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Grilled Chicken with Yellow Quinoa + Cucumber Tomato Salad

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

This meal is one of Chef Alison’s long time client’s favorite chicken meals. The warming combination of spices smells amazing and kids love the color. Don’t panic if the ingredient list looks long, it’s heavy on dried spices that you probably have on hand!


  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 18 teaspoon Cinnamon (or use ground clove if you have that on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 112 pounds Chicken Thighs, Boneless/Skinless
  • 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
  • 212 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
  • 114 cups Quinoa
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
  • 12 teaspoon White Sugar
  • 2 Roma Tomatos (or cherry tomatoes, halved)
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 14 bunch Cilantro (fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha (or hot sauce of your choice, optional)

Cooking Instructions


    In a small bowl, stir together the ground spices: paprika, cumin, cinnamon, dried oregano, turmeric.

  • 3. CHICKEN

    Cut the thighs in half and place in a medium bowl (if using breast meat, cut into 3-5 pieces each, especially if they’re very large or thick).

    Zest about ½ of the lemon over the chicken, then zest the rest into another small bowl. Juice the lemon in the same way – ½ over the chicken and the other ½ into the small bowl.

    Add all but 1 teaspoon of the spice blend to the chicken.

    Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the chicken and drizzle it with olive oil. Turn to coat the chicken evenly with the spices. Set aside to use in a few minutes, or cover and marinate for up to 2 days.

  • 4. QUINOA

    In a medium pot with a lid, combine the quinoa, water, and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the reserved teaspoon of spice blend. Bring to a boil over high heat, then stir well and reduce to medium-low. Cover partially with the lid. Continue simmering for about 14 minutes, stirring once or twice. Then, when the water is mostly evaporated below the line of the grains, stir and cover. Steam for another 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let sit as long as you need.


    Place the chicken on a lined baking sheet in one layer. Place in the top third of the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until mostly cooked through and starting to sizzle. Then turn the oven to broil and cook for another 2-3 minutes, keeping a close eye on it, so chicken blisters and chars just a bit. If it’s not cooked through, turn back to 425 degrees and cook until it’s done, another 4-6 minutes or so.


    Measure the yogurt and mayo into the bowl with the lemon zest and juice. Stir well to combine. Season with a pinch of salt.

  • 7. SALAD

    In a medium bowl combine the cider vinegar, sugar, and a final pinch of salt. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the remaining olive oil. Slice the tomatoes into wedges and the cucumber into rounds. Add to the dressing. Coarsely tear or chop the cilantro and add that too. Toss to coat with the dressing.

  • 8. SERVING

    Serve the chicken as is, or chop it into pieces for a rustic grill platter feel. Serve with yellow quinoa and salad on the side. Top generously with white sauce and hot sauce to taste.

Check out our new features!


    use your favorite nut based yogurt and vegan mayo for the sauce
  • PALEO:
    omit white sauce and cook cauliflower rice with the spices to make yellow cauli-rice
    skin on or drumsticks are great, or breast meat if you prefer. Adjust cooking time accordingly
  • MAYO:
    you can use only yogurt if you prefer, or use a scoop of sour cream, too
    basil is nice, or parsley, even arugula would be a nice peppery bite here

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • This has been a hit with kids but consider cooking some chicken without the spices if you are concerned. Same goes for the quinoa. We sometimes steam broccoli or asparagus if they won’t eat tomatoes, but raw plain cucumbers are still a win. Kids may also be excited to make wraps in tortillas, naan or pita bread

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Make the quinoa
  2. Marinate the chicken for up to 2 days (optional but nice)
  3. Make the white sauce
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1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5 (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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