Monday, June 9, 2014

Keen for Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the current darlings of healthy eating.  While quinoa has been grown in the Andes for centuries, most Americans didn't discover it until the latter twentieth century or even the twenty-first century. It's a fun change of pace from rice, even if it isn't actually a grain. (It's a seed, did you know that?  I used to think it was a grain.)

Quinoa has become popular in my family, especially with our son.  He discovered that a local grocery store sells bulk quinoa, so he stocks up when he visits and uses it with chicken several times a week.  Because, you know, this family eats a LOT of chicken.

I often marinate chicken in some variation of a soy sauce marinade before grilling.  It's fast and I always have ingredients on hand.  Recently, I came up with my own version of a common quinoa recipe using soy sauce and garlic to pair with the grilled chicken.  This is a simple weeknight kind of meal.  It comes together quickly and is tasty and healthy.  Pair it with a salad, and dinner is ready in half an hour, tops!

I call it Fusion Quinoa Chicken because it has South American quinoa; olive oil and garlic, often associated with Mediterranean diets; and Asian-inspired soy sauce.  (I always use Kikkoman soy sauce because it is made in Walworth, Wisconsin, less than ten miles from the Illinois border, near a town we used to live in.  I was so surprised the first time, years ago, when I saw the factory sitting in a Wisconsin field.)

Fusion Quinoa Chicken

Chicken :
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large chicken breasts, well trimmed

Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally to make thinner pieces.  Set these aside in a shallow dish.  Combine olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and mix well with fork.  Pour marinade over chicken and allow to marinate for about 15 minutes at room temperature.  Turn chicken occasionally.  While chicken marinates, prepare ingredients for quinoa.  After quinoa has reached the simmer stage, grill chicken, turning occasionally, until cooked through.   Baste with remaining marinade whenever turning the chicken.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup mixed red and white quinoa (you can use a single color if desired)
1 cup water
1 cup reduced sodium, fat free chicken broth
3 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon salted butter
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add quinoa and cook about one minute, stirring constantly.  Add water, chicken broth and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.  Turn off heat and add butter, stirring until it is melted.  Stir in parsley and transfer quinoa to serving bowl.   Top quinoa with cooked chicken breasts and serve.  

Printable recipe


  1. I tasted quinoa for the first time a couple of years ago. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  2. I'm living in another world I guess since I have never heard of quinoa... Your dinner looks delicious anyhow. Thanks for 'educating' me!!!!!!


  3. My daughter and her husband eat a lot of quinoa. I need to try this "seed" sometime. Oh, yes, I do.

  4. I have eaten it once with Salmon. It's pretty good. I will have to add this to my list to pick up.
    ( my family loves chicken too)

  5. We eat LOTS of quinoa too. This looks very delicious and packed with nutrients.

  6. I thought quinoa is a grain! I thought it was an ancient grain; never knew it's actually a seed! This chicken and quinoa dish looks like an excellent family meal xx

  7. Thanks for the recipe, Lynette! I recently starting eating a gluten and dairy free diet, so I'm looking for new dinners to prepare. It's a lot of work learning how to cook without glutens!

  8. Thanks for posting the quinoa recipe. We've been trying to eat more of it. I really do like it!


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