Chicken Tikka Masala Quinoa Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Crema

This Tikka Masala shortcut meal uses a few convenience items to make for an easy weeknight meal that can even double as a way to use up leftovers! Quinoa, topped with crispy tikka masala chicken and finished with crunchy cucumber, tangy pickled onions, creamy slaw, and an cilantro-lime crema.


This weekend flew by! The girls had their last swim team practice for the season and we grabbed Culver’s and enjoyed dinner at a brewery with some live music and games with the girls. A fun little Family Friday! Saturday morning, Piper had a soccer game and we more or less had nothing else going on until date night. I got in a 60 minute Peloton ride and bummed around much of the afternoon. It was glorious!

Sunday went by in a blur and it’s 10:24pm and my hockey game will be starting in just under an hour from now. I’ve already decided that with a clear-of-meetings-and-patients Monday morning, I’ll be not setting an alarm and putting Mark in charge of 2 little ladies and their crazy locks that require incredible efforts each and every day. Wish him luck. The big news of the day was securing a live-in dog sitter for our old, blind, deaf bulldog, Harlie, for when we take the girls on a trip coming up. It sounds like we’ll be able to relax and enjoying knowing she’s in good hands!


  • A love for Indian flavors. I’ve made many renditions of tikka masala over the years. Some are better than others, but all take a bit of time. More time than I’d spend on a weeknight these days, that’s for sure. And yet, the aromatic flavor and rich tikka masala sauce is something we crave. Use a convenience item like jarred sauce, eliminates the need to have on hand some less commonly stocked ingredients such as garam masala and other aromatic spices. I love this nutritious version of our favorite Indian dish.
  • Kids! Tikka masala is mild and completely kid-friendly. Transform a classic kid favorite — chicken fingers! — into a masterpiece the whole family will love. Leave out components that the kids may not love, but the quinoa and chicken should be a slam dunk!
  • Weeknight Warriors: A single baking sheet, simple cooking instructions and simple ingredients, basic meal prep, and ta-da: healthy chicken tikka masala bowls!


  • Chicken: To make this meal even a bit healthier, swap in about 1 pound of hot shredded rotisserie chicken breast in lieu of chicken tenders. Both options are delicious and quick!
  • Tikka Masala sauce: If you peruse the options in the ethnic foods aisle of your local grocer, you’re likely to find several options that would work great in this recipe. Most Indian sauces have a base of coconut milk or fresh tomatoes and tomato paste.
  • Vegetarian: Use tofu, tempeh, or beans in lieu of chicken, if you prefer. Cook or heat using your preferred cooking method and toss with the sauce before assembling the bowls.
  • Quinoa: I used quinoa for the additional protein and reduction in carbohydrate, however basmati rice or brown rice are great alternatives.


  • Power Bowls: All-in-one meals that feature a whole grain or nutritious base, serving up ample protein and colorful vegetables that serves up not only delicious dinners, but a fun way to serve up a nutritious meal.
  • Quinoa is a complete protein meaning it has all 9 essential amino acids. Foods that contain all the essential amino acids are considered “complete” proteins.


  • This meal is complete as-is, however you can serve with your choice of side. I highly recommend a bit of naan to sop up the sauce and crema!
  • Store each component separately, reheating and assembling
  • I highly recommend prepping what you can ahead of time. For kids or guests, or even your choosy eaters, serve the components separately for a build-your-bowl option so that everyone can get more, less, or none of what they want!

Chicken Tikka Masala Quinoa Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Crema

Chicken Tikka Masala Quinoa Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Crema

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Tikka Masala shortcut meal uses a few convenience items to make for an easy weeknight meal that can even double as a way to use up leftovers! Quinoa, topped with crispy tikka masala chicken and finished with crunchy cucumber, tangy pickled onions, creamy slaw, and an cilantro-lime crema.



  • 7 frozen chicken tenders
  • 1 1/4 cups dry quinoa
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage slaw mix
  • 1 cup pre-made/jarred tikka masala sauce
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into half-moons
  • 1/4 cup pickled red onion

Cilantro-Lime Crema:

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 jalapeno (seeds and membrane removed for less heat)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • juice of a lime
  • 1 clove garlic


  1. Cook or reheat chicken tenders according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, stir, and cover with a lid. Simmer quinoa for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa and chicken cook, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; whisk until combined. Add the cabbage and mix until evenly coated. Set aside to allow flavors to blend.
  4. Prep the cilantro cream sauce by pulsing together all ingredients in a mini food prep or food processor until smooth, adding a few teaspoons at a time of cold water to thin to a desired consistency.
  5. Chop the hot baked chicken tenders and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the tikka masala sauce.
  6. Serve quinoa in each of 4 bowls, topped with 1/4 of the chicken, slaw, cucumber, and 1 tablespoon of pickled onions.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 21.5gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 984mgCarbohydrates: 62.5gFiber: 6.8gSugar: 7.5gProtein: 24.8g

Did you make this recipe?

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Big fan of “bowls” for supper? You’re not alone! 😉

Weekly Menu: February 26th – March 2nd

  • Sunday: Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder
  • Monday: wedge salads with shrimp burgers
  • Tuesday: breakfast for dinner
  • Wednesday: burgers with sweet potato fries
  • Thursday: Nicole out / leftovers

Be well,

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