{Whole30} Crock Pot Cilantro Chicken w/Cauliflower Rice

My Crock Pot is my best friend in winter.  It makes life easy.  Easy and delicious.  Throw some stuff in there, go about your day, and come home to a beautifully scrumptious meal at the end of it… what more could one ask for really?!

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Since I love Crock Pot goodness so much, I’m always thinking of new recipes I can create using my slow cooker friend.  Being the new year -a time for fresh beginnings- I thought I’d create a recipe that’s Whole30 friendly… no grains, no sweeteners, no legumes, no alcohol, no nothin’ tough on the body whatsoever!  So I came up with this.  It’s a very simple yet flavorful healthy chicken meal.  Almost curry-ish in flavor with the addition of fenugreek (a staple flavor in many curry powders), it’s got a strong Southern Indian feel, crossed with a slightly spicy Latin flare.  Lots of cilantro, ginger, garlic, onion, chile pepper, coconut milk, and a few spices make this a nutritious and delicious meal… now that I like.  :)   I actually made it twice this week… once to test out my flavor combinations, and a second time to ‘perfect’ it.  (There were no complaints around here… this dish has been deemed a definite keeper!)

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I don’t often cook with fenugreek… I recently started experimenting with it though and love its flavor.  It’s hard to describe, other than saying think curry-ish, but it really is its own unique flavor.  You can find it in most grocery stores… Whole Foods carries it if you have one of those nearby.  If you’re having a difficult time getting your hands on it, you can omit it from the recipe, or if preferred use a curry powder instead (bare in mind your recipe will become curry-ish in nature if you do), but my guess is that fenugreek is somewhere in a store near you!

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Coriander, cumin, and fenugreek (pictured below with some good old salt and pepper) along with cilantro, ginger, garlic, onion and creamy coconut milk make up the dish.  See, pretty simple, right?!  

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To top it off, I find that toasted almonds are perfect… they add texture and the tastiest nutty flavor.  The cilantro and radishes are for color and crunch.  You can omit the radishes if preferred, but if you have ‘em around, why not toss some in!?

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Since this is a Whole30 recipe, I made a very simple cauliflower rice to serve this with… the directions are at the bottom of this post.  It’s reeaaally easy and very quick.  But if preferred, just cook up some rice and serve it with that! I’ve had both, and love it all!  (This one below is served with basmati rice and topped with a little avo, too!)

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serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 large yellow onion, about 2 cups diced

5 large garlic cloves, about 2 tbsp minced

1 Serrano chile pepper, about 1 tbsp minced (half deseeded)

1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger

1/2 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground fenugreek

1/4 tsp black pepper

3/4 tsp salt

1 can coconut milk (not light)

2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped

4-6 chicken thighs, boneless/skinless (approx 1.25- 1.5 lb)

1 tbsp ghee (or olive oil or butter)

for garnish: fresh cilantro, toasted slivered almonds, and radishes

serve over rice… or make cauliflower rice for a grain-free version (directions below)

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DIRECTIONS

I don’t typically brown chicken before slow cooking it;

however I find that for this dish, it makes a difference… it not only adds a nice color,

but it makes it so that the chicken thighs hold together a little more once cooked  

Your choice… if you’re in a hurry, you can easily skip this step and plop them directly into the Crock Pot

To brown the chicken, heat 1 tbsp of ghee (or butter or olive oil) in a pan over a high heat

Add the chicken thighs and brown both sides until golden brown

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Cut off the stem off of the chile pepper and then slice it in half…

I find that removing the seeds from one of the halves makes the dish perfectly

balanced for me, but if you’d like it on the extra spicy side, leave all of the seeds in

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Using te smallest grater setting, grate the ginger

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Dice the onion and mince the garlic and chile pepper

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Roughly chop the cilantro, removing any large stems

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Add the onion, garlic, chile pepper, ginger, cilantro, and all of spices, salt and pepper  to the Crock Pot

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Add the coconut milk… stir it together until well-blended

(It will be on the thicker side… don’t worry, it should be!)

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Add the browned chicken pieces to the pot, pouring the drippings from the pan in, as well

(We wouldn’t want to waste that deliciousness!)

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Lightly press the chicken thighs into the sauce so

that they are almost completely immersed in the liquid

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Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours or on low for about 5 1/2

(Once poked with a fork, the chicken will fall right apart,

but because it was browned first, it will keep together nicely while you serve it…}

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To toast the almonds, toss them into a pan over medium heat

Once lightly golden brown, remove them from the pan

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Very thinly slice radishes, if using

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If you’re serving this over rice, that’s it!

Just scoop up some chicken, add some sauce, and top with garnishes!

If you’re making cauliflower rice, continue on… :)

Remove all leaves and thick stems from a cauliflower head

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Break it up into small pieces and add the cauliflower to a food processor

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Pulse until the cauliflower is small and grainy

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Heat a tbsp of ghee or olive oil in a pan over medium heat

Add the cauliflower, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Cook it down for a few minutes, until its reached the desired texture

(You can snaz up your cauliflower rice by sautéing onions

and/or garlic with it, adding extra spices, and stirring in some chopped cilantro!

I left it plain since the chicken is so flavorful in this dish)

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That’s it!

Serve up the “rice”
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Top it with some chicken and a spoonful or two of sauce

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Top with some toasted almonds, cilantro, and radishes…

And enjoy!!

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Here’s a printable version of this recipe in case you’d like to have this on hand… :)

Crock Pot Cilantro Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a simple healthy meal with lots of flavor! {Whole30}
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large yellow onion, about 2 cups diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves, about 2 tbsp minced
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper, about 1 tbsp minced (half deseeded)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground fenugreek
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 can coconut milk (not light)
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4-6 chicken thighs (approx 1.25- 1.5 lb)
  • 1 tbsp ghee (or olive oil or butter)
  • for garnish: fresh cilantro, toasted slivered almonds, and radishes
  • serve over rice… or make cauliflower rice for a grain-free version
Directions
  1. Optional, but recommended: Brown chicken thighs prior to placing them in the Crock Pot… heat a tbsp of ghee (or butter/olive oil) over high heat and brown both sides of chicken thighs until golden brown.
  2. Cut the Serrano chile pepper in half and remove the seeds from one half (unless you want it extra spicy… leave all seeds in if so)
  3. Finely dice the onion, garlic, and Serrano. Grate the ginger on the smallest grater setting and give the cilantro a rough chop, removing stems
  4. Add the above to the Crock Pot along with the salt and pepper, seasonings, and coconut milk
  5. Stir it all together until well-mixed (the sauce will be thick… that’s okay!)
  6. Once chicken is browned, add the chicken pieces to the pot, pressing them into the sauce. Pour in any drippings from the pan, as well.
  7. Cook it on high for 3½ hours or on low for 5½
  8. When done, serve it over rice and top it with fresh cilantro, toasted slivered almonds, and radishes, if desired.
  9. Enjoy!

Want to see more Crock Pot recipes!!?
Check out this post from Devine Health from the Inside Out HERE!

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Hi, I'm Natalie! I like to cook, eat, and adventure. I live in a little home with an itty-bitty kitchen, a crazy feline, and a very hungry boyfriend. Lots of cooking and devouring goes down here. Farmer's markets inspire me, as do the seasons and travel. I create simple recipes using wholesome real food. Enjoy!
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