Sautéed Chicken with Fiesta Quinoa


It’s party time! Summer is here and I’m seriously craving light and easy foods that are great served warm or cold. I love this dish because it works all day long; for lunch or dinner or even served as a side dish. It is also free from all top 8 allergens so it is perfect to bring to a BBQ or potluck event. Most importantly, it’s pretty!

I’m big on skinless chicken thighs with the bone on because they are tender and flavorful yet still healthy. The key is marinating the meat. I tell my students this a lot. You can’t just sprinkle some salt and pepper onto chicken before sautéing it and expect it to have a lot of flavor. Just 20 minutes in a simple marinade of garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and some herbs can make a huge difference.

I’ve been feeling a lot of Mexican flavors lately. Probably because I had the most amazing time at a class with Ivy Stark, the head chef of Dos Caminos, at my alma mater, ICE Culinary, last week. We made several delicious dishes from her new cookbook, Dos Caminos Tacos, in the class and I have been playing around with some more recipes at home. Love them! You should definitely check out the book.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

Chicken with Fiesta Quinoa

Sautéed Chicken with Fiesta Quinoa
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs
  • 10 sprigs cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1½ cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked corn
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly (white and green parts)
  • 1 small lime, juiced, plus additional slices for garnish (optional)
  • 3 oz extra virgin olive oil, plus more, if needed, to balance acidity
  • ½ tsp cilantro, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place chicken, cilantro, vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper in a large ziploc bag and marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to several hours
  2. When ready, sauté in a large pan over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Lower the heat, cover and continue cooking until chicken reaches 165 degrees fahrenheit
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa in chicken stock, according to package directions, and then lay out on a parchment-lined baking tray to dry slightly. (This step is important and really helps keep the texture of your quinoa from becoming too mushy before tossing it with other ingredients.)
  4. Mix the vinaigrette ingredients together in a sealed tupperware container and shake vigorously until emulsified
  5. Toss the quinoa with the black beans corn, red pepper and scallions and dress with the vinaigrette. (You may not need to use all of it so add a little bit at a time until you feel it is dressed well but not soaked.)
  6. Lay chicken thighs on top and add extra cilantro and/or limes for garnish


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