Gluten Free Quinoa con Pollo

by Carol Kicinski on April 21, 2016

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The first recollection I have of Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice) was from watching reruns of the I love Lucy show. It’s the one where Lucy is trying to tell her non-English speaking mother-in-law what they are having for dinner. Lucy acts out being a chicken and does a pantomime to explain rice that would surely be considered very politically incorrect, but is hilarious.

Arroz con Pollo is a traditional Spanish and Latin American dish and there are probably as many variations of it as there are grandmas in Spain or all the countries of Latin America.

I love one skillet dinners where all you really need to add to make a complete meal is maybe a salad. OK, maybe dessert too. And Arroz con Pollo is one of my favorites. But I decided to give it a healthier spin and sub out the rice for quinoa.

Quinoa con Pollo makes perfect sense if you think about it. Quinoa is from the Andean region of South America and has been an important grain (actually it’s a seed, not a grain, but that’s a debate for another time) for centuries. So the idea of quinoa and chicken being cooked together actually makes a lot more sense than rice, which, while now grown almost everywhere, was originally grown in Asia.

This is my version of Quinoa con Pollo featuring Ancient Harvest quinoa. I don’t have a Spanish or Latin American grandma that passed on the recipe to me but I can say this – Cristina, a gal who works for me and is from Puerto Rico, walked into the house while it was cooking and said it smelled like home! And then she ate some and gave me a big thumbs up.


Gluten Free Quinoa con Pollo


6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
Kosher or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups Ancient Harvest Traditional or Tri Color quinoa
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups gluten free chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 cups (10 ounces) frozen peas
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves


Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

Add the onion, peppers, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the quinoa, turmeric, and red pepper flakes and stir to coat. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, add the chicken back to the pan, stir well, cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked, the liquid absorbed, and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the peas and cilantro, cover the pan and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


A gluten free recipe that serves 6.

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Categories:    Main Dishes

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nancy April 23, 2016 at 7:04 pm

This sounds wonderful! We happen to be traveling in Ecuador now, and happily quinoa has been available many places, making a great gluten free option for me.


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