Spanish chicken quinoa – gluten free, dairy free and clean.
Sydney had been unseasonably warm for this time of year. Just one week shy of Winter, I was down the beach with a book, thinking how lucky we were to experience such gorgeous late Autumn weather. I’m still eating salads which is perfect considering greens are such a healing food, however, today the inevitable chill has fallen upon us so it’s time to start looking at more heartier dishes. It’s still important to get greens into your system when the weather drops and broccoli is a potent, anti-cancer food we don’t eat enough of.
Growing up, you may have been familiar with the soggy, boiled broccoli often relegated to the corner of the plate behind the the meat and more tolerable vegetables. That was my relationship with broccoli so it’s no surprise it dropped off my radar for many years.
However, I intend to show you more recipes using broccoli as there are better ways to cook it so I think my Spanish chicken quinoa recipe is a good reason to start bringing broccoli back into your life.
Another nutrient dense (super) food in this recipe is quinoa. If you haven’t cooked with quinoa before and would like to give it a go, here are a few things you need to know.
What is quinoa?
Not a grain, quinoa is in fact a seed and is native to South America. Its nutrition profile is so high it’s deemed a superfood. It has a mild nutty flavour and can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. It’s covered in a bitter coating called saponin (which deters the birds from eating it) so it’s best to rinse quinoa before cooking. You can find it in any health food store and in most supermarkets in the health food aisle.
How do you cook it?
Always rinse quinoa before cooking with it to remove the naturally occurring saponins in order to remove the bitter taste. Use 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water and cook for about 20 minutes with the lid on until the water has completely evaporated when you give it a stir (bottom of pan should be completely dry). Remove saucepan from heat and let it sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes or more so the steam will continue to soften the grain. Separate the grains with a fork.
To keep the grains separated, it’s better to add the cooked ingredients to the quinoa in this dish rather than the other way around as I have found the quinoa clumps together if I pour it into the frying pan that the chicken was cooked in. However if you don’t mind a bit of clumping then go for it.
Treat quinoa like you do rice – it’s a blank canvas to which you can add lots of flavour, whether sweet or savoury.
Here’s a brief overview on what to do
Why this is so good for you
Coconut oil speeds up metabolism, reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces the risk of diabetes, improves digestion, increases immune strength, is anti-bacterial, anti-vira, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic, prevents osteoporosis, prevents stroke and helps prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Quinoa helps prevent heart disease, relieves constipation, helps increase brain function, aids in tissue growth and repair, helps to alleviate migraines, helps reduce type 2 diabetes, lowers inflammation and increases stamina.
Onions improve digestion, relieve constipation, cure scurvy, help combat diabetes, lower blood pressure, prevent heart attack, heart disease and strokes, help heal peptic and oral ulcers, help relieve arthritis; and help cure prostate and colon cancer.
Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties, supports the circulatory, digestive and immune systems, helps lower blood pressure, assists in detoxification, prevents formation of blood clots, reduces blood pressure, helps with asthma, regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics and lowers the risk of most types of cancer.
Olives control blood pressure, protect cells, reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, protect against cancer, reduce anaemia and enhance fertility.
Capsicums helps fight food poisoning, helps prevent aging, helps prevent stroke, helps prevent bladder, cervix, pancreas and prostate cancers, helps reduce gastrointestinal problems, increases metabolism, helps prevent macular degeneration, helps eliminate migraines and headaches; and helps prevent asthma and lung infections.
Free range/organic chicken is hormone free, chemical free, antibiotic free, higher in Omega 3 than regular chicken, and richer in taste. Great for muscle growth and development, keeps bones strong, boosts the immune system, lowers the risk of developing arthritis, helps soothe PMS systems, helps to regulate testosterone levels in men, and reduces risk of heart attack.
Broccoli detoxifies the body, improves digestion, is anti inflammatory, reduces the effect of allergic substances in the body, helps prevent cancer (particularly lung and colon cancer; and breast cancer in women), strengthens bones, helps reduce wrinkles and improves skin tone, lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertension, diabetes and certain gastrointestinal diseases, lowers blood pressure and enhances weight loss.
Himalayan salt contains all of the 84 elements found in your body. It is anti aging, increases hydration, promotes blood sugar health, prevents muscle cramping, strengthens bones, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, helps expel toxins from the body, helps reduce acid reflux and helps the intestines absorb nutrients.
Hazelnuts reduce risk of bladder cancer, help reduce risk of skin cancer and premature aging, reduce risk of osteoporosis, increase digestive health, promote a healthy nervous system, help prevent anemia and prevent neural tube defects in newborns.
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided (for cooking)
- 1 red onion (or brown), finely chopped
- 1 medium - large red capsicum, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 cups chopped brocolli florets
- 800 grams chicken (free range or organic), sliced into strips
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
- 3 teaspoons fine pink Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
- 1/2 cup olives (gluten free), sliced in half (black, green or mixed)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup roasted/skinned hazelnuts (or almonds), chopped
- Optional: Lemon wedges
- Cook quinoa in a medium saucepan according to packet directions. Remove pan from heat for 5 - 10 minutes with lid on. Fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large saucepan on medium low heat and cook onion and capsicum till soft. Increase heat, add garlic and brocolli and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
- Heat another tablespoon oil and cook chicken in batches till browned. Stir spices and seasonings through chicken and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Transfer chicken mixture and quinoa into a large serving bowl and mix through. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Stir through olives and flat leaf parsley. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top. Serve immediately.