keen on quinoa

chicken + sweet potato + shredded kale + quinoa + almonds = heaven? sounds about right. 


Hey team! Don't know why I just called you all team, but I like it so we're going with it. How are you? If you're anything like me then you've been on a fitness journey that's lasted way longer than you expected, taken way too many turns, and has left you craving all the food. 

The other day I had just gotten home from taking a boxing class (if you live anywhere in Chicagoland, you NEED to come check out Midwest Strength + Performance) where I had literally been handed my butt on a silver platter. I was tired, sweaty, but most of all HUNGRY. In the spirit of *health & wellness* I made a chicken & quinoa bowl. Trust me, it's much better than it sounds. 

Here's what you need: 

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or any stock, if you like more flavor) TRUST ME, GO WITH THE STOCK 
  • 1 chicken breast (you can get these already cooked at Whole Foods, or just use a rotisserie)
  • 1 sweet potato 
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 cups shredded kale (seems like a lot, but it cooks down so much) 
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds 
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • salt & pepper 

Ok, so quinoa sounds a lot harder to make than it is. I've heard that you have to rinse it, like rice, before cooking it, that it needs to be covered while cooked, that you should triple the amount of water blah blah blah. It's actually SO easy. Ready? Put one part quinoa in a pot, then add 2 parts water (or stock) and then let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. SO EASY. It really only takes about 20 minutes. I try my best to just let it do it's thing, but sometimes you can't resist and have to give it a little stir. As soon as the liquid is absorbed, I take it off the heat and fluff with a fork. Then just season it with some salt and pepper, and you're set! 1 cup of quinoa is actually so much, so I like to make large amounts at the beginning of the week and then slowly use it. It's my tiny step into the world of meal prepping. For this recipe we'll use the whole cup. 

If you're making this recipe from start to finish, while the quinoa is cooking it's the perfect time to peel and dice the sweet potato, yellow squash, and shred the kale. Once they're all done, add the cooked quinoa, veggies, and cayenne pepper to a oiled skillet on medium heat and cover-- cook until the sweet potatoes are fork tender, so about 15 minutes, checking constantly so the quinoa doesn't over cook. There should be a nice quinoa socarrat at the bottom of the skillet. While the quinoa and veggies are getting married in the skillet, I cook chicken breast in a separate skillet with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne. The timing should be about perfect! Once it's done, slice it and it's ready for the bowl! 


Once the veggies are cooked down, take it off the heat, top chicken breast (or without for vegan and veggie friends) and enjoy! I top it with almond slivers, sesame seeds and of course a little Sriracha. If you don't have time (or honestly just don't want to) use a rotisserie chicken! So much easier. 

This has quickly become one of my favorite recipes to make-- if you make a giant batch on Monday, it will keep through the week and you can eat it hot, warm, and cold. At every temp different flavor profiles will come through! It's SO healthy since ,"quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibermagnesium, B-vitaminsironpotassiumcalciumphosphorus,vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants" and who doesn't love chicken and spice. 

Next time you get home from a workout and have no idea what to make, try this, or incorporate it into your weekly meal prep!