On Labor Day, after a fun weekend of just hanging out, eating too much food and drinking too much wine, I decided to stay home and cook dinner for some friends.  It had been such an indulgent weekend I knew I wanted something somewhat healthy.  Ever since I had that quinoa salad at the Franklin Café, I have been obsessed with wanting to make a dish with it and this one adapted from a recipe I found in Self magazine seemed to be perfect.  The marinade is absolutely fantastic and one that I will make again.  

Lemon Zesty Chicken with Quinoa and Vegetables


1 medium shallots, roughly chopped
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 cup plus 5 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or stock)
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 pound fresh sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


For the marinade: Puree shallots, lemon rind, 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, sea salt, pepper, and coriander in a food mixer until smooth. 


Place chicken in a plastic dish and spoon on marinade, rubbing it on all sides. Cover; chill 1/2 to 2 hours.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook quinoa until toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until quinoa absorbs liquid, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat; let sit, covered, until ready to serve.


Heat a skillet over high heat; coat with cooking spray. Cook chicken, turning once, for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning once, until a meat is cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove chicken; let rest two minutes. Slice each breast on the diagonal into 1/2-inch piecess


Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook snap peas and peppers until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.   Turn off heat and mix in the quinoa.  Lay onto a large dish and put the sliced chicken on top.  Sprinkle with the fresh mint. 

I think my friends would agree that this is a great (healthy’ish) dish perfect for these types of get togethers.


We followed it with the Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries, which rounded off our impromptu dinner party nicely and early enough for everyone to get home for a good night’s sleep and ready for the four day work week.