a summer staple.

My heart, my home and my fridge have been taken over by the perky little grain called quinoa.

I eat it for breakfast.  I eat it for lunch.  It’s the side dish to my salmon.  The quick and easy main course when I’m too tired to think.  Yes.  Quinoa is my go-to staple.  Quicker than brown rice, more satisfying than couscous and chock full of protein to boot.

One of my favorite aspects of quinoa is the way it soaks up saucey things.

Inside the little hollows of their belly—in between those squirly little life rafts—they will eagerly grasp on to any rich or delicate sauce that they come in contact with.  And so, in that way, quinoa is the perfect vesicle for serving the summer stir fry.

Aside from chopping and dicing, this stir fry is as easy as they come.  So you can sit back on your porch with the sun on your face and a full day of work behind you.  Time to relax.  And breathe.  And enjoy the simpler things of summer.

Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry—adapted from the recipe as seen on EatingWell.com

Turn this summery fare into a vegetarian dish by replacing the chicken broth with veggie and either nixing the chicken or replacing it with tofu, tempeh and/or a sprinkle of peanuts.

I added extra veggies than what the recipe called for (i.e., summer squash!)  The vegetables can be changed to anything that you might have on hand.

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1-2 medium summer squash and/or zucchini
  • 1 cup diagonally sliced carrots (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 2 cups snow peas (6 oz), stems and strings removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts divided
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  1. Grate 1 tsp lemon zest and set aside.  Juice the lemon and whisk 3 Tbsp. of the juice with broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate with tongs.  Add mushrooms, summer squash/zucchini and carrots to the pan and cook until the carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add snow peas, scallion whites, garlic and the reserved lemon zest.  Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds.  Whisk the broth mixture and add to the pan; cook, stirring, until thickened, 2-3 minutes.  Add scallion greens and the chicken and any accumulated juices; cook, stirring until heated through, 1-2 minutes.  Enjoy!
QUESTION: Have you ever tried quinoa?  What is your favorite way to eat it?

8 comments on “a summer staple.

  1. I like quinoa! I need to cook it more often. So far, I really like it with veggies, kind of like what you did here. I made it like this – http://thecookinglife.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/recipe-stir-fried-quinoa-with-vegetables/

  2. Yummmmmmm – so summery and fresh.

  3. I don’t know why I haven’t tried quinoa yet, but I need to head out and get some. This lemon chicken stir fry just looks amazing. I LOVE the Green pepper and squash in this dish. I think I will try this out 🙂

  4. Nicole says:

    Ooh, Ooh, OOh, that stir-fry looks SO good, and I’m going to try it! As for quinoa, I’ve never tried it… Kind of want to now though, since the hubby and I have eaten more than our share of rice and couscous. Time to give another grain a chance. 🙂

  5. YES, I adore quinoa! You’re right – it’s the perfect little grain for soaking up sauces and flavours.

    Dinners outside at the end of a long day are so lovely.

  6. BroccoliHut says:

    Love the picture in the grass!!
    I love quinoa in a quinoa-black bean salad with cilantro, tomato, and avocado.

  7. Emily says:

    I love quinoa! Just made an awesome quinoa bowl! Black beans, pepperjack cheese, hot sauce salsa, and kale. So good!!

  8. emily says:

    quinoa is one of my staples, too.
    so are stir fried veggies or grilled veggies in the summer!

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