Lemon And garlic Chicken With Quinoa And Pesto

Lemon and garlic are great to use for marinades. I’ve used it - together with lemon thyme – for this lemon and garlic chicken dish. (You can use ordinary thyme if you can’t find lemon thyme.)

I’m serving the chicken with quinoa mixed with a super-fresh and utterly tasty mint and parsley pesto.

I love experimenting with different ingredients for pesto. As I aim to make my food healthy as well as tasty, I’ve added crunchy pumpkin and sunflower seeds - along with a lot of other tasty and healthy ingredients - to this one.

These seeds are rich in essential fats and full of other super-healthy nutrients. I eat a fair amount of seeds and nuts every day.

To make this lemon and garlic chicken dish ultra-good for you, I also serve it with oven-roasted tomatoes and steamed tenderstem broccoli (broccolini) – a cross between kale and broccoli.

This type of broccoli is apparently the richest source by far of glucosinolates  - which are one of the most important anti-cancer and liver-friendly nutrients found in food. (“The optimum nutrition bible” by Patrick Holford)

For 4 people:

Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 heaped tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 -8 (depending on size) boneless and skinless chicken thighs

250g, 9oz, 1½ cups, quinoa

800ml, 1½ pints, 3½ cups, vegetable stock

Mint and parsley pesto:

10 fresh mint leaves

2 large handfuls fresh parsley – leaves only

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 spring onions (scallions), chopped

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon oil – I use Omega 3-rich hemp oil but you can use olive or rapeseed (canola) oil

A good pinch of salt and pepper

Ripe and fragrant small tomatoes

Tenderstem broccoli (broccolini)

1.    Start by mixing together the lemon zest, garlic, lemon thyme and oil. Cover an oven-safe dish with baking parchment and place the chicken thighs flat on the tray. Smother the chicken with the marinade. Cover the dish and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes - longer if you’ve got the time.

2.    Pre-heat the oven to 200C/fan180C/400F/gas mark 6. Put the vegetable stock in a pot and heat to boiling. Season the lemon and garlic chicken with salt and pepper and place the dish in the oven. Cook for about 18 - 20 minutes - until the chicken is completely cooked through. Add tomatoes to the dish for the last 8 minutes.

3.    While the chicken is cooking, add the quinoa to the boiling stock, stir and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, drain in a colander before tipping the quinoa back into the pot.

4.    Make the pesto while the quinoa is cooking. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse for about 10 -15 seconds. Add the pesto to the cooked and drained quinoa and mix together.

5.    Steam or boil the tenderstem broccoli for about 3 minutes.

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