Chicken Pesto Quinoa


My mom loves eating at a brunch/lunch chain called “First Watch”. They have a Chicken & Kale Pesto Quinoa bowl that she LOVES! I realize that’s a mouthful, but that mouth will be full of delicious pesto quinoa, soooo win/win?!

When I was visiting my family in STL my mom found a knockoff recipe and we gave it a try. It was a winner! It’s a super easy, fulfilling and nutritious lunch option. The special sauce is bomb and you can sub out chicken for salmon like it ain’t no thang. Make it ASAP!

Happy cooking, friends!

Chicken and Kale Quinoa Bowl

Cook 30 minutes ∙ Makes 4-5 people


Quinoa Bowl:

  • 2 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 jar sundried tomatoes, 8 oz
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cup baby kale (or regular kale with ribs removed and finely chopped)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

For Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoon prepared pesto
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat skillet with 1-2 TBSP olive oil, add chicken.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff lightly and set aside.
  3. While you pan fry the chicken, make the pesto dressing: Combine the yogurt and the following 5 ingredients in a blender or whisk in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. To assemble the quinoa bowl: Place the cooked quinoa in a large serving bowl. Add in the chopped chicken, sundried tomatoes, kale, carrots, and feta cheese. Gently fold in 2 tablespoons of the yogurt-pesto dressing making sure all of the ingredients are evenly coated.
  5. Serve in individual bowls. Transfer additional yogurt-pesto dressing to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Sam’s Tips:

  • Before cooking quinoa, the seeds should be rinsed to remove their bitter resin-like coating. Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Any kind of leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken can be used in this recipe saving you on step 1.
  • You can also use 1.5 lbs of salmon, cooking it at 350 for 15-20 minutes and flake with a fork. It’s a great alternative to chicken!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s