Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Skillet

Ooey, gooey melted cheese tops this smothered chicken and quinoa skillet, based loosely on pollo fundido.

smothered chicken and quinoa skillet-4  smothered chicken and quinoa skillet |

We’re currently halfway through the Tabasco Challenge, and I hope everyone is enjoying these recipes as much as I am.

I was determined to not end up with five recipes that more or less tasted the same; having such a limited list of ingredients to work with really forced me to play with different grains and greens in order to come up with unique flavors and I’m pretty impressed with how everything came out. The other challenge participants have also been coming up with some incredible creations, so if you haven’t had enough spice yet I’d definitely encourage you to check them out:

All Day I Dream About Food
Eat Good 4 Life
Handle the Heat
How To: Simplify
Modern Day Moms
Shockingly Delicious
Table for Two
What’s Gaby Cooking

smothered chicken and quinoa skillet |

Although this smothered chicken and quinoa skillet follows as similar format (chicken+whole grain+tomato+Tabasco) to the chicken and faro that I posted the other day, the two dishes taste completely different. Where the farro recipe has a rustic Italian feel, this cheesy chicken dish is full-on Mexican. I actually based it loosely on my recipe for pollo fundido, adding quinoa to bulk it up and make it seem like more of a complete meal. While you could certainly scoop this up with tortilla chips, it absolutely isn’t necessary.

Like the other recipes I’ve posted so far, it’s also really easy – perfect for a weeknight after work (even a Monday!)

smothered chicken and quinoa skillet |


4.8 from 8 reviews
Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Skillet
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 12 ounces chopped tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco® original red sauce
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • Optional: Scallions for garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a large, seep sided skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned – 7-8 minutes. Add the onion and cook until just softened – 4-5 minutes. Pour in the beans, tomatoes, water and Tabasco; bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa; cook 15 minutes or until quinoa is cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated (it should look thick and saucy).
  2. Spread an even layer of cheddar cheese over the top of the skillet. Melt cheese under the broiler for 5-8 minutes or until bubbly and beginning to brown. Garnish with scallions, if desired.
  3. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 495 Fat: 15.8 Carbohydrates: 45 Fiber: 11 Protein: 42

Disclosure: I received monetary compensation to develop recipes as part of the Tabasco 10-Ingredient Challenge. 



  1. Julie @ Table for Two says:

    It was definitely a challenge to get such similar dishes to taste different and not just all Tabasco sauce. I think you did a really creative and great job with the two you’ve made so far! I love the idea of this skillet, it looks so comforting and kind of like a chicken casserole dish! Love it!

  2. I can’t decide which one to try first- this or the farro/burst tomatoes dish!!

  3. Kate | Food Babbles says:

    This dish looks amazing! I can’t wait to taste it. I’m adding this to my meal plan for the coming week.

  4. Yes it does look amazing! Thanks for linking up with Saturday Dishes!!
    Diane Roark

  5. Made this tonight and my hubby loved it. I wasn’t sure about the amount of onion though. You did one of my pet peeves and instead of giving an amount, you just said a small onion. Around here, a small onion can vary from the size of a softball (1015’s) to as small as the diameter of a fifty-cent piece (noon day’s). There are usually anywhere from 2-5 varieties of yellow onions at the store depending on the time of year. I used 1/2 of a small candy which was about 2/3 of a cup. I also used the chipotle tabasco as neither my hubby or myself can stand the original tabasco. Also I wasn’t sure what size can of black beans so I went with the 20 oz. And I ended up using queso panela because when I went to get the cheddar out of the fridge, I found out my hubby taken the whole block to work for his lunches,lol. Next time I’ll try it with cheddar even if I have to hide it from my hubby,lol! All in all though it is an excellent recipe and very forgiving of being tweaked.

    • Hi Donna – I’m glad that you liked it. It sounds like it would be delicious with the Chipotle Tabasco! That’s one of my favorites, but I was only allowed to use the original red one for the challenge.

