Healthy Filipino Chicken Adobo Quinoa Bowls (Paleo + Whole30 options) 

Fans of easy Asian chicken dishes will love this healthy spin on Chicken Adobo! Enjoy the Filipino national dish as a healthy Asian bowl paired with quinoa and crunchy cucumber! Paleo + Whole30 option included! 

overhead shot of healthy chicken adobo bowl with quinoa and cucumber salad

Try this healthy spin on the authentic Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe!

Filipino Chicken Adobo you guys, is my new obsession! For those of you unfamiliar with this Asian dish – it is the national dish of the Philippines and let me tell you it may well become your new favorite Asian chicken dinner!

Why? Well, there’s the flavor – think juicy, tender chicken drumsticks or legs coated in a sweet and savory glaze with a little added oomph from whole black peppercorns. But this is also a truly effortless recipe that requires just a few everyday ingredients that you almost certainly already have!

Discovering Chicken Adobo might feel a bit like cheating, given how unbelievably easy it is to make a dish that yields such incredible flavor. Let’s just call it winning at life, mhhkay?

And you know me – if I truly enjoy something, I will turn it into a bowl. Because I just love the bowl concept and the comfort of being able to literally hug your meal. Plus you can dress it up a bit differently every time and therefore never get bored with the main element – which is the chicken, obviously.

overhead shot of two chicken adobo bowls with chicken drumsticks on quinoa and sliced cucumbers

What does Chicken Adobo taste like?

The glaze of Filipino Chicken Adobo is savory and sweet with a hint of tang from the apple cider vinegar and a strong soy flavor. Garlic, onion and bay leaves make this extra savory while the added whole black peppercorns add little pops of heat.

Don’t be put off by of the amount of peppercorns! This is not a very spicy dish and the peppercorns become milder after the cooking time. Similar to the bay leaves, we can think of them as a flavor enhancer rather than a fiery spice.

And finally, the chicken itself. I am using drumsticks but you can use legs! Note that breast meat will not work in this recipe. The meat turns out incredibly tender, owing to the longish cooking time, and simmering the legs or drumsticks in the sauce for 25 minutes makes the meat so tender inside as if you had slow cooked it for hours.

two chicken adobo drumsticks resting on a bed of quinoa with a side of cucumber salad presented as a bowl

How to make healthy chicken adobo:

picture collage demonstrating how to marinate chicken drumsticks to make chicken adobo recipe

Step 1 & 2  – Combine the marinade ingredients (up until the bay leaves) in a large glass bowl or a dish with a lid. Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight (the longer the better).

Tip: If possible, give the chicken a stir from time to time to ensure it marinates equally. You can also transfer everything into a large freezer bag as that makes it easier to manipulate.

chicken drumsticks being seared in a silver saucepan then simmered in soy sauce to make chicken adobo

Step 3 – Heat oil over medium-high heat in a very large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan (reserving the marinade) and brown it on all sides.

Step 4 – Stir in water/broth and reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered until chicken is no longer pink and sauce is slightly reduced 20-25 minutes. See notes if you’d like a thicker sauce.

a serving of chicken adobo - two drumsticks on a bed of quinoa with cucumber salad as a side

Serve the chicken topped with cooking sauce, sesame seeds, and green onions over a bed of quinoa and top with cucumber or your favorite bowl toppings.

I used quinoa as the base of my bowls and I highly recommend you use something starchy to soak up the gorgeous sauce! If you’re counting carbs, I can highly recommend Cauliflower Rice as a sauce vehicle.

Got leftover sauce and adobo chicken? Make fried rice!

As the sauce is super strong in flavor and a little goes such a long way, you may not use all the sauce this Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe makes.

If you do end up with some leftover sauce, I highly recommend you use it to make fried rice. You can use my fried rice recipe here and add whatever chopped up pieces of chicken you have leftover and maybe chopped veg and greens and the sauce.

Can I make this chicken adobo bowl paleo and whole30 approved?

Absolutely! Make it paleo/Whole30: swap the quinoa for cauliflower rice, use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, and to make Whole30 compliant, be sure to use date paste instead of coconut sugar.

Tips:

  • If you want a thicker sauce for your plated servings (as pictured), shortly before the chicken is finished simmering, take out a portion of the liquid, strain it and heat it on high in a saucepan with some corn starch.
  • If using chicken legs, don’t be afraid to go over 25 minutes simmering. Once you start noticing the meat falling off the bone of some of the drumsticks, you can be fairly certain that the entire batch is cooked through.
  • Instead of quinoa (and for a more traditional Filipino Adobo chicken), you can use rice.
  • The calories include 2 chicken drumsticks, quinoa and sauce (a whole meal!)
a bowl of chicken adobo resting on a bed of quinoa with cucumber salad on the side
5 from 1 vote
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Healthy Chicken Adobo Bowls with Quinoa

Fans of easy Asian chicken dishes will love this healthy spin on Chicken Adobo! Enjoy the Filipino national dish as a healthy Asian bowl paired with quinoa and crunchy cucumber! Paleo + Whole30 Option included! 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Filipino
Keyword Asian chicken bowl, chicken adobo bowl, healthy chicken adobo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Marinating 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Calories 716 kcal
Author Marie

Ingredients

Marinade:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar - use same amount of date paste for Whole30
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed
  • 2 tsp black peppercorn
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 chicken drumsticks or 6 chicken legs about 3 lbs depending on the size
  • 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil or avocado oil
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth or water

Bowl:

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa see notes for other options
  • 2-3 cucumbers sliced diagonally
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients (up until the bay leaves) in a large glass bowl or a dish with a lid. Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight (the longer the better).
  2. If possible, give the chicken a stir from time to time to unsure it marinates equally. You can also transfer everything into a large freezer bag as that makes it easier to manipulate.
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a very large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan (reserving the marinade) and brown it on all sides.
  4. Stir in water/broth and reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until chicken is no longer pink and sauce is slightly reduced, 20-25 minutes. See notes if you’d like a thicker sauce.
  5. Serve the chicken topped with cooking sauce, sesame seeds and green onions over a bed of quinoa and top with cucumber or your favorite bowl toppings.

Recipe Notes

  • If you want a thicker sauce for your plated servings (as pictured), shortly before the chicken is finished simmering, take out a portion of the liquid, strain it and heat it on high in a saucepan with some corn starch.
  • If using chicken legs, don’t be afraid to go over 25 minutes simmering. Once you start noticing the meat falling off the bone of some of the drumsticks, you can be fairly certain that the entire batch is cooked through.
  • Instead of quinoa (and for a more traditional Filipino Adobo chicken), you can use rice.
  • Make it paleo/Whole30: swap the quinoa for cauliflower rice, use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and to make Whole30 compliant, be sure to use date paste instead of coconut sugar.
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Chicken Adobo Bowls with Quinoa
Amount Per Serving (2 legs)
Calories 716 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 209mg70%
Sodium 951mg41%
Potassium 1136mg32%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 50g100%
Vitamin A 272IU5%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
Calcium 111mg11%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you tried this Healthy Chicken Adobo Bowls Recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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posted in
All Seasons Recipes Chicken Clean Eating Dairy Free Main Dishes Meal Prep Meat Paleo Paleo/Primal Quick & Easy Meals Recipes Refined Sugar Free Whole30
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