I’ve made it all the way into February and the new year’s resolution is still going strong! The reason for choosing this as my next recipe? I had someone over and asked what they fancied eating, the criteria – ‘spicy, chicken and low carbs’. This recipe ticks all of those boxes and is high in protein too, so it’s perfect for gym people. If the attendance at my yoga and pilates classes are anything to go by, the New Year’s Resolution Crowd is still going fairly strong but some people are starting to fall off the bandwagon. Hopefully this recipe will be a tasty way of keeping up with your own resolution if getting fit or eating healthily is one of them. It makes enough for around 3 servings.
What makes this recipe so protein rich is not only the chicken, but quinoa – the ultimate hipster food. It’s a Peruvian superfood which is high in protein, high in fibre, phosphorous, magnesium and iron, as well as being gluten free. Despite the widely debated pronunciation of this grain, having spent some time in Peru while travelling South America last year (excuse the pretentious sounding travel reference), I can confirm it’s pronounced ‘keen-wa’. It’s a good and super-healthy alternative to things like rice or cous cous, but you needs to be paired with the right flavours to prevent it being from being bland.
As you’ll see in the ingredients list, I found a ready-to-use sachet which included both quinoa and puy lentils in Waitrose (see here). While I don’t recommend buying your Cajun seasoning here (twice as expensive as Tesco as I learned the hard way), the free coffee is always a good incentive to stop by Waitrose every now and then – because who can say no to free stuff? Otherwise, you can cook the quinoa up fairly easily but I’d still recommend getting ready-to-use puy lentils to prevent the lengthy process of having to soak them.
– 4 diced chicken breasts
– 1-2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, only if you like it spicy)
– olive oil
– 1 red onion, sliced into wedges
– 1 bunch of spring onions, diagonally sliced
– 60g dried apricots, sliced
– fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Quinoa/ puy lentils
– 1 chicken stock cube
– 1 tbsp tomato puree taste
– 250g packet ready-to-use quinoa and puy lentils
– 100g quinoa
– half a 250g sachet of ready-to-use puy lentils
How to do it…
1. Preheat the oven to around 200°C/gas mark 6. Using a bowl, toss the chicken in the Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper (if using). Then cover your baking tray in foil, using enough so that you can fold the foil back round to cover the chicken and keep in the moisture while cooking. Bake for 20 minutes.
(If using you’re cooking your quinoa and not using a sachet, cook with quinoa with 600ml boiling water and the chicken stock cube for 15 minutes, before adding the puy lentils and dried apricots for a further 5 minutes before draining)
2. Fry the red onions for 5-10 minutes until softened, adding the spring onions in too for the last few minutes. Then add the quinoa and puy lentils sachet, adding a generous splash of boiling water, the chicken stock cube, tomato puree and dried apricots. (If not using the sachet, add the quinoa and puy lentils at this stage too, stirring the tomato puree through with a small splash of boiling water). Leave to simmer for around 3-5 minutes, then add the chicken.
3. Do a quick taste test, season to taste and add further cayenne pepper if it’s not quite spicy enough for you. Serve with chopped coriander.
And here you go!
I know it’s not the most colourful of dishes, but it really exceeded expectations with taste and it makes a great healthy lunch or dinner. It’s another keeper!
Keep a look out for my next recipe which I’ll post in the lead up to pancake day on 17th February, I’ll be trying out making the BEST pancakes I have ever had, which were made for me Canadian style on pancake day last year by my Canadian housemate Stephanie.