When it comes to healthy eating, it’s not just about eating a salad or a bland plate of steamed vegetables. Delicious and nutritious meals can go hand in hand, and one way to prove it is through our Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls recipe. This dish combines the succulent flavors of cooked chicken with the earthy sweetness of yams, accompanied by a touch of parsley, turmeric, and some basic seasonings to create a flavorful and wholesome meal. This delicious dish is nutrient-packed, which is perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or just a weekday treat.
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The choice of ingredients in your Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls recipe serves several purposes, including flavor, texture, nutrition, and overall palatability. Before we dive into the health benefits of these ingredients, let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need to prepare this delectable dish:
- Cooked and Shredded Chicken: Chicken is the primary and lean protein source in this recipe. It not only contributes a savory and meaty flavor but also provides essential amino acids and high-quality protein. You can use chicken breast, tights, or any chicken leftover. Thighs make the balls fluffier and softer than chicken breast.
- Cooked Yams: Yams complement the chicken with its earthy sweetness and contribute to the overall texture. Yams are a healthy source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. They offer a balanced source of energy and help bind the chicken mixture together. This ingredient adds a natural sweetness and a pleasant contrast to the savory chicken. You can also use any other tubers instead.
- Chopped Parsley: Parsley is included for both flavor and nutrition. It adds a fresh and slightly peppery taste to the balls, enhancing the overall taste. Parsley is rich in vitamins A and C, which contribute to your immune system’s health, and it also provides antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage.
- Turmeric: Turmeric, with its earthy and slightly bitter flavor, is known for its active compound curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It adds depth to the flavor profile and color of the balls and may contribute to your overall health by reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
- Sea Salt: Salt is a common seasoning in cooking, and it is used here in moderation to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients. It’s crucial to maintain the right balance, as it helps bring out the natural tastes of the chicken, yam, and spices while also preserving the overall taste of the dish. Excessive salt should be avoided to promote healthy blood pressure levels.
- Black Pepper: Black pepper not only provides a mild spiciness but also contains piperine, a compound that can enhance nutrient absorption from other foods. In this recipe, it plays a supporting role by aiding in the absorption of the nutrients from turmeric, parsley, and other ingredients.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil serves multiple purposes. It adds healthy fats to the recipe, which contribute to satiety and overall nutrition. The oil also helps bind the ingredients together, making it easier to shape the mixture into balls and to achieve a desirable texture when baking. Additionally, the mild flavor of olive oil complements the other ingredients without overpowering them.
Each ingredient in your Chicken Yam Balls recipe was carefully selected not only for its flavor contribution but also for the various health benefits it offers. This combination of ingredients provides a balanced, nutritious, and delicious meal that appeals to both the taste buds and the well-being of those who enjoy it. The result is a dish that is not only scrumptious but also health-conscious.
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS OF HEALTHY CHICKEN AND YAM BALLS
To prepare your Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls, you will first need to cook the chicken and yams in advance. You can either cook them the day before or on the day you are making the recipe. Once you have the ingredients ready, preparing the meal is very simple. There are five easy steps to follow to make these Chicken and Yam Balls the perfect meal for your family.
- Preparation: Start by cooking the chicken and yams. For the chicken, I usually cook it with some seasonings, like leek, a bit of onion, garlic, and a touch of lemon juice. Once cooked, shred the chicken using either a fork, food processor, blender, or stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Mixing: Add the yams and chicken to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add Seasonings: Add in the chopped parsley, olive oil, turmeric, salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Blend until the mixture is homogeneous. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a little more olive oil to help bind the ingredients together.
- Shaping: Form the mixture into small balls or patties, depending on your preference. To shape the balls, you can rub a little olive oil on your hands, which makes it easier to shape them and prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands. You can use an ice cream spoon to measure the mixture and ensure even-sized balls. Next, roll the mixture between your palms until you form a smooth ball. If you prefer, you can coat the balls in cassava flour before baking.
- Baking: Place the balls or patties on a greased baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/390°F to 230°C /445°F for about 20 to 30 minutes or until golden.
- Serving: Serve your Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls hot with your choice of dipping sauce or a side salad for a complete meal.
Now that we’ve broken down the ingredients, let’s explore the health benefits of this Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls recipe:
- High-Quality Protein: Chicken is an excellent source of high-quality protein, essential for muscle development, immune function, and overall growth and repair in the body.
- Carbohydrate Sustenance: Yams, often confused with sweet potatoes, provide complex carbohydrates, ensuring that you have sustained energy levels without experiencing energy crashes, common with simple sugars.
- Nutrient Variety: The combination of ingredients offers a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, ensuring that your body gets what it needs to function at its best.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Turmeric and parsley both contain compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing the risk of chronic inflammatory conditions in the body.
- Heart Health: The low saturated fat content in chicken and the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in olive oil support cardiovascular health.
- Digestive Health: Yams’ high fiber content promotes healthy digestion and can help prevent constipation.
- Enhanced Nutrient Absorption: The addition of black pepper to this recipe may enhance the absorption of nutrients from other ingredients, thanks to piperine.
VARIATIONS OF THE HEALTHY CHICKEN AND YAM BALLS RECIPE
While the basic Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls recipe is delicious, feel free to get creative. Add your favorite herbs and spices, or consider incorporating other ingredients like grated carrots, onions, or different types of meats for variety.
