Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan

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A meal that is tasty, healthy, packs a crazy protein punch, and can be made in advance. Add spinach to the dish or a side salad and you've got a complete dinner!

Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan recipe.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
basil and oregano, to taste
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cooked
2/3 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 and spray a 2 qt. baking dish with cooking oil.

Make the sauce:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the oil. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30-60 seconds.  Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping anything off the bottom of the pan, and cook until it’s almost fully absorbed.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, ,oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil, and then simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Make the quinoa:

  1. Place the quinoa in a mesh strainer, and rinse with cold water for about 2 minutes.
  2. Place the quinoa and water or broth in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil (if using water, you may want to add a little salt). Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and simmer until cooked, about 20-25 minutes.

Assembly:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa and chicken with the sauce and mix thoroughly.
  2. Place half the mixture in the baking dish, and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese, and the Parmesan. Add the breadcrumbs, if using.
  3. Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly, about 10 more minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley (and additional Parmesan) before serving, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Elly, a “generation 1.5″ Greek whose mother was born in Greece and father was the first born in the States. She cooks plenty of Greek food, but also loves experimenting with other flavors and cuisines, generally trying to keep things healthy. Elly lives in Chicago with her husband Tom and their almost-3-year-old son, Zachary. You can find more of her delicious recipes on her blog Elly Says Opa.

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