wherein I make awesome foods: buffalo chicken quinoa

20 October 2011

I went a little crazy buying groceries last night. I’ve missed cooking and well, as mentioned, I’m trying to make my mircowave and (beloved) toaster oven less the means in which I prepare my meals. Cutting back on french fries, chicken nuggets, and frozen pizzas. I’m also trying to cut back on going out for lunch—I’ve been good lately, but there’s a new* restaurant near by called Protein Bar. All the food items are quinoa based. (They also do smoothies, but the quinoa is amazing.)

So. Instead of being tempted to spend $7 every day on a bowl full of healthy-tasty goodness… I decided I’d make my own at home.

I heard rumors that quinoa—pronounced keen-wah—was tricky to prepare. But after a little research and my own experience, it’s not that hard. Sure, a little bit of mine got brown on the bottom, but it wasn’t enough to actually notice a difference. And because I really liked how it turned out… I’m going to share my recipe with you.


Buffalo Chicken Quinoa
makes about 2 servings, or 1 if you’re really hungry

Ingredients (adjust to your taste):

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 7/8 cup chicken broth/stock or water
  • 1 large can of chicken breast (yes, you can use non-canned. I’m lazy/dislike handling chicken)
  • cheddar or cheddar-blend shredded cheese
  • buffalo sauce
  • shredded carrots
  • crumbled bleu cheese
  • a few thinly sliced cucumbers

To prepare:

  1. Start the quinoa first. You can do it on the stove, but I prefer my rice cooker. With the rice cooker, treat it like you would white rice with a 1:2 ration of rice:liquid. I read somewhere it turns out better if you use slightly less than 2-parts liquid, hence why I used 7/8 cup of liquid in my own. Turn it on and let it cook. (If you’re using the stove, just be sure to read the instructions on your quinoa package… most say ~15 minutes on the stove top…)
  2. Once the quinoa is done/almost done… let it keep warm and work on your chicken stuff. Combine the chicken, buffalo sauce and cheddar cheese and heat.
  3. Serve your quinoa into a bowl, then cover with the chicken mixture. (Obviously if you’re doing two servings take half of each.) The top with your bleu cheese and cucumbers.
  4. NOM.

It’s that simple. I don’t remember which brand of buffalo sauce I used, but if you’re really curious just ask and I’ll check my fridge. I’m all for tasty, yet half-assed meals. So as I get back to cooking, I’ll try to share more of my successful recipes. And hopefully I’ll remember to take more/better pictures of the process.

*Okay, by “new” I mean it’s been there for months or more… we’re still obsessed with it nonetheless.

  • Thanks for the recipe and the tip about Protein Bar. I think I’ll go and check out the place first and sample their food before I try to cook a quinoa based dinner. Hopefully, it will be worth the trouble.

  • Kirsten

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I’m at Protein Bar more than I’d care to admit and the Buffalo Chicken Bowl is my favorite! I’ve wanted to learn the recipe and can’t wait to try yours! Have you tried freezing a batch at all? I have a feeling it wouldn’t taste so great after being thawed… Thanks again!!

    • Erini

      I haven’t frozen any yet, but I do know that the leftovers I’ve had haven’t been too bad. Helps to have the hot sauce at home so I can add more if needed. I definitely would recommend storing it without the cheese on it. I don’t think it’d reheat well–though I know you can freeze cheese, just keep it separate from the dish. 🙂

      Glad you liked it! This is one of my favs too!

  • Aly

    SO GLAD I FOUND YOU! lol I actually googled “buffalo chicken quinoa recipes” because I wanted to duplice the Protein Bar dish! It’s hard coughin up those 7 bucks for that tiny bowl. Thanks for sharing your creation. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Susan Flanagan

    You rock! I too fell in love with the Protein Bar’s Buffalo Bowl and I don’t normally like Quinoa. Living in Texas, The Protein Bar is nowhere near us so I am thrilled that you figured this out. Now…if we can just figure out all the other stuff they make…

    • Erini

      I’m definitely going to work on it! Hard part is they make so much in house it’s hard to replicate everything. But we can come close!

  • Hey Erini, great post. I also love the buffalo bowl and normally I don’t like quinoa. Since I liked it so much and it’s healthy, I was going to try and make it myself. I heard that quinoa is blended. Did your consistency taste the same as the restaurant? I can’t wait to give this a try.

    • Erini

      It’s not exactly the same. They make their own buffalo sauce. And I know they added a bit more veggies now. So it’s shredded carrots, celery, and cucumber I believe.

      But the best part is, you can experiment with it and really build a dish you love!

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