Quinoa Chicken Parmesan — Damn Delicious

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Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

With an amazingly crisp quinoa crust, you’ll never guess that this is actually so healthy and packed with tons of protein!

I had a random craving for chicken parmesan the other night so I set out to the kitchen to whip up my favorite baked chicken parmesan recipe. But I quickly realized that I was out of breadcrumbs, so I took a risk and tried out a quinoa crust instead – and boy, was I in for a treat.

I was definitely a bit skeptical about the use of quinoa but it worked out so well. With a simple flour-egg-quinoa prep, the quinoa is baked to a wonderful crispness right in the oven. And when you slather on that melted mozzarella and marinara sauce, you’ll completely forget that this is actually completely healthy and nutritious!

Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

With an amazingly crisp quinoa crust, you’ll never guess that this is actually so healthy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise in half
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, homemade or storebought
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large saucepan of 1 1/2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions. Stir in Italian seasoning.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in quinoa mixture, pressing to coat.
  5. Place chicken onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with cheeses and marinara. Place into oven and bake until cheeses have melted, about 5 more minutes.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with basil, if desired.

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95 comments

What a great idea! I love the idea of using quinoa instead of like Panko and great to know it gets crispy! So clever!

This both looks and sounds absolutely divine! I love the combination 😀 I made a big batch of spiced quinoa yesterday, soooo tasty, having leftovers for lunch today, yum! I hope you are having a great week so far! x

I am in luuuurrrvee with this chicken recipe! I love me some chicken parm (who doesn’t) and I have been wanting to make some sort of quinoa recipe, that isn’t a side dish. You NAILED IT! Pinned 🙂

I love your blog and think you are a creative cook. I’ve tried your recipes, and they are good

very!
Question, when I bake chicken, it never gets crispy. Always a bit soggy. Would you tell me a few do’s and don’ts’s–such as, oven rack positions, techniques, and equipment? Thanks!

Kolene, I recommend using the middle rack when baking, and rotating the pans midway of cooking time. It is also helpful to bake the chicken on top of a cooling rack, which allows more air to circulate and crisp up the chicken.

Okay, I admit, I’ve been a little skeptical when hearing of the myriad of ways people are using quinoa, but this looks ridiculously delicious!! Given quinoa’s soft, fluffy texture when cooked by itself, I wouldn’t have thought it could end up being a crispy coating, but I stand corrected – I’ll definitely have to give this a try!

I never would have thought to use quinoa instead of breadcrumbs! I’ll definitely be trying this!

A little different. Sounds healthy. Thanks so much.

Looks wonderful. I would sub in corn flour to make it gluten free!

Was just wondering what I can use to make it wheat and gluten free. Forgot about cornflour. Thank you

Wonderful, wonderful idea!

Sounds deeeelish! Can’t wait to to try!

That quinoa crust is brilliant!

I’ve been wanting to try quinoa as a breading! Looks so good!

Love this idea! I know what I’m making for my boyfriend next time I have a craving for a veggie quinoa salad 🙂

I just made this last night and it was delicious! The quinoa was perfect for that crisp outside. Thanks so much for the recipe, I will definitely make this again!

Looks delicious! This might be a stupid question…but is the quinoa cooked or raw when making this?

Not a stupid question at all! The first step of the recipe is to cook the raw quinoa. From there, you can go ahead and dredge the chicken.

Haha, I didn’t even notice that! Thank you so much. What a doofus! 🙂

By the way, I LOVE your site. I’m getting married this December and this is the perfect place for me to find easy, healthy, diesel-mechanic-friendly recipes! Keep up the good work!

I have tried several quinoa recipes but have not been thrilled. This looks like the delicious comfort food I love though so I’m willing to give it a try!

This is revolutionary. I think I’m just going to roll everything in quinoa and see how it turns out. It seems to be quite the miracle! This dish looks amazing.
Pinning!

The quinoa in here sounds so good. Love it.

I tried this recipe last night, and let me tell you i was shocked that this actually tasted good. I accidently purchased quinoa with brown rice in it, thinking it would mess up the whole recipe, it didnt. I looooove parmesan chicken and i am very happy to have found a healthier and good version of this fantastic dish. Thank you Thank you.

Also i tried your amazing orange chicken recipe as well, and let me tell you i will never order take orange chicekn again (unless I am to lazy to cook lol). Another excellent recipe.

I am DEFINITELY going to make this, I love quinoa and am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate it in my recipes. Thank you for the brilliant idea!

Tried this with Kirkland Pacific Cod and it turned out SO GOOD!

I asked my husband to scroll through my “recipe box” on Pinterest to find something he wanted for me to make. He blew past quinoa stir fry, buffalo quinoa balls, etc., and said THIS is a real recipe. (He didn’t notice the QUINOA). I can’t wait to try…my little secret!

