I wrote in this post last month that I was trying to incorporate more quinoa (aka the “super grain”) into our diets. I have lived up to my end of the deal by trying all kinds of different variations and recipes, but this one is now the hands down favorite! I started with this recipe from Allrecipes.com as a base, and then I made my own little tweaks. This dish has so much flavor, and you can even make it spicy if you want by adding more cayenne pepper and diced jalapeños. We ate this as a one-dish meal, but you could leave the chicken out and have it as a side dish.
2 tsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Soak the quinoa in cold water for about 10-15 minutes and then drain the water. (Rinsing the quinoa like this cuts the bitterness.)
While the quinoa is soaking, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten and even out the chicken breasts slightly (to about a half inch thick) before adding them to the pan. Cook the chicken 6-7 minutes on each side or until it’s cooked through. Set the chicken aside to rest before chopping it up.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the vegetable oil to the pan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until tender and slightly brown. Add the quinoa to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. This toasts the quinoa a bit and brings out the nutty flavor.
Cover the quinoa with the vegetable broth, and add the cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Dice the chicken while the quinoa is cooking. Once the quinoa is done, add the frozen corn and the chicken and cook for 5 more minutes. Finally, stir in the black beans and cilantro and remove from heat.