Quinoa Bowl with Chicken and Avocado Cream

Every grain bowl should have a successful balance of crunchiness, creaminess and bold flavor. In this Mexican-inspired bowl, the crunchy tortilla chips and roasted pepitas are nicely complemented by avocado cream and hearty quinoa. Make a big batch of quinoa and keep it frozen in re-sealable bags for up to 1 month; thaw and reheat as needed. Having a whole-grain arsenal in your freezer will help cut down on prep time.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 grain bowls (about 1 cup quinoa each)
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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups red quinoa

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped, plus 4 sprigs for garnish

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt

1 firm-ripe avocado, halved, pitted and cut into large chunks

1/4 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Juice of 1 lime, plus 1 lime, quartered

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 cup frozen fire-roasted corn, thawed

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat (from about 1/2 chicken; about 3/4 pound)

2 cups tortilla chips, crushed

1 cup store-bought or homemade black bean salsa

1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas

Directions

  1. Make the quinoa: Bring the quinoa and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until the quinoa is tender (the little tails will pop out) and most of the water is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes Drain off any excess water. Stir in the chopped cilantro, scallions, oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The quinoa can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days. Microwave just enough to take the chill off, about 2 minutes, stirring about halfway through.)
  2. Make the avocado cream: While the quinoa cooks, process or blend the avocado, sour cream, Parmesan, lime juice, 1 tablespoon water, cayenne and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.
  3. If the corn still has a chill, microwave it for about 1 minute.
  4. Build the bowls: Divide the quinoa evenly among 4 bowls. Top each with neat piles and/or rows of chicken, tortilla chips, corn, salsa and pepitas. Top with some sauce, a sprig of cilantro and a lime quarter.

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