This hearty quinoa bowl is filled to the brim with lots of good-for-you ingredients like lean chicken and garlic sauteed mixed vegetables—it's super delicious and healthy, and totally guilt-free!
Quinoa Bowl, Deliciously Hearty and Healthy
A hearty, healthy and “clean” meal is something that I crave after I've indulged in foods of a “higher caloric nature” shall we say, especially during the holiday season.
By now, I'm ready for some bright veggies, some lean protein, and something a bit lower when it comes to carbs. I'm ready to usher in some freshness and something a little more on the lighter side, something exactly like this quinoa bowl. It's loaded with amino acid-rich toasted quinoa, sliced chicken breast, and some garlic sauteed veggies. And with a little squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of fresh herbs and toasted pine nuts to wake things up and add some crunch? Now we're talking!
I love that this recipe is easy to throw together and serve anytime a good-for-the-body meal is what I'm after, one where there's no skimping on flavor nor that feeling of being totally satisfied!
My Quinoa Bowl Recipe
I really appreciate the fact that I can prep and keep the components of this quinoa bowl separate and then reheat things and combine them in a bowl to dig into when I'm hungry.
For convenience (and as a time saver), a rotisserie chicken can easily be used and cut into bite-size pieces for this recipe, and it’s my personal pick as a short cut. But you can always very quickly sear off chicken tenderloins in a hot pan for a few minutes, then cut 'em up. The veggies can very quickly and easily be cooked/sauteed while the quinoa simmers, making things streamlined.
Here's how I prepare my quinoa bowl:
- I prepare the toasted quinoa according to my recipe below.
- While the quinoa is cooking, I quickly blanch my broccoli florets for about 30 seconds to 1 minute in boiling, salted water, then drain and chop into smaller pieces.
- Next, I sauté all my veggies and greens in a pan with some garlic and the herbs, and set those aside.
- Then, I cut my chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Once my quinoa is cooked and fluffed, I spoon it onto my bowl and add some of the chicken and veggies over top, slide in a lemon wedge, sprinkle over some pine nuts, and dig in!
(The full recipe is below...)
Tips & Tidbits for my Quinoa Bowl:
- Rotisserie chicken for ease: A good quality rotisserie chicken is great for this recipe. Just use the breasts or a combo of light and dark meat (about half the chicken), cut into bite-size pieces, and reserve the rest for another use.
- Toast the quinoa: I love the little bit of extra flavor that toasting the quinoa adds. Typically, quinoa should be rinsed before cooking, but you can skip this step when toasting as it will not toast when wet. Simply add the quinoa directly into the oil in the hot pan as is, then proceed.
- Zucchini and broccoli, or your favorite veg: I really like how delicious and quick-to-cook diced zucchini is; and broccoli, once blanched for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, is also nice and hearty and easy to use along with the leafy greens and diced tomatoes called for in the recipe. Other great veggies to use are shredded carrots, bok choy, or green peas.
- Keep things separate: When I prepare my quinoa bowl recipe, I prefer to keep all the components—the quinoa, the chicken, and the veggies—separate. This way, I can quickly reheat each, and whip up a single serving bowl as I crave it.
- Herbs and nuts: I love the flavor of cilantro and parsley, but you can easily substitute basil, mint, chives, green onion... whatever you'd like! And instead of the pine nuts I use, you can sub in sliced almonds, cashews, walnuts, or even sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 503 calories
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
• Olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press, divided use
• 1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa
• 2 cups water
• 2 cups cooked chicken, diced into small pieces and held warm (you can use rotisserie chicken for this)
• 2 cups raw broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
• 1 medium zucchini, diced finely into tiny cubes
• 2 cups dark leafy greens, chopped into bite-size pieces (I used “rainbow” swiss chard)
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
• Black pepper
• 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
• ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, for garnish
• 4 lemon wedges, for garnish
-Prepare the quinoa by placing a non-stick, medium-size pot over medium high heat, and adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil; once the oil is hot, add in 1 clove of pressed garlic, and stir; once the garlic becomes fragrant, add in the dry quinoa and about 1 teaspoon of the salt, and stir to combine and coat the quinoa in the oil/garlic, toasting the quinoa for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Add the water to the quinoa and stir together; bring the contents to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, and very gently simmer the quinoa until all water is absorbed, for about 20-22 minutes; once cooked, uncover and allow the quinoa to sit for about 5 minutes, then gently fluff with a fork; keep warm.
-While the quinoa cooks, bring some salted water to the boil, and add in your broccoli to blanch for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until crisp/tender; drain and set aside.
-To prepare your sauteed veggies, place a large, non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat, and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan; once it becomes hot, add the diced zucchini in, and leave the zucchini undisturbed for a moment in order to create a bit of a brown “sear” or caramelization on the bottom, about 1-2 minutes.
-Stir the zucchini a little bit, and add into the pan the blanched broccoli florets, folding them in to incorporate them into the zucchini; next, add in the 2 remaining cloves of pressed garlic and stir.
-Once the garlic is aromatic, add in the chopped leafy greens and the halved cherry tomatoes, and stir the mixture together to incorporate all the flavors; add a pinch or two of salt and pepper, as well as the chopped parsley and cilantro, and cook for about 30 seconds more; turn off the heat.
-To serve, spoon equal portions of the quinoa into bowls, and top with equal portions of the diced chicken, as well as equal portions of the sauteed garlic veggies; garnish with about 1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts, as well as a wedge of lemon to squeeze over top to brighten up the flavors.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!