We had this for dinner last night. It was delicious. It was also very filling. Thanks!

What a great substitute for breadcrumbs! I wouldn’t have thought of it myself!

This looks sooooooooooo good. Definitely trying soon 🙂 I’m glad you were out of breadcrumbs, lol.

Three words … you’re a genius!

What an amazing substitute for breadcrumbs … so bummed I didn’t think of it myself!

Can’t wait to make this recipe!

Made this for dinner last night…it was great!

What a great alternative! Love any chance I get to put a healthy spin on an already delicious dish. Thanks for sharing!

I’m planning on giving this a try, but had a question about cooking the quinoa. Your recipe says use 1 1/5 c water with the 1 c quinoa, but also says to follow package instructions (which say 2 c water for 1 c quinoa). Which way will work better? Does less water facilitate the crispy texture better?
Thanks! Can’t wait to try it!

I prefer to use less water for a recipe like this to get that nice crisp crust for the chicken.

This popped up on my pinterest feed and I’m so glad it did! I love crumbed chicken and finding a recipe that makes it healthier makes me so excited! And I love that you bake it rather than shallow or deep fry it. I’ll be making this for my husband in the very near future.

Great idea!
I actually cooked it my in the cast iron skillet with some evoo. I pounded the chicken out real thin too.

I just baked it for a minutes at the end to melt the cheese.

I had a hard time getting the quinoa to stick to the chicken. Any suggestions?

It is important that the chicken is well-coated in the eggs. That’s pretty much your “glue” for the quinoa!

Finally something new. This crisp quinoa crust looks sooo delicious. Great alternative for a great recipe.

I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. Great recipe!! Thanks for sharing.

I usually don’t like food blogs, but I keep stumbling across your recipes! Everything I’ve tried has come out great, so I’ll make these tonight! Thank you!

Does the quinoa need to be cooked?

Becky, please refer to the second step of the recipe:

In a large saucepan of 1 1/2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions. Stir in Italian seasoning.

This was my first attempt at cooking Quinoa….my chicken didn’t look like yours…it wasn’t as crisp but family loved it! Will definately make again…think I need to get use to cooking Quinoa, mine was a little mushy when it was cooked.

I’ve been checking out this recipe for months and have been wanting to make it. It was a huge success and my husband loved it! he had 2 helpings! I swapped out the regular flour for gluten free flour and it became a perfect way to eat baked chicken for me with my gluten sensitivities! 😀

I love this idea! This would be a great way to add protein to a dish like eggplant Parmesan!

Hey does anyone have any tips how to make the quinoa crust more crispy. When I made it the crust was a tad mushy.

When cooking the quinoa, you can try using less liquid so that it’s a bit on the dry side. That will help obtain a more crisp crust.

Thank you so much!!

Why is the chicken in all your pictures in a pan when it says to cook it in an oven? Why must you turn this website of recipes into a website of lies?

Chris, this pan here is used for photographic purposes. It isn’t even a real pan that can be cooked on the stovetop! But thanks for checking if I’m lying or not.

I found this on Pinterest & made it for dinner tonight. It was outstanding! Now, I’m off to peek at the rest of your recipes! 🙂

Can you substitute the flour for any other kind to make it gluten free? I want to make this for my grandma but she has celiac disease!

Yes, there are many gluten-free flours available.

I’m planning on making this for dinner tonight. Would you recommend flipping the chicken over in the oven halfway through the cooking time or can it stay on one side the whole time in the oven? Thank you!

Nope, there is no need to flip the chicken over unless you really want to! 🙂

I’ve been adding cooked quinoa to my oatmeal to boost my protien; so I’m pleased to find this creative use and plan to try it soon. Thanks!

I had way, way too much quinoa. I used less than half to coat the chicken.. Threw out the leftovers that touched raw chicken. I set some aside thinking I had too much right away. I used about a pound and a half of chicken. It was ok but not that crispy. Thought I followed the recipe.

Renee, it seems that you used too much quinoa to coat the chicken, which may have resulted in a less-than-crisp crust. Also, the recipe calls for 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise in half, which is equivalent to 4 chicken pieces to coat. Regardless of weight (as some chicken breasts can be over a pound), how many chicken pieces did you use?

I used 2 large chicken breasts which I cut in 1/2 and one small. Next time I think I would cook 1/2 cup of quinoa. One cup of raw quinoa exploded to about 3 cups of cooked. I’m sure I used too much, but I was trying to use it up!

Okay did I miss where the parmesan is added.

Yes, the Parmesan is added with the marinara.

Place chicken onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with cheeses and marinara. Place into oven and bake until cheeses have melted, about 5 more minutes.

