Serve this quinoa bowl slightly warm or at room temperature. To save time, use store-bought rotisserie chicken and pre-cut squash and replace the Creamy Apple Vinaigrette with a prepared dressing. Add chopped apples, if desired. Ingredients can be made up to 3 days ahead and assembled just before serving.
MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS.
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt, optional
The Protein (Chipotle Chicken):
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
3 teaspoons lime juice
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12 ounces peeled butternut squash, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt, optional
1 cup coarsely chopped baby kale, more as desired
The Sauce (Creamy Apple Vinaigrette):
2 tablespoons minced onion
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Pinch of salt, optional
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
The Topping (Crunch):
4 ounces cubed or shredded mild or sharp cheddar cheese or dairy-free cheese of choice
2 tablespoons roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
½ cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Make the grain. In a medium pot, combine quinoa, water and salt, if using. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Set aside.
3. Make the protein. Combine garlic powder, chipotle chili powder, lime juice and 2 teaspoons olive oil to make a marinade. Place chicken in marinade, turning to cover, and let sit 30 minutes. Place remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a hot skillet. Add chicken and sauté, browning both sides. Place chicken in preheated oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes or until juice runs clear when pierced with a fork. Let cool and cut into thin slices.
4. Make the veggies. In a large bowl, toss squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt, if using. Spread over a large baking sheet. Place in preheated oven and bake 30 minutes or until fork-soft. Remove from oven and let cool. Reserve kale for assembling in step 5.
5. Make the sauce. Sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt, if using, until soft and translucent. Add apples and sauté an additional 2 minutes or until apples become slightly mushy. Add cider vinegar and simmer 2 minutes. Cool and puree with remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.
6. To assemble, fold baby kale and 1 tablespoon sauce into cooked quinoa. Arrange in a serving bowl. Layer squash and chicken slices over quinoa mixture. Drizzle with 1/3 cup sauce and top with cheese, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.
Each serving contains 474 calories, 27g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 52mg cholesterol, 161mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 8g sugars, 23g protein, 15Est GL.
Each tablespoon of Creamy Apple Vinaigrette contains 21 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g sugars, 0g protein, 0Est GL.
Food editor Beth Hillson is a chef and cooking instructor. She is founder of Gluten-Free Pantry, one of the first gluten-free companies in the United States, and author of Gluten-Free Makeovers andThe Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free (Da Capo Lifelong).