Mexican quinoa is the star of this meal prep – cooked with fire roasted tomatoes, jalapeno and portioned with juicy chicken breasts over greens to make the Mexican Quinoa Chicken Salad Lunch Bowls.
Alright, I’m back from jury duty. It was probably one of the more enlightening and boring things I’ve done. I decided not to post during my three day service for a couple reasons.
First, my brain was full up of random trial tidbits all week. Of course, any trial related discussion is totally off limits until the trial is over, but it was all I could think about.
Second, I wanted to show off my meal prep for the week and be able to reference the jury duty service without any worries. So, now that it’s over, I’d like to share the Mexican Quinoa Chicken Salad Lunch Bowls I made for the week of jury duty.
Obviously, I didn’t know how long jury duty would last, or even if I would be selected for a trial. But more obvious than that, I was prepared with lunches.
Inspiration for the Mexican Quinoa Chicken Salad Lunch Bowls
I recently made One Pan Mexican Quinoa from Damn Delicious as a side for Christmas dinner, and it was a hit. It was not only fresh and creative, but a change of pace from my always perfect quinoa in a rice cooker method.
With black beans, jalapeño kick, fire-roasted tomatoes, plus the perfect seasonings, it’s quite the healthy side dish. After that, I planned for multiple weeks to make the dish into a lunch-with-other-stuff meal. Aaaaand, drum roll – here it is: Mexican Quinoa Chicken Salad Lunch Bowls.
How do you make the Mexican Quinoa Chicken Salad Lunch Bowls?
For this lunch prep, I started with the chicken. Place three large chicken breasts on a lined sheet pan. Coat each side with avocado oil, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and smoke seasoning (the Trader Joe’s kind – smoked paprika will sub).
Start with 25 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees. Check the temp (always), and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. When it was done, I cubed the chicken and mixed it together when it was done.
While the chicken is cooking, work on the quinoa. I truly loved the Damn Delicious version, but I can’t really help but make it my own. Since I’m not huge into corn, it was omitted. I also tripled the jalapeños (yep). The lime juice was omitted so the quinoa didn’t get too soggy. The cilantro was omitted so it wouldn’t get too wilty. Simmer away, my sweet quinoa.
I adapted this recipe a little bit for my taste and cooked it in my instant pot…so good!!!! By far the best quinoa that I have ever made.
– Sarah, from comments
For the final product, arrange your chicken, quinoa, and favorite greens into your storage bowls. Sprinkle with cheese if you desire (lots of my desires involve cheese). DONE WITH PREP.
Optional: Add diced avocado day of planned eating. Optional: Add anything you want to these super versatile bowls. And there you go. You can also opt for no greens for reheating purposes, or keep them separate. Get prepping!
More meal prep lunches from Project Meal Plan:
- Meal Prep Ginger Ground Beef Bowls
- English Muffin Mini Pizza Meal Prep
- Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep
My meal prep this week consisting of mexi-quinoa and baked chicken breast over greens!
For the chicken:
- 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon TJs smoke seasoning (smoked paprika will sub)
For the quinoa:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or avocado oil)
- 3–4 large jalapeños, diced, stem and seeds removed
- 1/4 white onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup dry white quinoa
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- your favorite greens
- shredded cheese
- other salad toppings you like
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place chicken breasts on a foil lined sheet pan. Coat each side with avocado oil, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and smoke seasoning, remembering to only put half of the noted amount on each side.
- Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Check the temperature after that time, and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
- While the chicken is cooking, begin working on the quinoa dish. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the jalapeños and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Next, add quinoa, chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pan. Stir to mix all ingredients completely.
- Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and let it simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is fully cooked.
- When both components have finished cooking, let everything cool for at least 5 minutes. Next, arrange your chicken, quinoa, and favorite greens into airtight storage bowls. You can also pre-mix everything together. Top with shredded cheese or other salad toppings.
- Add avocado the morning before eating. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 4 days.
Depending on how much quinoa you prefer, there might be some extra quinoa left from this batch. The original recipe is meant to serve 4-6.
Recipe adapted from One Pan Mexican Quinoa by Damn Delicious.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 538
- Sugar: 6.3g
- Fat: 9.4g
- Carbohydrates: 54.8g
- Fiber: 11.1g
- Protein: 56.4g