Yields: 6-8 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: about 4 hours (slow cooker)
This version of BBQ chicken sandwiches packs a punch with protein and iron, as well as vitamin C (which aids in iron absorption) from the shredded carrots and tomatoes in the sauce. It can be made with your favorite sauce (and just add the shredded carrots when cooking), or the homemade one below that is kid-friendly and packed with nutrients.
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup finely diced onion, red or white (optional)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Grate carrots using a box grater on the smallest grating side.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a slow cooker, then add the chicken, making sure the sauce covers most of the chicken. Depending on the heat of your cooker, cook chicken on high for 2-3 hours (or until cooked through).
*Alternatively, this dish can be prepared on the stove, letting the chicken cook in the boiling liquid (Although, best when prepared a day ahead, if not in the slow cooker, for flavors to blend. If preparing on the stove, mix all the ingredients except the carrots in an airtight bowl with a lid and refrigerate overnight and add carrots to pot with chicken and sauce when preparation begins.)
3. Once completely cooked, remove the chicken, and shred.
4. Return shredded chicken to the cooker, and place temperature on low for an hour. Serve with whole wheat buns or gluten free buns (pictured) and your favorite toppings.
This is a super easy slow cooker meal that can also be made on the stove if all of the sudden it’s 4 o’clock and you need a dinner in an hour. I’ve got another secret for you. To make it an even easier dish, if you have a favorite barbecue sauce, you can just add it with a little olive oil, chicken and shredded carrots.
I prefer to make it on my own, but hey, some days just don’t allow for the time to make my own sauce.
This is actually even better the second day around as leftovers because all of the flavors really have a chance to blend together. Shredded carrots make a perfect addition to pulled chicken. They add a little extra sweetness and flavor. By grating them in and letting them soften as they cook, the texture softens and they simply become part of the chicken and the sauce.
If you’re a juicing family, you can also save the pulp from juicing carrots and it works perfectly. This is actually how this dish originated. I have such a hard time discarding the pulp from juicing. Cabbage, celery, broccoli (even apple if you’re adventurous) pulp work well. Just keep the ratio even, or you’ll have more veggie pulp than chicken, and that probably won’t taste so great!
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Other healthy dinner recipes:
Baked Lentil Tacos (GF, VG)
Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Butter Alaskan Cod (GF)
Almond Crusted Chicken (GF)