Grilled Pesto Chicken and Rutabaga Rice (AIP and Grain-free)

I’ve recently discovered rutabaga and it’s many ways to enjoy it! I’ve seen it at the store for years sitting next to the turnips and daikon radishes and never gave them a second glance, though I’m not sure why?! Over the last few months, I’ve experimented with various preparations and recipes and they are quite versatile and delicious.

While I love my quinoa and brown rice, sometimes I need a dish that’s light and filling and packed with nutrition… and this recipe fits the bill. Rutabaga is a bit sweeter than a turnip, compliments the hearty greens and they hold up nicely when pulsed into rice-like pieces in a food processor and sautéed in a skillet. If you are a fan of alternative rice dishes or you avoid grains and/or you follow a paleo lifestyle, add this dish to your repertoire!
rutabag-rice-and-pesto-chicken-close

This AIP-friendly pesto can be used as a dip, a marinade, a sauce or a spread. You can whip up a batch quickly and marinade chicken or toss it with fresh roasted veggies for some added zip. For a vegan dish, substitute grilled portobella mushrooms or roasted cauliflower steaks for the chicken. Oh, how I love options! rutabag-rice-and-pesto-chicken1

Grilled Pesto Chicken & Rutabaga Rice (AIP-friendly, Grain-free) 
Gluten-free, Grain-free, AIP-friendly, Soy-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, Sugar-free, Nut and Seed-free

 For marinade:
4 chicken breasts (roughly 8 oz), pounded to even thickness to ensure even cooking
1/2 cup AIP-friendly pesto (use store bought if you can have nuts and/or dairy but check ingredients because might not be dairy-free, AIP-friendly and/or vegan)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt

For rutabaga rice:
2 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into medium cubes
2 Tbsp coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil
1 small yellow or white onion, small diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt or more to taste
3 cups chopped kale, swiss chard (or your favorite greens)
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
fresh lemon juice for serving
additional pesto for serving if desired

Directions

  1. In a tupperware container with a lid or in a gallon zip lock bag, add chicken, pesto, lemon juice and salt. Shake around fully coated and let marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. To make the “rice”, pull out a food processor and use the “S” blade (you might be able to use a high-powered blender but I haven’t tried this). Add the cubed rutabaga chunks and pulse until it resembles a rice-like size.
  3. Preheat your outdoor grill or indoor grill pan (or skillet). Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through depending on thickness (chicken is safely cooked when internal temperature reaches 160 degrees). Tent the chicken with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  4. While chicken is cooking (or while resting after if you don’t want to multi-task), heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and rutabaga rice and saute for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add sea salt, kale/chard/greens and broth and stir. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and reduce heat to medium and cook for another 5-8 minutes, checking to see when the rutabaga “rice” is tender.
  6. Taste and season rice with salt if needed and/or toss in a drizzle of lemon juice or pesto. Serve with chicken and enjoy!

rutabag-rice-and-pesto-chicken2

Nut-free, Dairy-free Basil Pesto
Makes roughly 1/2 cup

3 1/2 cups chopped basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1/2 cup more basil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions for pesto: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend on high for a smoother sauce-like pesto until smooth or pulse for 30 – 60 secs until pesto reaches your preferred consistency, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides of the blender or food processor with a spatula. Store leftovers in the fridge for 3 days.
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3 thoughts on “Grilled Pesto Chicken and Rutabaga Rice (AIP and Grain-free)

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