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Quinoa with Chicken, Arugula and Roasted Tomatoes


Regular readers may have noticed that I'm going through a little infatuation with quinoa lately. It's quick-cooking, light-feeling and brings an interesting change of pace taste to our table. This dish is an easy and satisfying weekday plate, taking advantage of my habit of keeping some cooked chicken on hand for nights when I don't want to make a big production out of dinner and also don't want to go out, order in, or succumb again to the supermarket rotisserie chicken. 

The roasted tomatoes and simmered shallots elevate this dish from ordinary to interesting, and the slightly peppery taste of the arugula adds another layer of complexity. Just because we're making a simple and quick dish doesn't mean it can't be satisfyingly unique in flavor and components! 

With regard to diet considerations, this dish is reasonably low fat. Since the the main components of this dish are meat and grain* it can't really be low in either carbohydrates or calories but both are moderate so this dish will fit into a carefully planned diet if portion control is observed. (For the Nutritional Estimate, a serving is a half-cup quinoa and about a half-cup of chicken, with the shallots and roasted tomatoes distributed evenly among the servings.) 


*Quinoa is technically not a grain since grains are produced by grasses and the quinoa plant is a leafy bush. However, from a diet and recipe design point of view I think of it as being essentially equivalent to grains like rice or farro. 

Quinoa with Chicken, Arugula and Roasted Tomatoes

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6 servings 


  • 12 cherry tomatoes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 8 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, cut in bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 24 shallots, peeled, larger ones halved lengthwise (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup chicken broth


1. Place the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil in an ovenproof dish and toss to combine. Roast in a preheated 475º oven for about 25 - 30 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water in a 2- or 3-quart pot, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir in the quinoa. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the arugula and the chicken. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes. 

3. Meanwhile, place the chicken broth in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and simmer gently unitil tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

4. When the tomatoes are done (they will be falling apart and some of the garlic pieces will be starting to char)  remove them from the oven and scrape into a bowl, being sure to get any bits sticking to the roasting dish.

To serve, mound the quinoa mixture on the plate, scatter shallots around the mound and top with roasted tomatoes. 

Nutritional Estimate: 6 Servings. Per serving: 306 Calories; 27 g Total Carbs; 3 g Dietary Fiber; 1 g Sugars; 9 g Fat; 67 mg Cholesterol; 83 mg Sodium; 28 g Protein. Weight Watchers: 6 points.

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this looks amazing...didn't know quinoa wasn't technically a grain...can't tell you how often we succumb to store bought rotisserie chicken which tastes like a salt lick with some chicken in it...thanks for this one, erica

Stephen - two questions about the poached chicken used in this recipe. My weekdays are hectic and I often plan a meal and then have to delay it a day or two. How long will the poached chicken keep in the fridge? Also, my family only likes white meat. Can I use chicken breasts and get a satisfactory result? Can't wait to try this recipe! Thanks!

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