Thursday, January 23, 2014

mmmmm: pesto chicken quinoa

a doctor recently told me i am gluten intolerant. i'm not sure what exactly that means except that i have been told to stop eating gluten. this is really, i mean really hard for me. bread and i have had a long standing love relationship. give me some bread and pasta and i could be pretty happy on a deserted island. so, now with my new news, i am learning to love new grains and foods that make me feel better. one of those great foods is quinoa. i've just started experimenting with this fun little grain. here is one of my new favorite lunchtime (or anytime) treats for myself. i cook a ton of this and then it is lunch for a couple of days. love it!


pesto chicken quinoa

3 grilled chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces (i like to grill up several chicken breasts at the beginning of the week. i use them in recipes like this one, throw them on a salad, or just eat them alone. if i have them on hand, i'm less likely to grab something unhealthy to eat. i season them with a little salt and lemon pepper.)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 red or green bell peppers, chopped

1-2 cups chopped white onions (i like onions so i used closer to 2 cups)

1 cup uncooked rainbow quinoa

1 cup water

3/4 cup chicken broth (i use the no-fat, low sodium broth)

1 cup basil pesto (for a great recipe to make your own, click here. store bought pesto works great too!)

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup mozzarella or parmesan cheese to garnish


if the chicken breasts are not already cooked, do this first and set aside. place the water and chicken broth in a pot with the quinoa to boil. once the mixture is boiling, reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes. turn off heat and let sit for five minutes more. 

while quinoa is cooking, put the chopped bell peppers and onions in a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute until soft and the onions are semi-translucent. set aside. roast the pine nuts. you can either do this by putting them in the oven on a cookie sheet at 400 for about 6 minutes or by putting them in a skillet on high heat and letting them roast.

once everything is ready, put all the ingredients except the cheese in a large mixing bowl and mix well. if you prefer the quinoa as a side, leave the chicken breasts uncut and serve the chicken along side the quinoa. either way tastes great. garnish with some cheese. enjoy!