Quinoa is a popular food for good reason: it dates back thousands of years and is packed full of nutrients. While many think quinoa is a grain, it’s actually a seed. As a seed, it has not had its nutrients stripped away during processing, so it can be stored over time and doesn’t spoil or lose its nutrition. Its easy to cook and, despite cooking, remains a great source of protein, fiber, iron, copper, thiamine, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorous and folate. Even better, quinoa has a nutty flavor that complements, or incorporates into, other foods wonderfully.
I opted to pair the taste and benefits of quinoa with black beans and chicken. Black beans are not just for Mexican dishes; like peanuts, peas or lentils, black beans are also high in protein and fiber. Black beans also require little to no cooking and taste great when added to a dish like this. Chicken adds another layer of flavor and source of protein that keeps this dish versatile for the whole family. The seasonings in this dish are subtle on purpose; pregnant women may have difficulty with the pronounced flavors of cumin and coriander, so I found amounts that add just enough flavor without being overpowering. You can add more, or use less, depending on your own preferences.
An Easy Lunch
I recommend this dish for lunch, but it can also work as a dinner. It can be made the night before and kept in the refrigerator overnight or served warm with a tossed salad as a main course. This dish also makes several servings, so it can be used for several lunches, dinners, or as an after school or after sports snack for kids.
Share Your Favorites!
This dish has endless possibilities too! Try other beans or other cuts of meats to create your own flavorful combinations and share your favorites in the comments!
Chicken, Black Bean and Quinoa Bowl
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups diced boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 green onions, sliced (without the white parts)
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups of canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup yellow corn (frozen or fresh)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
- In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Cook garlic and paprika until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Stir in the quinoa and add water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until no liquid remains, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- While quinoa is cooking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the chicken, cumin, ground coriander, salt and pepper until browned, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add green onions, tomatoes, black beans and corn to the cooked chicken. Cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion is softened and the mixture is fragrant.
- Place cooked quinoa in a bowl. Spoon chicken and black bean mixture over the quinoa. Garnish with cilantro and sprinkle with lime juice.
- Serve warm or refrigerate in a covered container overnight. Reheat on low heat and stir occasionally during reheating.