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Cinnamon Chicken Stew with Sweet Potato, Quinoa + Spinach

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Why we love it:

A chef friend turned us on to the classic combination of cinnamon stewed with chicken recently and we’ve been craving it’s homey warmth ever since. The sweet potato adds texture and sweetness and served over chewy quinoa, this dish is a super simple and beautiful meal. If you’re an InstantPot fan, check out the substitutions note for cooking it that way!


  • 1 pound Chicken Thighs, Boneless/Skinless (use breast meat if you prefer)
  • 12 Yellow Onion (small dice)
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided, possibly more to taste)
  • 14 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 14 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 12 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 12 pound Sweet Potato (garnet yam, about 1 large)
  • 1 15-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 12 pound Baby Spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (optional)
  • 1 Lemon (juiced)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. CHICKEN

    Chop the chicken into 1 inch pieces. Dice the onion into small pieces.

    Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot (do you have a Le Creuset or cast iron enamel pot? Use that!) over medium high heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the onion, chicken and ½ teaspoon of salt.

  • 2. SPICES

    Add the dried spices: thyme, garlic powder, cinnamon. Sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally so it cooks on all sides and letting it pick up a little bit of color.

  • 3. QUINOA

    While the spices cook, combine the quinoa, water and about ½ a teaspoon of salt in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and stir. Then, reduce the heat to low and partially cover. Return to stir it occasionally and cook for about 15 minutes total, covering for the last 5 minutes, then let it rest to steam off the heat for another 5 minutes before serving

  • 4. STOCK

    Add the stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape off any bits sticking to the bottom. Bring to a simmer while you prep the sweet potato.


    Peel and dice the sweet potato into ½ inch chunks. Add to the pot, along with the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes, returning occasionally to stir and you can gently mash the potatoes as they cook to get a thicker consistency.

  • 6. SPINACH

    While the stew cooks, wash the spinach. Add the spinach to the pot once the sweet potatoes are completely tender, after the 12 minute cooking time. If a little water clings to the leaves that is ok. Stir in with the butter and lemon juice (start with half of the lemon juice and add more to taste) until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat. Taste the stew - depending on your preferences, you may prefer a bit more salt.

  • 7. SERVING

    You can leave the chicken diced, as is, or use two forks to help shred the chicken in the stew.

    Plate a scoop of quinoa into a large shallow bowl and top with a spoonful of stew.

Check out our new features!


    simply omit butter
  • PALEO:
    leave out the tomatoes and add an extra ½ cup of water or stock. Consider increasing the chicken portion and serve over cauliflower rice or zoodles sautéed with butter and garlic
    start on sauté and follow the instructions and ingredients except reduce the stock to just 1 cup. When you add the broth, tomatoes and sweet potato, close the lid and cook on “stew” for 10 minutes. When it’s done, quick release, but then let it sit for another 5 before opening. Once opened, stir in the spinach, butter and lemon juice and serve!
    serve without any grain underneath or over steamed rice
  • STOCK:
    if you don’t have it, use water. If you have leftover, freeze it for another day!
    if your kids prefer things separate, leave the chicken in cubes so you can pluck them out of the stew, serve potatoes and quinoa separately. Consider adding broccoli to the stew or whichever vegetable your kids will eat (maybe peas, cauliflower, or even frozen corn or edamame)
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