“Who’s coming over for dinner?? They’re going to be here when???” What about this conversation. “We’d love to have you all over tonight! We’ll see you in a couple hours!” What do these scenarios have in common? Suddenly that little pot of rice and baked chicken breast that you were going to throw together at the last minute for your own little family just won’t do, and you’re out of time to plan, prep, and cook a guest-worthy meal! But before you reach for that freezer burnt store bought lasagna buried in the back of your freezer, try going for a quick, healthier option, that is sure to turn heads with looks and flavor!
The inspiration for this dish came from the first meal I ever cooked for my husband (then boyfriend), with a nice fresh bruschetta as the appetizer, and it was obviously good enough to make him stick around a little longer! Bruschetta is a classic Italian dish that consists of a toasted crostini, rubbed with garlic and a high quality olive oil, and topped with a combination of more garlic, diced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and more olive oil. Traditionally, the term bruschetta would refer more to the toasted, garlic/oil spread crostini itself, but the term has transformed into referring more to the topping, which can range from tomato to olive based. Over a decade after my original boyfriend-impressing bruschetta, this now husband-impressing dish plays off of the more modern interpretation of bruschetta, and also swaps out the unhealthy, often bland bread component for a delicious, juicy chicken breast over top of fluffy, flavorful couscous, that is just perfect for soaking up all of the extra topping!
The main component of the topping, fresh chopped tomatoes, are best known for their lycopene content in relation to prostate health, but they’re also unusually high in flavenoids – which inhibit angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels to abnormal cells). The well-known benefits of adding garlic to your diet includes better blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and inhibiting tumor cell development. Compounding on these benefits, the fresh basil contributes caffeic acid, along with many other antiangiogenic compounds. But the star of the show in this bruschetta is the tangy sweet balsamic vinegar. It provides the medium for all of the other ingredients to perfectly meld together, while contributing a mild acid that helps break down any sinews in the chicken as its cooking, and leaves you with the most tender, juicy piece of chicken you can imagine! As if that weren’t enough, balsamic vinegar helps with blood sugar control, lower cholesterol, hypertension, boosts digestion, improved weight loss by correcting intestinal pH levels, and it’s even antibacterial and antiviral!
What about the bread?? How can we have a good bruschetta without a genuine, Italian, toasted sourdough crostini?? As much as we all love a good chicken breast, my husband and kids are not about to give up the carbs of that bread! But with just a little bit of sneaking, we can swap out that over-processed, simple carb loaded, somewhat flavorless bread, and your family will actually enjoy the swap! In this case, we’re swapping bread out for a whole grain couscous, which is an impressively fiber packed wheat alternative to pasta. This North African staple is not only a healthier alternative to the average, over-processed breads and pastas that we normally see, it is also a way to add extra nutrition and flavor when it is cooked in a good bone broth!
What’s maybe the best part of all? With just a little bit of chopping, your bruschetta topped chicken is in the oven, you can have the couscous ready before it’s done, and still have time to get yourself ready before dinner. And when your guests walk in the door, they’ll immediately want to know what delicious smelling dinner you have in store!
Bruschetta Topped Chicken over Couscous Recipe:
4 Chicken Breasts
24 oz. Cherry Tomatoes, Chopped *
3/4 C Fresh Basil, Chopped
4-5 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped
1/2 C Balsamic Vinegar
1 C of Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste
4 C Chicken Bone Broth
3 C Dry Whole Grain Couscous
Balsamic Glaze (Optional, but highly recommended!):
3/4 C Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 C Raw Honey
Set oven to 450°
Salt and Pepper each chicken breast and arrange them in a single layer in a 9×13 casserole dish
Mix the tomatoes, basil, garlic, vinegar, and cheese; pour mixture over top of the chicken, and bake at 450° for 45 minutes
Note* I like to use a tomato medley to add nutrition and depth of flavor, and it can’t hurt to make the dish more visually striking with all of those bright colors!
While the chicken is cooking, bring the broth to a boil and add the couscous, immediately lower the heat to a simmer, and keeping stirring frequently until all of the broth is absorbed. Quickly take the couscous off of the heat, and be sure to keeping lightly stirring the couscous, or fluffing it with a fork, in order to keep it from getting heavy and dense.
For the glaze, mix the balsamic vinegar and raw honey in a small pot and heat over medium/low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened.
Serve by placing a chicken breast overtop of a bed of couscous, be sure to spoon plenty of yummy bruschetta topping over the top, finish with a drizzle of delicious balsamic glaze, and enjoy!
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Produced by Vogt Media
Bruschetta is a classic Italian dish that consists of a toasted crostini, rubbed with garlic and a high quality olive oil, and topped with a combination of more garlic, diced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and more olive oil.
Steph and the girls assemble a colorful, vitamin-packed salad!
How many times a day do we have to choose between what we want and what’s good for us? Water or soda? A good nights sleep or a movie? Workout or skip (again)? Saucy pasta dish or veggies? It’s not very often that we get to have our cake and eat it too, or in this case, our carbs!