HEALTHY BUTTER CHICKEN
I love Indian food and butter chicken is high of my list! This Healthy Butter Chicken actually has no butter or heavy cream (for all of us that can't handle dairy), which also makes it lower in fat than the traditional recipe. Even so, it's incredibly delicious with warm curry spices, tender chicken, and a rich creamy tomato sauce. This recipe is perfect for meal prep and tastes even better the next day! Now, this isn't "traditional" butter chicken and it's not trying to be! It's just a simplified, macro-friendly version with similar flavors.
Did you know? Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. It's fat soluble, meaning it's best absorbed with dietary fats (like this meal contains). (source)
Choosing the best chicken
When it comes to chicken, I always look for "organic" or "pasture-raised" with "no antibiotics ever." This means that the chickens were raised in an open-air environment apart from diseased birds.
You can use either chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this recipe, but I went with thighs because they're so juicy and tender. Plus, thighs are typically a little cheaper! Chicken breasts would lower the fat content per serving, however.
What spices do I need for butter chicken?
I have seen recipes that call for a lot of different spices, but I kept things simple, I just used turmeric, garam masala (an Indian spice blend), ground cumin, chili powder and cinnamon. Five spices is even a lot if you ask me! But it turned out amazing. These are all spices you can find in your local grocery's spice aisle.
Replacing the butter and cream
Instead of butter, I used avocado oil, which has a mild buttery flavor. Instead of heavy cream, I used light coconut milk. You could use full fat coconut milk, but I was trying to keep the fat in check with the chicken thighs being higher in fat.
Vegetables for butter chicken
For the vegetables, I went with onion, carrots, and red bell pepper. Of course there's also tomato puree in the sauce (can sub tomato sauce). Always trying to squeeze in veggies wherever I can! Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand or prefer. Cauliflower or peas are often added to curries, too.
How to serve
I served this Healthy Butter Chicken over basmati rice with fresh cilantro and garlic naan. If you're gluten-free, of course skip the naan! But it's such a dreamy and satisfying meal. I can't wait to make it again!
Here's the recipe for my Healthy Butter Chicken. I hope you'll rate or comment below if you try it ;)
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Healthy Butter Chicken
This Healthy Butter Chicken is gluten-free and dairy-free with no butter or heavy cream (making it lower in fat). It's incredibly delicious with warm curry spices, tender chicken, and a rich creamy tomato sauce. Perfect for meal prep!
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. avocado oil
1 cup onion, chopped
4 tsp. (4 cloves) garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp. turmeric
1 tbsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
15 fl. oz. can lite coconut milk (or heavy cream)
8 fl. oz. can tomato puree (or tomato sauce)
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt, optional
6 tbsp. fresh cilantro (optional)
Cut chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and toss to lemon juice to tenderize. Let sit for 10 minutes or so while you prep the other ingredients.
- Heat avocado oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add garlic, ginger, chicken and spices. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes until chicken and onion is lightly browned in spots.
- Reduce heat to medium and add coconut milk (or cream), tomato puree, carrots, bell pepper and salt.
- Simmer for 20 minutes (gently bubbling) until carrots are tender.
- Serve over cooked basmati rice (or cauliflower rice for low carb) with fresh cilantro.
Calories (per serving, including optionals): 309kcal, Fat: 14.1g, Sat fat: 6.6g, Carbs: 15g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 28g, Sodium: 583mg
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