A friend of mine recently posted a link to a scrumptious but fattening recipe for Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa. It’s a nutritional, gluten-free, high protein dish. Quinoa has been quite the rage lately! It is full of protein, nutrients, and can be utilized in several different ways. I decided to ‘clean up’ her recipe, and make it healthier. Here I share with you my very own healthy version. If your children do not like spicy food, then simply leave out the cayenne pepper on the ingredient list, but leave the cumin spice in the recipe. Cumin is not “hot” and it adds the perfect flavor to the chicken.
Here is my own creation:
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 3/4 inches in thickness
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dark California chili powder
2 tablespoons Grape seed Oil
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup quinoa, raw (rinse raw quinoa in metal strainer before cooking to avoid bitterness)
Juice and zest of 2 small limes + one small lime cut in half and set aside
dash sea salt and pepper
4 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1 ripe large avocado, or 2 small
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1) Combine first 8 dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with a wire whisk to combine.
2) Heat Grape seed oil in skillet until hot. Coat chicken with seasonings in bowl, and add to hot oil in pan.
3) Cook chicken 7 minutes on each side with a lid over pan. After chicken is fully cooked, remove from pan and let rest for 7 minutes.
4) While chicken is cooking, go ahead and start the quinoa. Rinse dry,uncooked quinoa in a steel mesh strainer with cold water, just like you would rinse rice under cold water. This will remove the bitter flavor that uncooked quinoa can have.
5) Add chicken stock and quinoa to small sauce pan. Bring to a slow boil over med-high heat, stirring frequently. Once it starts to boil, cover with lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes with lid on tight until all chicken stock is absorbed.
5) While quinoa is cooking, make the avocado yogurt sauce: Cut avocado(s) in half, discard seed & skin. Scoop out avocado into a small blender or food grinder/processor. Add Greek yogurt & juice of small lime that was cut and set aside. Add 2 of the 4 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Blend until smooth and creamy.
6) Once quinoa is done cooking, remove lid and fluff it with a fork. Replace lid, and let it sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, place cooked quinoa into a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons left-over cilantro along with the juice & zest of 2 limes. Also add a pinch of sea salt and pepper if desired.
7) Slice chicken breasts into medallions and serve over warm quinoa. Drizzle 1 tablespoon avocado sauce over chicken.
You are now ready to eat and enjoy your meal! I served this dish with a mixed romaine and spinach salad with radishes, tomatoes, a dollop of avocado sauce, and toasted Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) sprinkled on top. Simply fabulous!
* This entire meal was on my table in less then 30 minutes. No joke. This is a very healthy and low fat, low carb, gluten free dish.