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Chicken + Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

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Meet Sa’idah—Hazl's nutrition BFF + lover of all things green, yummy and dessert related!

Inquisitive, passionate, reach-for-the-stars! A food enthusiast ever since she had her first taste of heaven in the form of chocolate. Her first experiment with baking + love for culinary arts was inspired by her mother, but was not quite the roaring success she imagined. Rather than folding in the towel, she became more determined to get it right and understand the science behind baking. This passion of hers followed her through high school, and she remained steadfast on the food path, all the way to a Culinary Arts University in the United States of America pursuing a degree in Culinary Nutrition. She inspires to aspire as she incorporates nutrition into her pastries as much as she possibly can! This would be her service to humankind: to allow everyone to be able to enjoy their desserts without the feeling of guilt or anxiety of "bad eating".

said

From the moment I nudged Sa'idah (mind you, it was the first day of classes junior year) to ask her what the words were that our Anatomy teacher had written on the board (yes, I am nearsighted + chose to sit in the second to last row—YOLO) I knew she was going to be a F O R E V E R friend! She has this sweet air about her and is always willing to help + share her perfected written notes when I cannot quite see the board. Ps, did I mention Sa'idah is from Malaysia? Well, she is. And that's only one of the awesome things about her. Our friendship flourished over all things nutrition and our love to learn more and more within out field. Sa'idah has the kindest heart and most funny sense of humor + she is one of a kind and I could not be luckier to have her as my happy little nutrition BFF.

Fast forward two years later after graduation, Sa'idah is back home in Malaysia and I'm in the states and we're collaborating on nutrition dishes every so often to share with YOU all. Here's our first quick pick:

Chicken + Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

Before I even begin, I must admit that this recipe appealed to me because of how easy + super nutritious it is. I’ve always felt like I would have to sacrifice either time or flavor (or both) in order to eat or snack healthy. I promise you that if you do your mise en place (this is a French term meaning: “putting everything in its place” which in the culinary world translated to measuring out and doing all the chopping, slicing + dicing B E F O R E you begin to cook) this recipe will take you no time at all.

Ultimately, the B E S T part about this recipe is that you can repurpose ANY sort of chicken leftovers (or chickpeas OR guacamole leftovers) that you have on hand from a previous dinner or lunch A N D turn it into a quick yummy snack or even make it into lunch! Just so we’re clear, I am ALL about repurposing leftovers because let's be real, waste not want not. There's a l w a y s something to do with leftovers . . . you just have to tap into your creativity and reinvent your dish! Not only are you getting quality protein from all three primary ingredients: chicken, chickpeas and quinoa, but you are also consuming healthy fats (mostly monounsaturated fats, which are the best kind!)

But for now, let’s get c o o k i n g + this recipe serves 4-6, so invite some friends over and have at it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Boneless Chicken Breast
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Flakes (optional)
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp Lemon Juice
  • ½ cup Quinoa (uncooked, rinsed well)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 1 large Red Pepper, diced
  • 1 Canned Chickpeas , drained, rinsed
  • 1 Ripe Avocado, cubed
  • 1-2 heads of Butterhead Lettuce, rinsed (or any lettuce of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Toppings: (optional)

  • Low Fat Plain Yogurt or Greek Yogurt
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Feta Cheese (crumbled)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit + gather your ingredients. Season your chicken breast as it is—absolutely NO cutting required, woo!—with salt, black pepper, chilli flakes and olive oil on a baking tray.
  2. In a preheated sauté pan, add olive oil and cook chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides and return the seared chicken onto the baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the chicken is cooked, using two forks, shred the chicken breast as finely as possible. Refresh the chicken with the lemon juice!
  3. Using the same pan, sauté the garlic. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and black pepper for 2-3 minutes—by not washing your pan, not only are you saving time, energy and water, but you are increasing the flavor of your mushrooms that is coming from the searing of the chicken—add the red pepper into the mushroom pan and cook for 2 minutes + transfer into a mixing bowl.
  4. Rinse your quinoa and transfer it into the same sauté pan used for the mushrooms. Saute the quinoa for 1-2 minutes—optional, but I think it gives the quinoa more character because now we’re incorporating the juices from the chicken and mushrooms + his process also helps in evaporating the excess water in the quinoa—add 1 cup of water onto the pan. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until quinoa is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Once it’s cooked, drain the excess water and return to the pan. Let it rest for another 5 minutes covered. Fluff with fork!
  5. In a big bowl, combine the shredded chicken, quinoa, and mushroom and red peppers mixture. Add balsamic vinegar into the bowl and season with salt and pepper if needed. Lastly, add the cubed avocados into the bowl and mix well.
  6. To assemble, scoop a hefty amount of chicken and quinoa goodness onto the rinsed lettuce. Add 1 tsp of yogurt on top, sprinkle some cayenne pepper and you have yourself beautiful nutritious wraps to enjoy!

Side note: DO NOT limit yourself to the spices or flavor profile above! This recipe is made in such a way to allow e v e r y o n e with different flavor preferences to be able to enjoy E X A C T L Y what they love. Go Asian, Indian, Moroccan, any way you feel like but keeping in mind of the ingredients that you’re using in terms of nutrition!

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Happy trying and please do let us know what you guys think!

xo4always,

Hazl + Sa'idah