It only takes 30 minutes total to cook and assemble these rainbow hued Chicken Quinoa Bowls. They’re drizzled with home-made peanut dressing which jazzes up the flavors of the bowls a ton and is quite frankly so delicious you may just want to drink it!

a close up of chicken quinoa bowl with peanut dressing

Customize Your Own Bowl

Call them Buddha Bowls, Power Bowls or Nourish Bowls, but whatever you call them I LOVE them! There are many things I love about making bowls for dinner, the most important of which is how flexible you can be to switch the ingredients around. For example, if you want to make these bowls with steamed brown rice instead of quinoa, that works perfectly fine! Or if you’re not a fan of peanut dressing, you can sub in another salad dressing instead. If poached chicken breast is not your thing, use baked chicken thighs. If someone in your family hates cabbage, you can swap in another veggie instead. You can even used left-over roasted brussels sprouts or butternut squash instead of raw veggies. You get the idea. There is no wrong way to build a bowl!

Substitute Your Favorite Veggies

Even the veggies can be mixed up. I often will just buy what looks great when I get to the farmer’s market, grocery store or if I have something in particular growing in my garden that needs to be eaten. Later this summer when my cucumbers start coming in the garden, I will be using them in all the bowls!!

 

Use Leftover Veggies and Protein For Menu Planning

Think of the bowl as being the catch all for those leftover veggies you didn’t use up during the week. That’s because, bowls are also a super simple way to use up leftover ingredients and economize your meal prep and shopping list. By economize, I mean, use one sub recipe twice during the week.

The most obvious way to do that is with the protein. Here’s one way to do that: Poach a double batch of the chicken, and make the rest of it into Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad. Or taking it a step further you could, make a double batch of this maple tahini roasted salmon. On night one, serve the salmon with a couple sides like broccoli with garlic and lemon and lentils with bacon. Then on the second night, flake the fish and use that in these quinoa bowls instead of the chicken. It’s half the effort!

Another way to maximize your meal prep is to use the same veggies from the Quinoa Bowls in other dishes during the week. For example, you can use the rest of your head of cabbage to make a batch of this healthy coleslaw. Or you can make Moroccan Carrots with the remainder of the bag of carrots you bought. 

An overhead view of a farm table with two buddha bowls with quinoa and chicken

How to Make Peanut Dressing For Chicken Quinoa Bowls

  1. Start with natural peanut butter. Natural peanut butter separates when it sits out at room temperature for a long time. If you’re not sure if a peanut butter is natural, just look at the ingredient list. It should just be peanuts and salt. (Or just peanuts if you like unsalted peanut butter.) Any other ingredients are not necessary, sometimes unhealthy, and can affect the texture of the dressing in a negative way.
  2. Thin the peanut butter with orange juice. This is a trick I have used since I first started making peanut dressing when I was in college. It is a simple way to thin out the peanut butter, while adding sweet tart orange flavor. {Aside: In my cookbook, I have a peanut dressing with orange zest in it too, that is totally delish!}  
  3. Add in raw garlic. Garlic in peanut dressing is a must in my opinion. I think it’s even more important than the ginger! If you have a microplane grater, you can grate the garlic to make sure the pieces are tiny. Or you can mince the garlic by hand. 
  4. Make it Savory with Tamari. Instead of salt, I use tamari to add salt and flavor to peanut dressing. Tamari and soy sauce is umami, so it’s a great two for one, to use it instead of salt in this peanut dressing. If you’re not familiar with tamari, it is a wheat-free soy sauce. If you like you can sub in soy sauce as an alternative. If you prefer a soy-free alternative, try coconut aminos, which is available in health food stores.
  5. Balance the flavors with Vinegar and Maple. I like to use either rice vinegar or white vinegar in my peanut dressing. It really perks it up! A little goes a long way though. I only added one 1 tablespoon. I also add in maple syrup because it is a liquid sweetener, and the flavor of maple goes fantastically well with Asian ingredients. 
  6. Add Ginger Root. Ginger is a classic flavor to add to the peanut dressing, and really livens up the Chicken Quinoa Bowls so well.

