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. 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.

  2. 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!!!

    • 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:

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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!


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