Baked Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

Finally decided to get a z-pack in order to fend away this lingering sinusitis that I’ve been battling, but it hasn’t seemed to greatly increase my recovery rate. I may be wrong, but I feel as though the improvements this far are merely my own body’s accomplishments. Guess that means it could be viral, but either way it’s been a week and I’m tired of having stopped up nose and ears. So with that, let’s talk about some healthy comfort food.

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, this this is a great place to start. As someone who has played around with quinoa a bunch, this was by far my favorite recipe using quinoa. It’s a healthier version of Chicken Parm! I’m almost mad at myself for not trying it sooner, especially after Tracey raved about it. I did note that she mentioned missing the breading on the chicken in the recipe she posted, so I decided to bread my chicken up! Obviously I do not know what it would’ve been like without it, but was very pleased with the results.

Baked Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

Two years ago: White Bean Chicken Chili


BAKED QUINOA CHICKEN PARMESAN

Serves 6

Ingredients:

CHICKEN

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

16 oz. chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup toasted Panko breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

SAUCE

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I prefer petite diced)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

QUINOA

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed with cold water

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

TOPPINGS

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp Panko breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a wire rack on a large baking sheet. Coat the rack with cooking spray and set aside. Also spray a 2-qt baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. To make the chicken: Place the buttermilk in one shallow dish, and then combine the Panko, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a second shallow dish. Add chicken pieces to the buttermilk, turning to coat. Remove and dredge in Panko mixture. Arrange chicken on prepared wire rack and spray tops with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until done. Set chicken aside.
  3. To make the sauce: Add the oil to a large saucepan set over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant. Add the vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Continue cooking until the vinegar is almost completely absorbed. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer as you continue with the recipe.
  4. To make the quinoa: Transfer the quinoa to a saucepan and add the chicken broth. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. When the quinoa is almost done cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Add the cooked quinoa and the chicken to the sauce and stir to combine. Add half of this mixture to the prepared baking dish then top with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Add the remaining half of the quinoa mixture and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Top with the Parmesan cheese and then the breadcrumbs.
  7. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Garnish with the parsley before serving.

Source: Chicken adapted from The New Way to Cook Light, page 219. Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, slightly adapted from Elly Says Opa.

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