Chicken-Quinoa Burgers with an Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

Or as my soul beggeth, Chickeeeenwa burgers.

And while we’re at it, don’t look too closely at my sweet potato fries. It’s hard to tell with the naked eye, but underneath all that Parenthood-(ahem)-induced, semi-burned crispy exterior, lie the soft, seasoned sweet potato fibers of Zion.

But you don’t rightly care because you want to smear that dipping sauce all over your head and hair. Look I feel ya. I do.

But let’s start with the chickeeeenwa.

OR ACTUALLY, let’s start with what Christmas movies you’ve watched so far, eh? eh?

You’re gonna flippin’ flip your flip, because for the first time ever in my lil’ life I watched Scrooged with Bill Murray. L-O-H-O-V-E-D. Aaron’s seen it a kazillion times, and was falling out of his skin when he learnt I’d never seen it. I think it was because in 1988 we were only allowed to watch Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patti and Amy Grant Christmas specials, MOM.

(dump some yummies in a bowl, mix mix mix, pat pat pat)


And then last night we watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, omgggaaahahahahaaa. Now, before you freakin’ freak your freak, I HAD seen bits and pieces of this one, but I didn’t remember much. I think it was because in 1989 we were only allowed to listen to the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas cassette tape, DAD.

(sear sear sear, flip flip flip, sear sear sear, blitz blitz blitz, taste taste taste, coma coma coma)


I remember not being able to say Mannheim. I would say Mahn-A-heimlich maneuver and my little sister would knock me straight into the Christmas tree with the wave of her eye-roll.

(toast toast toast some onion buns, smear smear smear some sauce, top with the chickeeeenwa burger, another heavy dose of sauce smearage, an – WAIT A STINKIN’ MINUTE. Look at this burger. Just look at it. It’s totally Christmasy looking. How did I do this? How did this happen? Will we ever know?)

It’s like the cosmic Christmas angels aligned the stars in the sky just for us on this very special day.

I guess eggnog first thing in the morning isn’t the finest idea.

Chicken-Quinoa Burgers with an Avocado-Yogurt Sauce:

What it took for 4 burgers:

* 1 pound ground chicken
* 3/4 cup uncooked black quinoa (or regular)
* 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
* 1 cup cilantro leaves, divided in half
* 1 tsp chili powder
* 1 tsp cumin
* 1 tsp ground coriander
* 1/2 tsp garlic salt
* 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 avocado
* 3 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt
* juice from a lime (about  2 Tbs)
* 4 onion buns
* 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the quinoa in boiling water for about 15 minutes, until it pops into little spirals. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cooked quinoa, red bell pepper, half the cilantro, chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, garlic salt, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Thoroughly mix with your hands, and then form four little patties. You can chill these in the fridge if you want, for as long as you want, or go ahead and cook ’em!

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the patties and sear until browned on both sides and cooked all the way through, 10 – 12 minutes total. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine the avocado, yogurt, remaining cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of salt. Blitz blitz blitz until smoooooth like buttah. Taste it. ah. know.

Lightly toast the onion buns brushed with olive oil and garlic salt.

Smear a little of the avocado sauce on the bottom half of the onion bun. Top with a chicken-quinoa patty. Then a ton more avocado sauce. Then some crumbled cotija cheese. Then ask someone how to pronounce cotija. And then tell me. Maybe a little cilantro for garnish? Yez.

Serve with sweet potato fries!

And the crumbled cheese is snow!

Never mind.

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48 Responses to Chicken-Quinoa Burgers with an Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

