Cilantro Lime Chicken with Mexican Quinoa

5 from 5 votes

A healthy, Mexican dinner you'll make again and again.

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Mexican Quinoa

By now, we all know quinoa is a multi-talented superfood. This healthy grain is a star in everything from breakfast bowls to salmon cakes. Of course, while quinoa is now a staple ingredient in tons of different meals from breakfast to dessert, many of us Day-1 quinoa fans first fell in love with the grain as a rice substitute.

Whether it’s a side or a main ingredient, a zesty rice is an important part of any Mexican meal. As usual, quinoa is an excellent substitute for your favorite spicy rice mixes. I’ve started whipping up an easy and tasty batch of this Mexican quinoa with every meal that would usually send me reaching for a box of pre-packaged Spanish rice. Not only do I get to swap rice for all the health benefits of quinoa, but I can also cut back on tons of added sodium. It’s a win-win!

In the meantime, this Mexican quinoa packs tons of other fun and flavorful ingredients, including black beans, tomatoes, and avocado. In this recipe, we’ve made a meal of it, pairing cilantro lime chicken with Mexican quinoa for an easy and healthy dinner.

A Zesty Cilantro Lime Chicken Dish the Whole Family Will Love

Zesty Cilantro Lime Chicken

Despite what fast food restaurants may have you think, Mexican food isn’t all about ground beef and cheese. There are plenty of clean, healthy ways to enjoy a little Southwestern flavor.

As the meal’s primary source of protein, the delicious recipe is kind of the main event here. If you’re a fan of lemon chicken, you’ll love this zesty, Southwestern spin on the traditional citrus flavor.

With lime zest, cumin, and crushed red pepper, this chicken bursts with spicy Mexican flair that’s still mild enough for most palettes.

Of course, cilantro can be a pretty polarizing flavor. If you’re not a cilantro fan, no worries. The cilantro doesn’t bake with the chicken in this recipe, we just sprinkle it on top after. If cilantro isn’t your thing, feel free to just leave it off and enjoy a zesty lime chicken, sans cilantro.

Mexican Quinoa

Flavored with cumin and chili powder, this quinoa bursts with Mexican flavor. It also packs tons of delicious ingredients, like tomatoes, beans, and my favorite- avocado! Again, if you’re not feeling the cilantro, feel free to just leave it out of the quinoa, as well.

If you’re looking for a clean, healthy, and easy Mexican dinner, this cilantro lime chicken with Mexican quinoa is a recipe you’ll return to again and again. Enjoy!

5 from 5 votes

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Mexican Quinoa

The whole family will just love this Mexican-inspired dish with amazing flavors from healthy and wholesome ingredients.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 4 people
Serving Size 1 chicken breast with 1/2 cup quinoa
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex


For the Chicken

  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro fresh, chopped

For the Mexican Quinoa

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 15 ounces black beans can, low-sodium, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes can, low-sodium
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro fresh
  • 1/2 cup avocado fresh, chopped


For the Chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Place the chicken onto the sheet and brush with oil.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cumin, salt, red pepper, and lime zest. Lightly coat the chicken with the mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm and cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and drizzle the lime juice over top.

For the Mexican Quinoa

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and onion and cook just until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, broth, beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Bring a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the cilantro and avocado.
  • Spoon on to serving plates with the chicken on top, enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1chicken breast with 1/2 cup quinoa | Calories: 594kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 676mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 4g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 8
Keywords dairy-free, Gluten-Free, High Protein, Kid-Friendly

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Chef Nichole

Nichole has a culinary degree from Great Lakes Culinary Institute and has worked in the culinary industry for 10 years. She also has the knowledge to write recipes using the most nutritious, fresh, and balanced ingredients. Nichole enjoys creating healthy and tasty recipes anyone can prepare, no matter their cooking skill level.

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  1. I fixed this recipe for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I have a question, though. The ingredients for the chicken call for 2 T lime juice, but I don’t see anywhere in the directions where it’s used. What did I miss? Thanks.

    1. Sorry about the Sherrie. The lime juice should be drizzled over top of the chicken when the cilantro is sprinkled on top.

  2. Even my meat and potatoes husband loved this. He had never had quinoa before, but he is a believer now.5 stars

  3. This looks delicious! Do you happen to know what the calorie count would be for just the 1/2 cup of quinoa? Thanks so much and can’t wait to try this 🙂

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