the week or cooking meals fresh, there are tips to make your prep time efficient and your meal plan + storage effective.
- Microwave steam the broccoli.
- How-To: cut into florets, place in a glass Tupperware dish, place 1-2 inches of water in the bottom, steam until tender (4+ minutes)
- Before separating cabbage leaves, hack off the bottom.
- Note: the top few may rip. I use a butter knife to slip up from the bottom to start it.
- When storing, keep the ingredients separate until serving.
- Store the raw veggies in a small Tupperware or reusable baggie
- Store the cabbage leaves in a baggie or wrapped in moist paper towels
- Cooked veggies + chicken should be in its own Tupperware container.
- NOTE: there are meal prep Tupperware containers that have sections in them to store things without touching.
HOW-TO: REPURPOSE THE LEFTOVERS
Sometimes you just don’t want the same exact thing for your leftovers + I always make sure my groceries are used so there is no waste at the end of the week. Using the same ingredients with a twist is a great way to accomplish both!
- BROCCOLI: I chop extra broccoli to use in breakfasts for the week to start off with some fiber-filled greens
- 1 cup steamed broccoli with 3 scrambled egg whites, 1 TB grated Parmesan cheese, Himalayan crystal salt + pepper
- ½ brown rice bowl (microwave steamed) with ½ cup steamed broccoli, dash of teriyaki sauce, red pepper flakes, 1 TB hemp hearts, 1 egg over-easy or soft-boiled (during meal prep, soft- or hard-boil eggs for the week)
- RAW VEGGIES: prep a slaw with the cabbage leaves remaining by shredding + adding in any other raw veggies you have (julienned, cut into matchsticks, or shredded) and use it as a base for other meals
- CHICKEN: take the prepared chicken leftovers + make them into Nori wraps by adding raw veggies + a drizzle of tahini or into a kelp noodle pasta bowl with any veggies you choose + a bit of a teriyaki or coconut amino drizzle.