Coconut Lime Chicken with Spicy Quinoa & Brown Rice

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a gluten-free, healthy ancient grain full of nutrients and health benefits.  Paired with brown rice, it hits a healthy home run.  An added bonus: it cooks quickly – just 20 minutes from package to table. And did know that the United Nations declared 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa? Here’s why.

Quick and easy dinner ideas danced before my eyes once I saw these new products, and this recipe became my first creation.  My whole family loved this dish; I can’t wait to brainstorm accompaniments for all the other flavors.

Prepare the Spicy Quinoa & Brown Rice, according to the package – just boil 1 ¼ cups of water, add the quinoa rice from the pouch, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  That’s it. Since the spices are included in the package, all you might want is a little salt to taste when you serve it. Or not – the great news about Hodgson Mill’s new Quinoa & Rice blends is that they’re very low in sodium, which makes them very heart-healthy. 

Once the quinoa and rice mixture has cooked, let it sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork to serve.

Now, on to the chicken:  I have to admit I was a little afraid of “poaching”, until I finally tried it – now I’m a poaching fool. Poaching, if you’ve not tried it, is just cooking things in simmering liquid. It’s genius, since poaching makes it almost impossible to overcook meat and fish.  No more dry or tough entrees.

To really bring out the fresh lime flavor that goes so well with the coconut and chicken, I made strips of lime zest to add to the poaching broth. I made these strips with a vegetable peeler, but a sharp knife and a careful hand works too if you don’t have a citrus zester or a peeler. Try not to include too much white pith – it can be bitter.

My chicken needed about 25 minutes of simmering, with one flip of the meat halfway through, to be fully cooked. You can test for doneness by pulling one piece out of the broth and using two forks to try to pull it apart. It should come apart easily and have no trace of pink in the middle. If it’s not done yet, just pop it back in the pot and simmer for 5 more minutes then check again.

Arrange each bowl with a scoop of Spicy Quinoa & Brown Rice, some cooked, pulled chicken, and some veggies.  (I chopped and steamed some broccoli while everything else was cooking.)  Wilted spinach, cauliflower, or peas might also be good; feel free to experiment.  Pour in a little poaching broth and squeeze on a little extra lime juice, and garnish with sliced green onions, any extra chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

In addition to the Spicy version I used, Hodgson Mill’s Quinoa & Brown Rice also comes in Lemon Pepper, Mediterranean, Garlic & Herb, and Italian.  Which flavor do you think I should make next?

Coconut Lime Chicken with Spicy Quinoa & Brown Rice


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 - 2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can coconut milk, or about 1 1/4 cup
  • 4-6 peppercorns (optional)
  • 10-12 basil leaves, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, from 1-2 limes
  • 6-8 strips of lime zest from one whole lime (washed, and preferably organic)
  • 1 package Hodgson Mill Quinoa & Brown Rice - Spicy
  • 2-3 cups broccoli florets
  • lime juice, to serve
  • black pepper, to serve
  • sliced green onions, to serve
  • sea salt, to serve


In a medium saucepan, prepare Spicy Quinoa & Brown Rice according to package.

Meanwhile, combine coconut milk, broth, lime juice and zest, and peppercorns (if using) in large pan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and basil leaves. Chicken should be at least halfway covered with broth mixture. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 15 minutes, spooning liquid over top of chicken occasionally. Flip chicken and cook 10 more minutes.

Remove one piece of chicken from pan, and check if done by using two forks to pull apart.  It should come apart easily and be white all the way through. If chicken is not done (still pink inside), return to pan and simmer for 5 more minutes, then repeat by checking for doneness. 

After chicken is done, continue simmering broth, coconut milk, lime, and basil leaves 5-10 more minutes until slightly reduced, or until all the rest of the ingredients are ready. 

In another sauce pan, boil a small amount of water and steam broccoli florets for 7-10 minutes or until tender and easily speared with a fork.

To serve, spoon rice and quinoa into bowl. Place some cooked pulled chicken in bowl, and spoon broth over all. Add a spoonful of steamed broccoli and sprinkle all with extra lime juice. Garnish with green onions if you wish. Season to taste and serve warm.


Store Spicy Quinoa & Brown Rice separately from pulled chicken and broth. Combine and reheat to serve leftovers. Feel free to substitute any tasty cooked veggie for broccoli, such as wilted spinach, steamed cauliflower or peas.


Serves 4-6

Original Recipe by Erin

You can find this and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.