Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole


1½ cups uncooked quinoa
1 14 ounce can cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups salsa
1½ cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
1-2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
1½ cups shredded cheese, divided
1 tablespoon oil
1 jalapeño, minced
1 onion, sliced
4 bell peppers, sliced
1¼ lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon taco seasoning

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix the quinoa, black beans, salsa, chicken broth, salt, garlic, and ½ cup of the shredded cheese in a large bowl. Transfer to a well-greased casserole dish (something close to 9×13). Bake for 30 minutes.
While the quinoa is baking, heat a the oil in a large skillet. Add the jalapeño, onion, and peppers. Saute until golden brown and tender-crisp, like you would for fajitas. Remove from heat and set aside.
Toss the chicken with the taco seasoning. When the quinoa is done with the first 30 minutes of baking, stir it up really well and add the chicken, stir gently to get the chicken mostly covered by the mixture, and return to the oven for another 30 minutes of baking. If you notice there are a few uncooked quinoa pieces on top, just give it a stir and bake it a little longer. It’s usually fully cooked on the bottom but those top pieces sometimes need a little extra love.
When the quinoa is done, top with the peppers and remaining cheese – bake another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted to your liking.

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