Moroccan Chicken & Lentils


Let’s start with a foodie confession. Some people think foodies and “real cooks” don’t take shortcuts. For example, my dear mother-in-law. The first time she tried this eggplant caponata I had made, she needed the recipe. When I sent her a link to the original recipe from Mario Batali, she exclaimed, “who knew what a potchke this is!” (That’s basically Yiddish for a big pain in the tuchus.) I asked what she was talking about, because I actually think of the recipe as rather easy. She says, “welllll, you have to make the tomato sauce…” If you look at the original recipe, Mario says you should make his homemade tomato sauce. Really? I never thought for a second about doing that – tomato sauce from a can is perfectly fine for me, especially in a recipe like this where there are so many other flavors added to the final product. She couldn’t believe that someone like ME would take that shortcut.

Which brings me to my confession: I’m not afraid to take shortcuts. While there are plenty of things I think are just silly not to make from scratch, there’s a time and a place for pre-made goods. For instance, one of our favorite dinners to eat on nights when we know there’s very little time to cook is “gyros”. That’s in quotations because I use the term loosely. Basically, I just saute some ground turkey with Penzeys Greek seasoning, garlic, and lemon juice, and pile it on a low-carb wrap with tomatoes, onion, and store-bought tzaziki. Tzaziki, out of a tub, from the grocery store? Well, yes. One the one hand, it’s certainly not difficult to make and I’m sure I could make a very tasty version, but that would defeat the purpose of a meal I can have ready to eat in just about 12 minutes. And so, I let a certain Joe make my tzaziki (his title starts with a T.)

Of course, after we ate the “gyros”, I needed something else to use up the tzaziki, and my friend Branny reminded me this yogurt sauce with cucumbers and garlic sauce also goes pretty well with Moroccan-inspired food. Oh, did I mention I was looking for another no-fuss dinner, something unlike a potchke, if you will? Branny suggested Moroccan spiced chicken and lentil dish, and she even so nicely went as far to Google one for me. I was all set to make it, but then remembered I already had a Moroccan style crockpot chicken recipe, so I decided to just adapt that one a little. Cooking lentils in the crockpot was a first for me, and I was a little worried they’d turn to mush, but I had nothing to fear. They came out tender but certainly held their shape and kept a little bit of a bite, and the spices and dried fruits all worked well together. And the tzaziki on top added a great final touch!

Crockpot Moroccan Chicken & Lentils
Printable Recipe

1 large onion, diced (150gm)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins (40gm)
1 cup brown lentils
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cloves
pinch of cayenne pepper
freshly ground salt, to taste
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
2 cups fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp cider vinegar
fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish

Place onions, garlic, peppers, raisins, and lentils in crockpot.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all seasonings and toss with the chicken. Place half of the chicken in the skillet and cook until browned on one side; turn and brown the other side. Add chicken to the slow cooker. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Pour in the broth and cider vinegar, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve hot, garnished with cilantro if desired.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 341.5
Total Fat: 2.4 g
Cholesterol: 98.6 mg
Sodium: 400.0 mg
Total Carbs: 37.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 14.1 g
Protein: 51.3 g
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10 Responses to “Moroccan Chicken & Lentils”

  1. 1

    Jenny — February 8, 2010 @ 2:46 pm Reply

    This looks awesome! I'm always looking for a good crockpot recipe. Glad to finally meet you this past weekend.

  2. 2

    Kathy Hester (GeekyPoet) — February 8, 2010 @ 3:03 pm Reply

    I love my slow cooker! I have a bunch of healthy slow cooker recipes that I post on my blog if you're interested. (http://healthyslowcooking.wordpress.com)

  3. 3

    Dawn — February 8, 2010 @ 3:05 pm Reply

    This sounds really good! I'm trying a pork loin roast today in the crockpot using your method. I have high hopes that it doesn't get all dried out after 10-12 hours of being at work and the drive home.

  4. 4

    yumventures — February 8, 2010 @ 3:27 pm Reply

    This looks great! I have been seeing more and more crockpots lately…maybe I will have to invest in one =)

  5. 5

    Lizzy — February 8, 2010 @ 5:07 pm Reply

    looks great!!! I did the same thing when I made Chicken gyros a couple weeks ago. We work long hours and still want a healthy meal, so sometimes shortcuts are the only way to go!

  6. 6

    brannyboilsover — February 8, 2010 @ 6:48 pm Reply

    beautiful picture cara!

  7. 7

    Joanne — February 8, 2010 @ 7:17 pm Reply

    Gorgeous! I love Moroccon food. Cinnamon mixed with meat makes me incredibly content. Sometimes shortcuts are definitely the way to go. The way I see it is you need to pick your foodie battles. And sometimes it's just easier to concede to Mr. Joe. You still end up winning on taste anyway.

  8. 8

    Aggie — February 14, 2010 @ 1:31 am Reply

    I love shortcuts! And lentils too… Nice recipe! I wish Joe lived near me. :)

  9. 9

    Joanne — April 5, 2011 @ 1:24 am Reply

    Gorgeous! I love Moroccon food. Cinnamon mixed with meat makes me incredibly content. Sometimes shortcuts are definitely the way to go. The way I see it is you need to pick your foodie battles. And sometimes it's just easier to concede to Mr. Joe. You still end up winning on taste anyway.

  10. 10

    Dawn — April 5, 2011 @ 1:24 am Reply

    This sounds really good! I'm trying a pork loin roast today in the crockpot using your method. I have high hopes that it doesn't get all dried out after 10-12 hours of being at work and the drive home.

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