Chicken Surf ‘n’ Turf Quinoa Paella

Chef and single dad Mike Ward's 20-minute paella recipe can easily be customized to your family's varied tastebuds.

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Richard Sibbald

As a single parent to two young girls, I am not immune to the struggle of getting a fast and flavorful dinner on the table that all hungry mouths will enjoy.

I have, however, found a few fast and healthy go-to dishes that fit the bill. My 10-year-old, Sydney, loves chicken but hates shrimp, and Faith, my seven-year-old, is the opposite. I love both. For this reason, paella is a perfect dish because you can tailor it to your family’s taste buds – but everybody still eats from the same big platter. I’ll often tinker with this basic recipe by adding chorizo, different varieties of seafood, vegetables like chopped carrot, zucchini or fennel, edamame or even beef.

Paella is the perfect keep-them-all-happy dish with a ton of flavor, and it’s virtually foolproof.

See alsoChicken & Shrimp Orzo Paella.

Cook Time
20 min
20 min


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp each ground cumin and paprika
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2½ cups chicken, vegetable or 
fish broth
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper, 
to taste
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined medium 
to large shrimp (fresh or frozen 
and thawed)
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. In a large skillet or paella pan on medium-high, heat oil. Add chicken, onion, bell peppers, garlic, cumin and paprika and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add quinoa, broth, lemon zest and juice, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer on medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa becomes a little tender (but not soggy), about 7 to 8 minutes. Add a little more stock, if required, to maintain a moist consistency.
  3. Add shrimp and peas and cover until shrimp is cooked and quinoa is al dente, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories 460
  • Carbohydrate Content 43.3 g
  • Cholesterol Content 214 mg
  • Fat Content 13 g
  • Fiber Content 7.5 g
  • Protein Content 45 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 2 g
  • Sodium Content 293 mg
  • Sugar Content 5 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 0 g

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