I saw the recipe and I really wanted to try it. Mine chicken did not turn out anything like yours. And the crust was really hard. I have never cooked quinoa before so maybe that is why it didn’t turn out right, or maybe I didn’t use the right type of quinoa. Mine wasn’t golden brown either.
Any tips?

Stephanie, perhaps you didn’t use enough quinoa in the coating? Or perhaps your quinoa could’ve been super dry to begin with?

Thanks for the recipe! I made it yesterday and loved it!! Linked it to my blog today!!

What can I sub flour with please?

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot advise an appropriate substitute that will not alter the overall taste/texture of the dish. Using a substitution may also result in a mediocre outcome but if substitutions must be made, please use your best judgment.

I am making this now, it’s in the oven as we speak. I put the chicken on a cooling rack on the baking sheet, as someone mentioned in the comments. I also had waaaayyyy too much quinoa, but luckily I separated some of it before I got started. The 1st thing I would mention about this recipe is that you should make your quinoa ahead of time & let it cool completely! I didn’t think of that before I started, and my quinoa was super hot & difficult to work with. My quinoa mixture was super gummy & sticky. My hands were a mess, but I made it work. 😉 I hope it tastes better than it looks raw! LOL

Wow! That looks GOOD! Trying this soon.

This looks amazing! It has already made me hungry! How do you create so many amazing recipes!!

Hi. Im looking at your nutritional value for calories and it only says 2 chicken breasts. Do you know how large the chicken was which equaled out to the calorie count? Thx

The nutritional information is based on 5-6 ounces per chicken breast.

Thanks for another amazing recipe. I was really impressed with how this turned out. I love all of your recipes. Keep up the great work 🙂

Super delicious! Just like every other recipe I’ve tried from this food genius! Loved it! Turned out perfect and the husband loved it as well. Also was very easy and quick!

I made this dish tonight was totally amazing and will make it again my family totally loved it thanks for sharing.

Hi there, this looks wonderful and actually fairly easy. But I was wondering if I could use cornstarch instead of flour for the dredge, as there is someone in my family that is gluten free?

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment.

I made this a few nights ago and it was amazing! Mine didn’t crisp up within the baking time and I didn’t want to risk overcooking the chicken because let’s be real, overcooked chicken is one of the worst things! So the baking time is fine as it won’t overcook the chicken but I broiled my chicken on a baking sheet with parchment paper for about 2-5 minutes on each side keeping my eye on it so it wouldn’t burn! and after i turned off the oven and put the cheeses on the chicken and put it back in the oven so the cheese would melt!

Note* when i put the chicken on the baking sheet little bits of quinoa got loose and I didn’t think much of it till it started burning and set off the fire alarm :/ so keep that in mind!

I haven’t baked mine yet, but its a epic mess on the pan! The quinoa is sticky and won’t “sticky” to the chicken, completely falls off. I think there is a step missing that the quinoa should be cold or made a day ahead of time. Given that I paid a pretty penny for the organic chicken, I hope it tastes better than it looks.

Can i use almond flour instead?

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

If my husband was making dinner it would consist of mostly meat, meat, and more meat. I have been trying to find new & awesome recipes that are healthy and consist of other ingredients, other than just meat. Haha This recipe was perfect. My husband loved it and that’s another way I know it was good! What an amazing idea to use Quinoa in place of breading. And its super healthy! Ill definitely be making this again.

Tyson make gluten free chicken nuggets/strips that are super good so I’m glad I now have this recipe to try to make them myself! Thanks! I am new to discovering your blog and recipes but definitely won’t be the last time!

Wow, what a BRILLIANT idea! I have all this quinoa in the pantry that I need to use up, I’ll definitely be trying this!

Have you tried this using eggplant? I’m wondering what the cook time would be?

I actually have not – sorry!

Looks So much delicious, i want to try as soon as possible. you just gave me carving lol…

Was wondering if I could bake the quinoa coated chicken ahead of time and refriderate (or freeze if I make a huge batch) and then pop it in the oven again with the cheese and sausage to heat up. Busy mom with three kids and I get home kinda late, so just looking to speed up the dinner making process. This looks delish I have it pinned for forever and can’t wait to finally make it this week.

Yes, of course! What a great idea!

One thing is for certain, the recipe is great, but the temperature in which to bake moist quinoa until golden brown is higher than 400 degrees for the time given. Left in longer to brown at 400 causes the chicken to become over-done. 450 for a shorter period seems to work more favorably.

Do you let the quinoa cool before putting it on the chicken?

Yes, please let it cool enough to handle.

Question: I usually use a 1:2 ratio of quinoa and liquid. Yours is less liquid, so does that make a difference in the results?

Yes, the quinoa will be more dry with less liquid, which is better when coating the chicken.

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