My hats off to the folks at Campbell’s Kitchens who created this Chicken with Peas & Quinoa recipe. I have cooked this twice already, first with brown rice and then with quinoa. Delicious both times. If you have a pasta sauce that your family already enjoys, try this recipe to introduce them to quinoa with familiar flavors.
I didn’t use the same sauce as the original recipe. I found a kick butt zesty and spicy sauce last week that may be the reason I love this recipe so much. I have always added my own spices and cayenne pepper to canned or jarred spaghetti sauces, but this pasta sauce I love just the way it is out of the can.
Chicken Marinara Quinoa with Peas
(Adapted from Campbell’s Kitchen)
1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 24-26 oz jar or can of pasta sauce
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
10 oz frozen peas
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup minced cilantro
Brown the chicken in a deep skillet.
Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
Add broth and pasta sauce to pan and bring to boil.
Stir in quinoa, cover, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add chicken, peas, garlic, and cilantro to skillet, cover, and let simmer until chicken is cooked through.
According to the nutrition information from the Campbell’s Kitchen, if you make it their way you will get a whopping 37 grams of protein plus 10 grams of fiber.
Not too shabby.
Brown Rice, Gardein, and Making Sauce from Scratch
The first time I made this recipe I used brown rice. In order to use brown rice, I increased the broth to 2 cups and I cooked the rice in the broth and sauce for about 45 minutes before I started browning the chicken. That meal was the first brown rice I had eaten in months and it was like becoming reacquainted with an old friend. I love brown rice. I just wish it didn’t take so long to cook.
If you want to make a vegan version of this meal, you could substitute Gardein or tofu for the chicken. You could even add great big chunks of zucchini instead of a protein. I recommend 8 ounces of button mushrooms halved and stirred into the pot a couple minutes before serving. I love thick mushrooms served while the flesh is still firm.
However, be advised that any of those options will probably lower the total protein in the dish.
How do you feel about using spaghetti sauce from a can or a jar? I used to make my own sauce using canned tomato paste. Although not made from fresh tomatoes, still I liked that I was able to control the amount of sodium and sugar in my spaghetti sauce by adding all the spices and flavorings myself.
If you want to make a sauce this way, use a 6 ounce can of tomato paste and gradually incorporate 2 1/2 cups of water into the paste. Add salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, perhaps even a pinch of sugar. Saute onions, peppers, celery, and/or garlic and stir them into your sauce. Bring it to a boil and let simmer 5-10 minutes.
When I have the time and inclination, that is how I make a pasta sauce from “scratch.” However, I know in many busy families – including my own – canned pasta sauce is one of those conveniences that make it more likely a home cooked meal gets cooked. If you find a flavor everyone loves, you can’t go wrong.
Making It a Meal
I roasted some cabbage and butternut squash to serve with my Chicken Marinara Quinoa. I do not have a lot of experience with roasted vegetables – perhaps my inexperience explains my cabbage fail.
The squash was fine, but we forced ourselves to eat the cabbage. I don’t know what I did wrong, maybe it wasn’t fully cooked. I almost don’t care to know. I have so many great ways to eat cabbage, I don’t need to roast it anyway.
This is what dinner looked like on the plate. At least I am content I had a good mix of nutrients.
How do you feel about roasting cabbage? Pasta sauce in cans and jars? Please feel free to start a conversation in the comments as I would love to hear from you.
This is one of my very favorite recipes included in my free e-book, Keenonquinoa’s Favorite Quinoa Recipes. Download your copy today for an easy to print version of this recipe.
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