Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Vegetable Stirfry with Garlic Chicken and Quinoa


Summer vegetables are here! You know when summer's bounty has arrived because you go from having no tomatoes, corn, or zucchini at all, to having it coming out your ears! It's like a tidal wave of produce washing over your kitchen and coating every counter and open surface with vegetables that have to be eaten RIGHT NOW. As we speak, I have two gigantic baskets of cucumbers waiting to be scrubbed and pickled (and more on the bush!), and a Trader Joe's bag full of tomatoes. What to do? What to do?? Get cooking, that's what!

I have a confession to make: I find quinoa (say it KEEN-wah) to be intimidating and scary. I have had a box of it sitting in a dark corner of my pantry for over a year, and never once have I thought to myself "yum, just what I'm wanting for dinner." It's scary! And I probably never would have done anything with it at all if I hadn't had a quinoa/blackbean/corn salad at a recent potluck. It was good! A little bit like brown rice, actually, but softer and with a more hearty, nutty flavor.

So make it I did, and we were all big fans of this recipe. I mean, even JAMES loved it, and he's the pickiest eater ever. And it has zucchini in it, which Nate claims to hate, and he loved it to. So, ready to be brave? Try it! You'll like it!


Summer Vegetable Stirfry with Garlic Chicken and Quinoa
Serves 4

Feel free to play with the vegetable combinations - I used cherry tomatoes and zucchini because that's what I had to use up, but I think it would have tasted great with corn, diced baked squash, sauteed spinach, or whatever is in season near you. This was also great with a little drizzle of salad dressing on tip!

1 cup dried quinoa
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, mined or put through a garlic press
1 chicken breast, or 3 chicken tenders, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
3-4 tbs olive oil
salt, pepper
optional: ranch or Caesar salad dressing, grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup quinoa to boil with 2 cups of water. Reduce heat to low, and cover, cooking until water is absorbed, and quinoa is soft.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed skillet, heat about 3 tbs olive oil over high heat. Sautee diced onions in the oil until softened and translucent. Add chicken and garlic, salting and peppering generously. Don't stir the chicken too much - you want it to brown. When chicken in cooked through (5-7 minutes), add zucchini and cook until softened and beginning to brown. Add cooked quinoa to skillet, and turn off the heat. Stir in cherry tomatoes and basil. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary, and drizzle a little salad dressing over the top, or sprinkles with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


  1. summer salads ... so hot here, just the words "summer salads" drops my internal temp down 2-3 degrees. cheers!

  2. I just followed you on Pinterest! Your recipes absolutely need a shout out! Thank you for sharing!!!

  3. This looks yummy! My absolute favorite flavor pairing with quinoa is cumin. Quinoa cooked with chicken broth and cumin plus corn plus grilled veggies and grilled pork is delicious!

  4. I loved quinoa. This looks soooo good, my kind of meal!