5 hours 10 mins
1 pound (2 large) boneless skinless chicken breasts or (4-6) thighs
1 can pinto beans
1 can corn
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup (2 stalks) sliced celery
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
3/4 cup quinoa (I use garlic infused packet)
1/2 cup orange juice, or extra broth
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 cups chicken broth or stock
1-2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chicken seasoning blend
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning*
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
Optional toppings: low-fat sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges or lime juice
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Trim the fat of the chicken breasts or thighs. If using breasts, cut each breast into 3 large even pieces.
Place the chicken breasts or thighs in the bottom of a large crockpot. I use a 6 quart crockpot.
Add in the drained and rinsed pinto beans, drained corn, thinly sliced carrots, sliced celery, diced onion, quinoa (rinse if not pre-rinsed to remove the bitter saponin coating), orange juice (or extra broth), undrained can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Ro-Tel), tomato paste, minced garlic, and chicken broth or stock.
Add about 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste) and 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste), bay leaves, chicken seasoning blend (or 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon), cajun seasoning, oregano, ground cumin, and paprika.
Stir and then cover and cook on high for 3-5 hours or until the chicken easily shreds and the quinoa has “popped.” My crockpot takes about 3 hours. The longer it cooks, the more liquid the quinoa absorbs which is why I don’t recommend cooking on low unless you are fine with a stew ?
Remove the chicken and shred. Return to the crockpot.
Remove the bay leaves and then enjoy the soup topped with optional toppings such as fresh cilantro, fresh lime, sour cream (we use low fat), and additional cajun seasoning, salt, pepper.
For a “brothier” soup just add a few extra cups of chicken broth to desired preference! *I use McCormick cajun seasoning which tends to be a bit more mild than others. Scale up or down to personal preference.