The Top Chicken Lunch Recipes
It’s your trusty Pasturebird team bringing you more delicious ways to enjoy pasture raised chicken! In our previous posts, we’ve provided lots of inspiration for chicken-centric dinners, but chicken is perfect served for lunch too! It’s lean and protein rich, which is perfect in the middle of the day because the high protein content of chicken keeps you full without weighing you down. In this post, we’ll share some of our favorite chicken lunch recipes, using pasture raised chicken from our farm.
There’s no hard and fast rule that you can’t eat a “dinner” recipe for lunch, but typically we like to consume something a bit lighter (and easier!) in the middle of the day, especially if it will be packed for eating somewhere else. These recipes can be made ahead and packed up for lunch on the go, or eaten at home. A little bit of meal prep can go a long way during the week, so it can sometimes help to cook the chicken ahead of time so it’s ready to be thrown into these yummy recipes, and cuts down on midday prep time.
Paleo Herbed Chicken Salad
You’re probably not surprised to find this at the top of our list. Chicken salad is a popular lunch choice because it can be made ahead and offers a protein rich, light lunch option.
This paleo herbed chicken salad uses chopped precooked chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts, apples, cranberries, and fresh herbs for a delicious spin on chicken salad.
The recipe calls for homemade mayo, but feel free to use a pre-made paleo mayonnaise if you’re short on time or just don’t want to go to the trouble of making it homemade. You can also use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh - we always love fresh herbs, but use what you’ve got. If you’re using dried herbs as opposed to fresh, make sure to adjust your quantities accordingly. You’ll want to use a little less than half the amount of fresh herbs called for if you’re using dried, since they’re much more concentrated.
The addition of apples, cranberries, and Brussels sprouts adds a healthy dose of vitamin C and fiber to this salad, along with the lean protein from the pasture raised chicken breasts. The paleo Mayo adds healthy fat, making this an all around smart lunch choice. You can up the veggie factor by serving it on top of mixed greens or in lettuce wraps.
Nourishing Chicken Soup
This Nourishing Paleo Chicken Soup recipe is a great make-ahead meal that can be quickly heated up for lunch for another light and healthy lunch option. We love this recipe, particularly in the winter months, because it contains so many immune boosting ingredients (helloooo, garlic!) We recommend using homemade bone broth from pasture raised chickens as the base for the soup. If making homemade bone broth isn’t your thing, you can find organic bone broth in the grocery store - but it’s much easier to make than you might think, and nothing beats homemade!
Why You Should Use Bone Broth as a Base for Soup
If you’re not familiar with bone broth, you may equate it with regular chicken broth or stock. Bone broth provides numerous health benefits that aren’t found in regular chicken broth. This is because while chicken broth is made by simmering actual chicken and usually some vegetables as well, and generally for a shorter amount of time, bone broth is made by simmering bones, along with filtered water, herbs, and vegetables on low heat for a loooong time, and extracting vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and collagen from the bones. The resulting bone broth is nourishing, packed with immune boosting properties, and with a super savory taste to boot. Here’s an article that provides some more detail about the many health benefits of bone broth.
So, if you’re going to try this paleo chicken soup, we highly recommend using bone broth in the recipe. But even if you don’t, the nourishing warmth of this soup is a great way to warm up on a chilly day, and it’s light enough that it won’t weigh you down in the middle of the day. If you’re game to try to make homemade bone broth (you won’t regret it!) there are lots of recipes online, and while it takes a long time due to the simmer factor, the prep work is super easy. Just make sure you’re using pasture raised chicken bones, so that you’re only extracting the good stuff during the slow simmering process.
Paleo Chicken Bowl
We’re not even going to include a recipe for this one, because there are SO many different ways to make this meal your own. Basically, using pasture raised chicken as the base, you make a paleo lunch bowl with any combination of your favorite ingredients! You can use your favorite cut of chicken, and cube it or shred it based on your preference. We’ll use shredded chicken here as an example, but you do you!
Here are a few ideas:
- Chicken “burrito” bowl with shredded chicken, cauliflower rice, guacamole, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and sautéed peppers and onions. Top with your favorite paleo dressing or even just a couple of squeezes of lime, some olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Greek chicken bowl with shredded chicken, black olives, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, shredded lettuce, and an oil and vinegar dressing with lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Shredded buffalo chicken mixed with sautéed kale and baked sweet potatoes. We recommend baking a batch of cubed sweet potatoes in advance - toss them with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Use them throughout the week as a quick paleo side dish, including in this recipe mixed with sautéed kale and shredded chicken. Toss the shredded chicken in a paleo buffalo sauce and top the bowl with paleo ranch dressing for an absolutely decadent but still healthy lunch! We like to sauté kale in a bit of coconut or avocado oil to add some healthy fat, and we keep it simple with just a sprinkle or two of garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
We hope you enjoy these easy, healthy, and delicious top chicken lunch recipes - let us know what you think if you try them!