  1. DessertForTwo December 10, 2012 at 7:51 am #
    Christmas Vacation is the best Christmas movie ever!!! I love your chickeenwa burgers! :)
  2. Cookin' Canuck December 10, 2012 at 7:54 am #
    Oh yeah, these need to make their way onto my menu. And Christmas Vacation is a classic!
  3. Kathryn December 10, 2012 at 8:03 am #
    This is everything that's good in the world in a burger.
  4. Katie December 10, 2012 at 8:12 am #
    Our favorite Christmas movie over here is STILL Muppet Christmas Carol. We're in our late twenties. For real. I alsoooo think this is going to be our favorite Christmas meal. It will go right along with Rizzo and Tiny Tim and Michael Cain as Scrooge.
  5. Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings December 10, 2012 at 8:23 am #
    amazing-- looks like dinner tonight :)
  6. brandi December 10, 2012 at 8:36 am #
    We'll take 4 of these, and 2 orders of fries for dinner, please! :) So glad you liked Scrooged - it's great!
  7. Brian @ A Thought For Food December 10, 2012 at 9:25 am #
    Oh Scrooged... I can't believe you haven't seen it! That's kind of impressive, since it's on ALL THE TIME! :-) Nice burger by the way! First time I'm seeing quinoa in a meat burger, which I think is a brilliant idea.
  8. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective December 10, 2012 at 9:35 am #
    Sweet Bev... I'm still waiting on my diner invitation!
  9. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl December 10, 2012 at 9:42 am #
    Why don't I have black quinoa?! Love.
  10. Heather @ Heather's Dish December 10, 2012 at 9:53 am #
    These are just about the prettiest burgers ever - and I'll take a bath in that sauce please and thanks!
  11. Ashley@BakerbyNature December 10, 2012 at 11:58 am #
    I second Summer, um, when can we come over for burgers?!
  12. Bernadette @ Now Stir It Ip December 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm #
    I think the only Christmas movies I have seen are Polar Express (which I think is on a loop on our TV) and the Grinch with Jim Carrey. Yeah.. I need to get out more. OH! Your burgers look amazing. I love the idea of the quinoa with the chicken. They sound hearty!
  13. Nicole @ lapetitebaker December 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm #
    Christmas movies are in full swing here as well. Yesterday, I watched Elf when I woke up and it put me in a good mood the rest of the day. These chicken burgers are being made for dinner tonight! I can not wait.
  14. Amanda @ The Unfamiliar Kitchen December 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm #
    So simple - love it!
  15. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts December 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm #
    Making these soon! I made meatballs with turkey and quinoa - these burgers will be a hit!
  16. Cassie | Bake Your Day December 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm #
    Burger perfection, without a doubt.
  17. Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen December 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm #
    hmmm, I've never seen those ones either. Guess I have some catching up to do! Burgers look awesome. I know they're more of a 'summer' food, but I crave them year-round.
  18. Kristy December 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm #
    That is one heck of a burger. Holy yum!
  19. Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen December 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm #
  20. Kari@Loaves n Dishes December 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm #
    I love how the burger looks like it's packed full of itty bitty Christmas ornaments...and the could put that on a shoe and it would taste good! P.S. Christmas Vacation is in my top 3 Christmas movies, I howl every time!
  21. Lori December 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm #
    The b**ch hit me with a toaster!! Bwahahahaha - classic.. Can't believe it took you til now to see Scrooged, but SO glad you did. Another one that is good, but not as funny, try Holiday Inn. It's the precursor to White Christmas. Actually, the song White Christmas was written for Holiday Inn and was so popular, they made a movie just for it alone!!! Go figure. BTW - love the burger idea. (PS - I also love "over" done sweet potato fries. They are better that way.)
  22. Julie @ Table for Two December 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm #
    holy burgers!! these look manly and amazing!
  23. Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out December 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm #
    It sounds like you could possibly relate to my "sorry I never heard that song that was popular when we were kids because all we listened to at home was the Gaithers" stories.... Moving on. These burgers look awesomazing. Seriously. I want that dipping sauce on everything.
  24. Megan @ Country Cleaver December 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm #
    Christmas Vacation - best Christmas movie EVER'ah. "I pledge allegience to the flag…" NO, GRACE!! "Oh, Grace? She died 15 years ago…" I might die happily with one of these burger beauties.
  25. Julia {The Roasted Root} December 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm #
    I love that these fully loaded burgers are stuffed with nothing but great-for-you ingredients! They look so satisfying and I can't wait to gobble them up! The avocado yogurt sauce sounds marvelous!
  26. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. December 11, 2012 at 12:19 am #
    Christmas Vacation is one of the best. But, we can't forget about Christmas Story! These burgers look deee-lish!
  27. Kevin (Closet Cooking) December 11, 2012 at 7:27 am #
    What a great way to enjoy some quinoa!
  28. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie December 11, 2012 at 9:25 am #
    I've wanted to try quinoa in a burger for so long. With that sauce on top I know I have to make this,.
  29. Katie @ Blonde Ambition December 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm #
    Chicken, quinoa, bell peppers, cilantro, avocado..........This burger is heaven.
  30. Alison @ ingredients, Inc. December 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm #
    These ROCK
  31. Iris December 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm #
    Mmm that avocado yogurt sauce sounds delicious.
  32. Ross | TheFaceBaby December 16, 2012 at 2:37 am #
    Have you trademarked Chickeeenwa yet? Do it. These are amazeballs.
  33. Julia December 31, 2012 at 9:41 am #
    Posted about this fantastic looking recipe on my blog. Really looking forward to trying it out. Your recipes and photos make me giddy!
  34. Stacy January 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm #
    I came home wiped out from the gym determined to defrost some ground chicken and make burgers. If not for your recipe - which I found on Pinterest - the leftover red quinoa and veggie salad would have been beside the burger and not IN it. These came out so delicious. My quinoa salad had a some pesto mixed in, so this veered more Italian in its flavoring. I can't wait to make them again! So glad I came across your recipe.
  35. Christina February 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm #
    This is another recipe of yours I had to try, and it was yet another homerun. Woman, you are magic. I have never had every single dish I try from a blog turn out as well as yours do. Good thing you are already taken or my fiancee would be on his way over.
  36. Stephanie March 25, 2013 at 4:51 pm #
    My 5 and 6 year olds LOVED these and they don't like hamburgers. I added scallions because I had them and left out the chili powder (kids). These are great!!
  37. k lo January 20, 2015 at 6:26 pm #
    Wow, yum! My 10 yr old son and I loved these, they will be going into the rotation, thanks!
  38. Martha Lauren Smith January 22, 2015 at 1:25 pm #
    Can you freeze have of the mixture if you’d like to make later?
  39. Anonymous July 4, 2018 at 8:57 pm #
    Thanks i tried it it was soooo gooooood


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