This Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl is filled with buttery quinoa, juicy roasted chicken, and fresh herby pesto.
Have dinner ready in about 30 minutes and easily customize this quinoa bowl by adding your favorite toppings.
Love dinner in a bowl? Try this crustless pizza bowl recipe.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This chicken pesto quinoa bowl is full of nutrition and easy to throw together with whatever you have in the fridge.
- They are also easy to customize. Change the flavor of the bowl by switching out for different ingredients in this easy recipe.
- Quinoa bowls make a delicious complete meal for lunch or dinner and are perfect for meal prep.
Love easy chicken recipes? Try this Greek chicken marinade.
Quinoa: Feel free to use packaged pre-cooked quinoa or prepare your own. You can also substitute other whole grains like rice, pasta, and other grains in place of quinoa.
Chicken Breast: During the cold winter months I prefer to saute chopped chicken breast in a skillet on the stove. But as soon as the weather warms up I love to grill whole chicken breasts and then cut them into bite-sized pieces before serving.
Want to make this dish really easy? Use shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken
Pesto: You can make your own pesto or use store-bought traditional basil pesto, whichever is easiest for you. If you do want to use homemade pesto I love this spinach pesto.
Toppings: Here is where you get to be creative. Top your quinoa bowl with your favorite roasted vegetables like grape or cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
I love adding pickled vegetables like red onion, pepperoncini peppers, and artichokes. Sundried tomatoes also make a delicious addition.
Cheese: Finally top the quinoa bowl with some shredded cheese, because cheese always makes everything taste better. My favorite is shredded parmesan cheese but you could also use feta cheese, mozzarella, gruyere, or your favorite cheese.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Cook the Quinoa
Rinse the quinoa under cool running water. You will need a fine mesh strainer because a standard strainer's holes are too big.
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and saute for a few minutes until it begins to smell toasty. Add the water and salt and let it come to a rolling boil.
Reduce the heat to just high enough to maintain a simmer. Let the quinoa simmer for 12-15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
Remove from the heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, season with salt and black pepper, and set aside.
While the quinoa is simmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the chicken in a single layer and saute for 6-8 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
To Assemble the Bowls
Add the quinoa followed by the chicken to a large bowl.
Drizzle with pesto.
Finish with your favorite toppings and grated cheese.
- Roasted Vegetables: Some of my favorites include broccoli, carrots, asparagus, radishes, bell peppers, cauliflower, summer squash, and onions.
- Marinated Artichokes
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Pickled Red Onion
- Tzatziki Dressing
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Green Onions
- Shredded Cabbage
- Dried Fruit
- Nuts and Seeds
- Fresh Herbs - Try adding fresh basil, parsley, oregano, or thyme.
- Italian Seasoning
- Greens: Try adding bright green spinach, chopped and massaged kale, or a mixed green salad.
This is a great recipe to make ahead. It can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. You can either reheat before serving or serve cold.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Like many grain bowls, I think this recipe tastes even better the next day once all of the flavors have had a chance to meld together.
- For additional flavor, substitute chicken broth for the water when cooking the quinoa.
- To turn this into a super quick dinner use rotisserie chicken, precooked quinoa, and jarred pesto.
- If you have picky eaters in your house try serving the topping separately so that everyone can decide what they want to top their quinoa bowl with.
Frequently Asked Questions
Quinoa bowls are a great way to turn spare ingredients into a delicious meal. Quinoa bowls start with a base of quinoa and are topped with a variety of different ingredients.
Quinoa is an ancient grain that tastes like hearty nutty earth rice.
There are three main types of quinoa; white quinoa, red quinoa, and black quinoa.
White quinoa is the most common. It has a delicate flavor and a light texture. It tends to cook up fluffier than other colors of quinoa.
Red quinoa has a richer heartier flavor and is slightly chewier than white quinoa.
Black quinoa has a heartier slightly sweet flavor.
Quinoa is coated in a naturally occurring insecticide called saponin. Saponin can give the grain a bitter taste. A quick rinse under cold water will help to remove this bitter flavor.
Once cooked quinoa will soften but still have a little bit of chew. As it cooks and softens the quinoa's endosperm releases from the seed making it look like it has a tail.
The answer is both. Quinoa bowls can be served hot, cold, or anywhere in between.
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Thanks for Reading!
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