In this recipe, a savory peanut sauce leads the flavor charge, drizzled luxuriously over steamed fresh spinach leaves and shredded chicken breast, which are piled onto the sweet potato planks. All of the elements may be made ahead and served warm or at room temperature, making it an easy weeknight meal option.
I like to cook the chicken breast by “oven-poaching” it — that is, baking it, covered, at a moderate temperature until it is just cooked through. It turns out tender, juicy and mild, similar to when poached on the stove, but with less risk of overcooking. (It’s a great method to keep in mind for your next chicken salad. For this recipe you could also use shredded rotisserie or roasted chicken, if you want to skip that step.)
The spinach is steamed briefly in the microwave or in a steamer basket on the stove until just wilted but still brilliantly green and fresh tasting. And the sauce is made by stirring together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, grated ginger, a touch of honey and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes with a couple of tablespoons of water. It’s simple to make, but it pops with complexity — rich, peanut-y and savory, with a bright zing.
Once the elements are layered and topped with the sauce, they are garnished with a crunch of roasted peanuts and sliced scallion for a meal that is positively stacked with goodness, and is delightfully out of the ordinary.
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Storage Notes: Leftover potatoes, spinach, chicken and sauce can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days.
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness (see NOTE)
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons neutral oil, such as canola, grapeseed or safflower, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon table or fine sea salt, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 14 ounces each; look for potatoes that are rounder rather than longer)
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
- 1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Place the chicken in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, brush both sides of the chicken with 2 teaspoons of the oil and season with 1/8 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 18 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the oven (keep the oven on), and set aside to cool. Using your fingers, or a knife and fork, shred the chicken; you should get about 2 1/4 cups.
Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into planks about 1/3-inch thick. Use the 12 center-most planks for this recipe and save the remaining ends and slices for another use. Using the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, brush both sides of the 12 planks, then place them onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Roast for 20 minutes, then use a metal spatula to flip the potatoes and roast for an additional 10 minutes, or until they are tender and browned in spots.
While the potatoes are roasting, place the spinach in a large, microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave on HIGH until the spinach is wilted but still bright green, 90 seconds. (Alternatively, you can steam the spinach in a steamer basket set over a pot of boiling water for 90 seconds.) In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, water, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, lime juice, honey and red pepper flakes until well combined and creamy. Taste, and season with more red pepper flakes, if desired.
To serve, place 2 to 3 sweet potato planks onto each serving plate. Top each plank with some of the spinach leaves, then a layer of shredded chicken. Drizzle each with a scant 1 tablespoon of peanut sauce, then sprinkle with sliced scallions and chopped peanuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.
NOTE: To save time, you can use rotisserie chicken instead of cooking your own.
Per serving (2 to 3 potato planks), based on 6.
Calories: 350; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 48 mg; Sodium: 461 mg; Carbohydrates: 32 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 23 g
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.
From cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.
Tested by Olga Massov; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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