Chicken and Kale Quinoa Bowl

Chicken and Kale Quinoa Bowl

Chicken and Kale Quinoa Bowl
One of my favorite meals to order at our local First Watch lunch spot is the Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl. It is so crave worthy I knew I had to figure out how to make it at home so I invited good friend and TWM tester, Megan Weathers, over to help me recreate this nutritionally powerhouse one-bowl meal. I think I nailed it and I even have an equally amazing vegan version in the Suggestions (thanks to adapting for vegan-eating Megan).
    Servings
    4-5people
    Cook Time
    30minutes
    Meal Plan
    Add to Meal Plan:
    This recipe has been added to your Meal Plan
    Servings
    4-5people
    Cook Time
    30minutes
    Meal Plan
    Add to Meal Plan:
    This recipe has been added to your Meal Plan
    Ingredients
    • 2cup water
    • 1cup quinoa, rinsed well
    • 1/2cup sundried tomatoes
    • 1pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
    • 1/2cup plain Greek yogurt
    • 1/4cup buttermilk
    • 2tablespoon prepared pesto**
    • 1teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1/4teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/8teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2cup kale, ribs removed and chopped
    • 1cup shredded carrots
    • 1cup crumbled feta cheese
    Instructions
    1. Preheat grill to medium.
    2. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff lightly and set aside.
    3. While the quinoa cooks soak the sundried tomatoes in warm water (enough to cover them) until ready to assemble the rest of ingredients. At that time drain the tomatoes and coarsely chop; set aside until Step 6.
    4. While you grill the chicken, make the pesto dressing: Combine the yogurt and the following 5 ingredients (though black pepper) in a small bowl. Set aside.
    5. To assemble the quinoa bowl: Place the cooked quinoa in a large serving bowl. Add in the chopped chicken, sundried tomatoes, kale, carrots, and feta cheese. Gently fold in 2 tablespoons of the yogurt-pesto dressing making sure all of the ingredients are evenly coated. Serve in individual bowls. Transfer additional yogurt-pesto dressing to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
    Recipe Notes

    * Before cooking, the seeds must be rinsed to remove their bitter resin-like coating, which is called saponin. Placing quinoa in a strainer and rinsing thoroughly with water easily washes the saponin from the seeds.

    **If you would like to make your own pesto, here is an easy recipe that is more economical as it uses walnuts instead of pricey pine nuts:

    Combine 2 cups fresh basil, 3 tablespoons walnuts, and 2 cloves garlic in a food processor or blender. Process until well blended. Slowly add in 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Process until smooth paste forms, adding oil as necessary. Add in¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper. Process until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

    I made my pesto vegan for Megan by leaving out the parmesan cheese; it tasted just as yummy and we did not miss the cheese at all. This way I could make a vegan version of the quinoa bowl: combine ½ -1 tablespoons of the vegan pesto with 3 tablespoons of an Italian or balsamic vinaigrette in place of the yogurt pesto dressing. Eliminate the chicken and feta cheese; gently toss the pesto vinaigrette with the remaining ingredients. It was a huge hit!

    Quinoa is the grain of the Incas and has been cultivated in the Andean highlands of South America for over 7000 years. It was one of the most sacred foods of the ancient Incas, a plant so nourishing, delicious and vital, they called it chesiya mama; the ‘mother grain’.

    Nutritionally, quinoa might be considered a super grain--although it is not really a grain, but the seed of a leafy plant that's distantly related to spinach. Quinoa has excellent reserves of protein and unlike other grains, is not missing the amino acid lysine, so the protein is more complete (a trait it shares with other "non-true" grains such as buckwheat and amaranth). Quinoa offers more iron than other grains and contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin, as well as other B vitamins: B6, niacin, and thiamin. It is also a good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese, and has some folate (folic acid).

    Leave a Reply