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Middle Eastern Quinoa with Chicken and Apricots


After my first experience with quinoa, I’ve kept my eye out for  other appealing recipes.

My husband wasn’t home the last time I made quinoa so I was interested to hear his feedback on this dish.  He really enjoyed the chicken but the quinoa did not go over as well.  He said he would have preferred this dish over rice.  I can’t say I disagreed with him.  The quinoa was dry and bitter, and my preparation was partly to blame.  Here is what I will do differently next time.  I am certain these small changes will add up to big improvements. 

  • Tsk tsk on me, I forgot to rinse the quinoa!  There are “saponins” on the outside of the quinoa which have a bitter taste.  Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer under cold water before cooking. 
  •  Cook quinoa in chicken, beef, or vegetable broth instead of water.  This will not only increase the moistness of the quinoa, but it will really bump up the flavor factor.
  • This dish did not call for a sauce so the quinoa was not only bitter (due to me forgetting to rinse it) but it was dry.  Next time I will build a sauce from the chutney and broth to pour over the quinoa.

I am not giving up on quinoa, folks!  The flavors of this dish were really delicious.  Just a few “tweaks” and I think it will be right on!  The chutney kept the chicken moist and sweet, while the sliced apricots added some wonderful texture.  The cilantro added a very lovely freshness.* 

If you use a gluten free chutney this meal is gluten free!

Middle Eastern Quinoa with Chicken and Apricots:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 2 tablespoons chutney (I used Major Grey’s)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6-8 dried apricots, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Side Note: These Sunsweet dried apricots are FANTASTIC.  They are so plump and soft.  They worked really well in this dish.


Prepared the quinoa according to the package.  (Don’t forget to rinse it before you cook it!)

While the quinoa is cooking, combine chicken, chutney, and mustard in a large bowl. Toss well to coat the chicken. 

Spray a large non-stick ridged grill pan with non-stick spray and set over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken mixture and cook, turning frequently until the chicken is cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large platter.  Top with chicken mixture, apricots, and cilantro.


*Did I mention that cilantro is growing on me?  I used to have the strongest aversion to it but I am slowly enjoying it more and more.  I didn’t think that was possible!

Adapted from The Gluten Free Cooking Expo’s Blog.


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