I was so excited to find this one because I know when it comes time to counsel gluten-free patients, it’s going to a be a bit of a challenge. So much of my diet is focused around wheat products for their rich nutrients, that I don’t really explore the gluten-free world. This recipe is a great spin on the classic that saves you some carbohydrate in place of extra protein. I just hope my Italian grandfather isn’t looking down from heaven ashamed of me for leaving out the pasta! This recipe is gluten free as long as you do not include the whole wheat breadcrumbs.
Although the above picture looks like a lot of cheese, it’s really only 1 cup total which is a reasonable portion divided by the six servings. It always gives me a good laugh when I see pins on pinterest that consist of a meal loaded with cheese with a few vegetables scattered underneath and the pin claims a “healthy meal.” Please be cautious when you see this! A meal with an abundant amount of cheese is a red flag to a false claim.
Baked Quinoa & Chicken Parmesan– very slightly adapted from Prevention RD
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 (14.5 oz) can low sodium tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Black pepper to taste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1.5 cups water
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup reduced fat (2%) mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
3 tbsp. whole wheat breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Clean and trim chicken, place on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.
- Increase oven heat to 375 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place rinsed quinoa and 1.5 cups water in a medium pot. Cover and bring pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked, about 15 minutes or as per package directions.
- To make the sauce, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the onion and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping off the bottom of the pan and cook 2-3 minutes until liquid is almost fully absorbed. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning and black pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil and simmer until rest of the meal is prepared.
- Once chicken and quinoa have finished cooking, add to sauce pan (turn heat off) and mix thoroughly. Place half of the mixture in the baking dish and top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Add other half of mixture and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, 1 oz parmesan, and 3 tbsp. whole wheat breadcrumbs.
- Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10 more minutes.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 336 calories, 9.5g fat, 32g carbohydrate (5g fiber), 30g protein