Pineapple Tuna Quinoa Skillet
“You are invited to Backyard BBQ on Saturday, May 14 at 3PM.”
A Facebook notification pops up on my phone. It’s the second house party invite we received in the past month. We’ve been to a few parties already. At least, I have. My favorite kind is house parties. If someone who you’ve never met is generous enough the open the door of his/her home for you and let you eat, drink and mingle with other guests, that person is cool in my book.
Han and I check our calendar and nod to each other in agreement of attending.
Saturday quickly approaches. Han asks, “Are you excited for the BBQ party this afternoon?”
“Yea, sort of.” I reply with my hands kneeling the dough of a raspberry pie, which I plan to bring for the party.
“What do you mean by sort of? You know who the host is, right?” Han sounds surprised.
“No, not really. I didn’t pay attention. Who is it?” I look at him for a second and look back at my dough.
“OMG. How could you not pay attention to the host? You are obsessed with his website. It’s Nomadic Matt!”
I think I really started getting it – why people like Austin, TX so much. Part of it is because the nature in central Texas is gorgeous and the weather makes it impossible not to go out and enjoy. The other part is you never know who will invite you to a house party. The host might be someone you’ve followed and admired for quite a while.
In my case, I had no idea I’d meet Matt in person at his hostel in Austin! It’s crazy.
At the party, I told Dave, one of our new friends who recently settled in Austin just like us, that I am totally going to host my own party once our housing situation is stabilized.
“Are you going to cook all the food yourself?” Dave asked.
“I think so. That’s the point, right?”
“How do you plan on hanging out with guests, then? I have a friend who hosted a house party and he cooked all the food. But he was in the kitchen for the entire time. We barely got to talk to him unless we went into the kitchen. Is your party going to be like that?”
That’s a really good question. I definitely want to be able to enjoy my own parties. You know, chat with friends, greet guests, drink, eat and laugh instead of burying myself in the kitchen. I couldn’t help thinking about how my own parties are going to look like since last Saturday. And I think I have an idea now.
Here’s what’s going to happen – a Kabob Party!
Assuming that I’ll have a big backyard or patio and I’ll have a big gas grill, I am going to marinate chicken, scallops, shrimp, tuna, lamb, and beef one night before and have some volunteers to put everything on skewers with a variety of vegetables in the morning and then throw the kabobs on the grill when my party starts in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter if our guests are vegetarians, or pescetarians, or meat eaters. Everyone will be able to walk around with their favorite kabobs in hand. No utensils needed! I can totally imagine myself grilling with a glass of wine in my hand and chatting with our guests. How fun is that?? I am SOLD.
Feel free to take my idea if you want to host your own house parties. But if that’s not your cup of tea and you are not a big fan of putting stuff on a stick, that’s totally fine. Remember this.
“You can pretty much always adapt a kabob recipe and turn it into a stir fry.”
Today’s recipe is a perfect example.
This Pineapple Tuna Quinoa Skillet recipe is inspired from a tuna kabob recipe I tried a few weeks ago. I loved the flavor so much that I decided to make it again. However, I didn’t want to go through the trouble to put tuna and pineapples on skewers this time, so this skillet version was invented.
Since it offers a very savory marinade, I took full advantage of it by stirring in quinoa to make it extra healthy and satisfying. It brings an amazing flavor, delightful colors, and high health points all in one skillet! The tuna is marinated in a savory cilantro ginger sauce, which is also used as the cooking liquid. Cooked pineapple releases a lovely sweet and sour flavor to infuse the entire dish. I love enjoying this high-protein dish for dinner and putting a fried egg on top of it could easily turn the leftovers into a healthy breakfast.
I’d suggest you marinate the tuna beforehand. When ready to cook, you can wrap up this delicious one-pot meal of tuna quinoa in 15 minutes. Hope this gives you a basic idea of how to turn a kabob recipe into other forms of cooking.
Now, I would love to hear from you. Have you done a kabob transforming recipe before? If so, how did you do it? Please leave a comment and share your creations. Happy cooking, as always!
This Pineapple Tuna Quinoa Skillet offers an amazing flavor, delightful colors, and high health points all in one skillet! The tuna is marinated in a savory cilantro ginger sauce, which is also used as the cooking liquid. Cooked pineapple releases a lovely sweet and sour flavor to infuse the entire dish.
- 12 ounces tuna steak, thawed and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup medium sweet onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 1 cup pineapple, diced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- chopped green onion and cilantro for garnishing
For the tuna marinade:
- 1 cup green onion, roughly chopped
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 ounce ginger (about 1 tablespoon minced ginger)
- 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- First, make the tuna marinade. Combine green onion, garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, and cilantro in a food chopper or food processor, chop finely, then transfer to a medium bowl; add the rest of the ingredients from the marinade; mix well.
- Add tuna chunks into the marinade, combine and coat well. Cover and marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, add 1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and fluffy. Set aside.
- In the meanwhile, heat up 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet onion, bell pepper, zucchini and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables start getting tender.
- Stir in tuna with the marinade and pineapples into the skillet, stir a couple times and then add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the tuna is cooked through. Taste during cooking and add a dash of salt if desired; stirring often.
- Remove from heat; add the quinoa into the skillet; combine well; garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro before serving.
Substitute Tamari for the soy sauce for a gluten-free version.
Recipe partially adapted from Food.com.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 397
- Sugar: 11.3g
- Sodium: 758mg
- Fat: 14.5g
- Saturated Fat: 2.8g
- Carbohydrates: 37.2g
- Fiber: 5.9g
- Protein: 31.6g
- Cholesterol: 42mg
Keywords: tuna quinoa
About the Author
Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, an author and a sous vide fanatic who believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she's on a mission to help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.