Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Skillet

Ooey, gooey melted cheese tops this smothered chicken and quinoa skillet, inspired by pollo fundido.

smothered chicken quinoa skillet recipe

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. I’m pretty impressed with how everything came out.
smothered chicken 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 quinoa skillet recipe

Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Skillet

Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Skillet

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 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

Amount Per Serving Calories 495Total Fat 15.8gFiber 11gProtein 42g

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Disclosure: I was paid to develop this recipe as part of the Tabasco 10-Ingredient Challenge. 

By on October 12th, 2013

About Lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren! I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook.

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25 thoughts on “Smothered Chicken and Quinoa Skillet”

  1. Sorry to say but this was one of the worst recipes I’ve ever tried. Because you leave the chicken in the entire time, it gets way overcooked. There is no seasoning so the flavor profile is entirely off. Coming from someone who loves spices food, quinoa and chicken, and who has made countless other similar style recipes that turned out amazing, this was a huge disappointment. I ate it but had to make something else for the rest of my family. Please don’t waste your time with this one. Sorry 🙁

    • I’m sorry you didn’t like it. It’s not as flavorful as most of my recipes since it was made for a challenge where I had to use limited ingredients, but it’s still one of my favorites. I know a lot of other people love it too.

  2. This turned out so great. I used ORZO ( same amount as Quinoa ) instead because I didn’t have any Quinoa and cut chicken down to 3/4 pound. Delicious. Cooked according to time stated in recipe and it was perfect. Next time I might play around with some added seasoning. The servings are generous so wished I had invited some guests for dinner. A perfect healthy meal with a side salad. Very easy.

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

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

    Thank You

  5. 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.

  6. Hello:
    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?

    • 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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?


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