A side view of chicken quinoa bowl

How To Make Chicken Quinoa Bowls

  1. Cook Chicken on the Stovetop: Simmer or poach the chicken first. This is the step that takes the longest. While poaching doesn’t add any flavor to the chicken, it is an easy fat free way of cooking, and can be done without much attention given to it while you are preparing the peanut dressing, quinoa and veggies. 
  2. Grill Chicken if Desired: You can also grill the chicken if you have a grill and want to use that instead. To grill the chicken, make sure your grill is preheated to high. Then grill the breasts for 4 to 6 minutes per side and let it rest 5 minutes before slicing. If you want to take this recipe to flavor town sub in this garlic herb marinated grilled chicken
  3. How to Tell Chicken is Cooked: Check to see if your chicken is cooked though by using an instant read thermometer. Hold the chicken with tongs, then insert the probe of the thermometer into the center of the breast. I like to do so horizontally so I am sure the sensor ends up in the center of the meat, and doesn’t come out the far side! Look for 165 degrees! Read more about food safety and how to thaw chicken here.
  4. Cook Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa, and cook it with broth. The broth adds depth of flavor with minimal effort, and no additional calories. 
  5. Prep Veggies: Chop the veggies while the chicken and quinoa cook. If you don’t know how to chop cabbage, you can take a look at the Ultimate Guide To Cabbage.
  6. Build Quinoa Bowls: Assemble the bowls and drizzle with dressing. I like to add on some additional crunch and freshness with cilantro and chopped peanuts. If you’re using another dressing, you can swap in other seeds or nuts instead of peanuts. 
Print
a close up of chicken quinoa bowl with peanut dressing

chicken quinoa bowl

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

These healthy chicken quinoa bowls are easily customizable to use what ingredients you have on hand. Here we topped the quinoa with chicken, cabbage, snow peas and carrots. Drizzle with simple home-made peanut dressing. Feel free to sub in cooked left-over chicken, rotisserie chicken. To make this recipe vegan, sub in cubed baked tofu for the poached chicken, and sub vegetable broth for the vegetable broth.


Scale

Ingredients

Dressing

¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter

¼ cup orange juice

1 clove garlic, grated or minced

1 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, or coconut aminos *see ingredient note

1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white vinegar

2 teaspoons dark pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Quinoa Bowls

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

½ teaspoon salt, divided

2 ½ cup chicken broth

1 ¼ cup quinoa, rinsed *see ingredient note

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into thirds

¼ cup chopped unsalted peanuts

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Lime wedges


Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a medium saucepan. Cover with water. Add ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring the skillet to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook until the chicken is cooked through and an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and slice.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together peanut butter and orange juice until smooth. Add in garlic, tamari, vinegar, maple syrup and ginger and whisk until smooth. Can be made up to 5 days in advance.
  3. Meanwhile, combine quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover, and reduce heat to low or to maintain a gentle simmer. Let cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the germ of the quinoa has started to burst, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Assemble Chicken Quinoa Bowls. Layer quinoa in the bottom of four large bowls. Top with the chicken, carrots, cabbage and snap peas. Drizzle with the dressing and top with peanuts and cilantro.


Notes

  • Ingredient Note: Tamari is Japanese wheat free soy sauce. Regular soy sauce is an alternative. If you prefer a soy-free alternative, try coconut aminos, which is available in health food stores.
  • Ingredient Note: Quinoa contains a naturally occurring substance called saponin which coats the outside of the quinoa seed. Before cooking, remove the saponin by placing the dry quinoa in a sieve and run cold tap water over it continuously until it is no-longer foamy.
  • Tip: To make these chicken quinoa bowls even faster, sub in cooked left-over chicken and/or quinoa. To cut down on chopping time, buy bagged shredded cabbage or matchstick carrots.
  • Tip: Feel free to sub in your favorite vegetables for these bowls. Chopped raw broccoli, radishes and cucumbers would also be great.
  • Make Ahead: The peanut dressing can be made up to 5 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and whisk before serving. The quinoa and chicken can be made in advance and served chilled if desired. I do not recommend reheating the chicken breast however because it will become dry.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 1/2 cup bowl plus 3 tablespoons dressing
  • Calories: 389
  • Fat: 22 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 34 g

These healthy chicken quinoa bowls are easily customizable to use what ingredients you have on hand. Here we topped the quinoa power bowls with with chicken, cabbage, snow peas and carrots. Drizzle with simple home-made peanut dressing. These bowls are great for beginners and you can feel free to sub in cooked left-over chicken, rotisserie chicken. To make this buddha bowl recipe vegan, sub in cubed baked tofu for the poached chicken, and sub vegetable broth for the vegetable broth. #quinoa #chicken #bowl #peanut #glutenfree #healthy #entree #buddhabowl

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