- Chicken: If you have any dietary restrictions or preferences, you can easily make adjustments to the recipe. For example, you can use ground turkey instead of chicken or even opt for a vegan version using plant-based ingredients. Additionally, you can substitute chicken with crab meat, salmon, or shrimp. Leftover meat can also be used, which saves time and effort.
- Yam: You can use other varieties of vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cassava, pumpkin, or cauliflower
- Seasonings: To add more spice to the yam cake, you can use red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper instead of the usual seasonings. Also, chopped green onions can be a good substitute for parsley. You can even use other seasonings of your choice to enhance the taste.
STORAGE AND TIPS FOR HEALTHY CHICKEN AND YAM BALLS RECIPE
Once you’ve prepared your Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls, it’s important to know how to store them properly to maintain their flavor and freshness. Additionally, there are some useful tips to ensure the best results when making and serving this delightful dish. Here are some storage and preparation tips to keep in mind:
- Refrigeration: After cooking, allow the Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls to cool to room temperature. Then, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can be kept for up to 3-4 days. Make sure the container is well-sealed to prevent moisture loss and to maintain their texture.
- Freezing: If you want to store them for a longer duration, these balls can also be frozen. Place them on a baking sheet and flash-freeze them individually. Once they’re firm, transfer them to a freezer-safe, airtight container or freezer bags. Properly stored, they can be kept for up to 2-3 months. Be sure to label and date the containers or bags for easy identification.
- Oven: For the best results when reheating, use an oven or toaster oven. Preheat to around 350°F (175°C), place the balls on a baking sheet, and reheat for about 10-15 minutes.
- Microwave: If you’re in a hurry, you can reheat them in the microwave. Place the balls on a microwave-safe plate, cover them with a damp paper towel, and heat in 30-second intervals until they’re warm throughout.
3. Meal Planning:
- Make a Batch: To save time, consider making a larger batch and freezing some for later use. This can be a great meal prep option, allowing you to have a quick and healthy meal ready to go whenever you need it.
- Dipping Sauces: Consider preparing a variety of dipping sauces to pair with your Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls. This can add extra flavor and excitement to your meals. Some options include yogurt-based tzatziki, a tahini dressing, or a spicy sriracha mayo.
By following these storage and preparation tips, you can ensure that your Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls stay fresh and delicious. Whether you’re planning to enjoy them for a quick weekday dinner or you want to impress your guests at a gathering, these tips will help you get the most out of this flavorful and nutritious dish.
SERVING HEALTHY CHICKEN AND YAM BALLS
Serving healthy chicken and yam balls is a delightful experience. Here are some serving suggestions:
- Dipping Sauces: Provide an array of dipping sauces such as tzatziki, tahini, or a spicy sriracha mayo for added flavor.
- Side Salad: Serve with a fresh, crisp side salad featuring greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette for a complete meal.
- Pita or Flatbreads: Create a Mediterranean-inspired meal by serving the balls inside warm pita or flatbreads with fresh veggies and a drizzle of sauce.
- Appetizer: As a party appetizer, offer them with toothpicks and a variety of sauces for dipping.
- Rice or Quinoa: Serve on a bed of brown rice or quinoa for a heartier meal.
- Lemon Wedges: Offer lemon wedges on the side for a zesty touch.
- Garnish: A sprinkle of fresh parsley or a light dusting of paprika can enhance the presentation.
- Family-Style Platter: Arrange the balls on a platter for a casual family dinner, and let everyone serve themselves.
- Dinner Rolls: Use them to make sliders with dinner rolls, lettuce, and a choice of sauce for a fun and convenient meal.
- Vegetable Medley: Pair with steamed or roasted vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or asparagus for a well-rounded dinner.
Remember to personalize the serving options to your taste and preferences. Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls are versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways, making them a perfect addition to your menu for any occasion.
The Healthy Chicken and Yum Balls recipe is not only delicious but also packed with numerous health benefits. It’s a fantastic way to incorporate a variety of nutrients into your diet while enjoying a tasty and satisfying meal. Whether you’re looking for a wholesome dinner option, a crowd-pleasing party snack, or a quick and easy weeknight treat, this dish has got you covered. So, don’t hesitate to try it out and discover the incredible flavors and health benefits for yourself. Enjoy the combination of succulent chicken, sweet yams, and the aromatic blend of spices – your taste buds and body will thank you!
Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls
- 2 cups (300g/10oz) cooked chicken
- 1 cup (120g/4oz) cooked yams
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F.
- Add the yams and chicken to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Then add in the chopped parsley, olive oil, turmeric, salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Blend until the mixture is homogeneous. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a little more olive oil to help bind the ingredients together.
- Form the mixture into small balls or patties, depending on your preference. To shape the balls, you can rub a little olive oil on your hands, which makes it easier to shape them and prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands. You can use an ice cream spoon to measure the mixture and ensure even-sized balls. Next, roll the mixture between your palms until you form a smooth ball. If you prefer, you can coat the balls in cassava flour before baking.
- Place the balls or patties on a greased baking tray and bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until golden.
- Serve your Healthy Chicken and Yam Balls hot with your choice of dipping sauce or a side salad for a complete meal.