      I get what you’re saying about the onion. I didn’t include a volume measurement since the recipe is forgiving – a little more or a little less won’t hurt and, in my opinion, it’s kind of a pain to measure out onions unless you absolutely have to (plus the amount will still vary depending on how large or small people chop it). I’ll keep your comments in mind for the future though!

      As for the beans, that was an oversight on my part. I used a 15.5 ounce can, but it’s good to know that it still works will a little extra. I’ll update the recipe to include the can size as soon as I have a change.

      Thanks for reading and providing your feedback – it’s always helpful to hear what works/doesn’t work for people!

  6. I prepare customized meal plans for my customers. As you can imagine, this can be a challenge, with so many people with food allergies in this day and age. I love the simplicity of this recipe along with the ease of preperation. 30 minutes from start to table. This also converts well to next day lunch leftovers. Fits perfectly into my nutrition program.

  7. Hi! I made this last night and it was wonderful. I did have to keep adding water to the skillet to get all the quinoa to cook; so much of the quinoa stuck to the chicken when I dumped it into the pan. But next time, I think I could fix that by adding the uncooked quinoa to the bowl where I mixed in the beans, tomatoes, and water.

    Did you really use cheddar for the topping? In your photos, the cheese looks so pale. At any rate, the cheddar was perfect! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Lauren Keating says:

      Hi Ashley! I’m so glad you liked it. That’s interesting about the water… I’m wondering if the amount needed might vary depending on what size pan you use (that makes sense to me, since the same amount in a larger pan wouldn’t come up as high. It never occurred to me when I was making it though!)

      Yup, I used cheddar in the photos. I’m pretty sure it was this one, which doesn’t have the yellow/orange coloring added to it:

  8. The quinoa did not cook in 15 mins. It never got all the way done. Next time I will cook the quinoa separately and then add it to the skillet.

  9. Does it matter if you cover the skillet or not after adding the quinoa? Also, do you keep it boiling for 15 minutes or simmer?

  10. This was DELICIOUS! I would recommend boiling the quinoa for 15 minutes before pouring it in the pan with the chicken and veggies. Added cilantro, garlic powder and lime juice and it turned out to be mmm mmm good!! I don’t usually post reviews, but this recipe was so easy and good that it deserved one. Also, i would simmer on low heat so that you don’t cook out the tomato or tomato juice. I used half the tomato can and saved the juice for when the dish was almost ready then used the other half of the can and poured the juice on top to let it simmer for about 5 minutes. best dish eva

  11. Julie Rinearson says:

    Fabulous! I am making it for the third time. :)

  12. Jeadene Solberg says:

    I just came across this recipe and wanted your opinion. I want to try a dish similar to this but want to add mushrooms and maybe a garlic sauce or mushroom sauce instead of tomatoes? What are your thoughts and how much should I add? My family is tired of the tomato items I am making and just trying to do something different? Maybe add onions too?

    • Lauren Keating says:

      Oooh, that sounds like a tasty idea! I’d probably add about 4 cups of sauce. You’ll need at least 3 cups to act as the “cooking liquid” for the quinoa, plus a little extra to make it saucy.

  13. Angela Ruth says:

    Just made this. EXCELLENT. Just needed to cook quinoa longer for some crazy reason. Maybe, like you say, it was the pan I was using. Next time, I’m going to use a different pan — maybe this one too deep and wok like. In any case, thanks much for this. We love it.

  14. I love this, I added 1 small can mild diced green chilies – Awesome – will definitely make again and again

  15. Love this recipe, I added 1 small can diced green chilies – gives awesome flavor without added heat.

    Thank You

  16. Love this recipe I added 1 small can mild diced green chilies, added lots of flavor and no added heat.


  1. […] Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Skillet: Based on pollo fundido, this is already a fan favorite. I’ll be adding this one into our […]

  2. […] Photos from me, Kiersten at Oh My Veggies, and Lauren at Healthy. Delicious. […]

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