Slow Cooker Butternut Squash, Chicken and Quinoa Soup

What you choose to eat can be one of the most influential variables you can control when it comes to your brain health. Eating many fruits and vegetables each day along with whole grains and lean meats is the greatest way to feel your best.

Chicken is a great source of vitamins B6, B12 and choline which all play an important role in brain health and neuroprotection. Winter squashes like butternut squash are high in beta carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, antioxidants and niacin which offer a lot of brain health benefits. Diets rich in whole grains, like quinoa, are associated with higher levels of brain function.

Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, trim fat from chicken
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 (~4 cups) small butternut squash, de-seeded and chopped (it can be purchased pre-chopped)
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, DO NOT DRAIN
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 packet (1.12 oz.) low-sodium fajita seasoning mix
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: chopped green onion, plain Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash, Chicken and Quinoa Soup

Instructions
1. Remove the fat from the chicken. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to remove the bitter saponin coating.
2. Peel, seed, and chop the butternut squash into small bite-sized pieces (or buy pre-chopped butternut squash for an even faster prep).
3. Rinse and drain the kidney beans and corn.
4. Lightly grease your slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add in the chicken, quinoa, chopped squash, kidney beans, corn, undrained tomatoes, garlic, and fajita seasoning packet.
5. Pour in the chicken broth and give everything a good stir.
6. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until the quinoa is cooked through and the squash is very tender.
7. The chicken will start falling apart. You may need to use two forks to help shred it fully.
8. Add some salt and pepper to taste and any other seasonings desired. Garnish with green onion, plain Greek yogurt and/or shredded cheddar cheese, as desired. Enjoy!


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