Lightened Up Butter Chicken with Quinoa – Gluten Free

This easy-to-follow recipe for Lightened Up Butter Chicken with Quinoa will become a healthy, gluten-free dinner staple for your family. The butter is still there, just less of it. 😉 Greek yogurt makes for a tasty, creamy substitute.

Looking for a comforting and rich fall meal to warm those bones on a blustery day? Look no further, my friends, because I am here to share. We also love this comforting Chicken Marsala inspired by the great Barefoot Contessa. Say yes to all that mushroom goodness.


This lighter recipe replaces some of the butter and all of the cream found in traditional recipes with uber beneficial coconut oil and Greek yogurt to make this meal velvety smooth but still light.

There’s a little heat too.

Don’t worry, just a little.

It bounces so well off of the butter/yogurt and with fresh cilantro liberally sprinkled over? Please. Just writing about this is making me crave it all over again.

Such a great dinner. Joe’s so lucky. 😉

Using coconut oil to sauté the onions was my first healthy swap.

When the  turmeric hit the onions the aroma was simply incredible.

Lightened Up Butter Chicken with Quinoa

Of course this couldn’t be butter chicken without a little butter, right?

The beauty of this recipe is it only has two tablespoons of butter.

That’s half a tablespoon per serving which is exactly enough. Make sure, as with any dairy product, that you choose the organic variety.

Lightened Up Butter Chicken with Quinoa

Everything ends up together and simmers away for all of the flavours to fully incorporate and for the sauce to thicken up.

It starts out looking like soup but ends up a thick, velvety, spicy sauce to die for.

Sauce being stirred by a wooden spoon

While the sauce is simmering it’s the perfect time to get your quinoa a-cookin’. I like to use homemade vegetable broth to add that extra flavour.

Once my quinoa was cooked and the sauce had thickened nicely, it was time to eat.

I liked the heat from the pinch of cayenne and loved the cilantro. I’m an absolute sucker for fresh cilantro.

Leftovers heated up perfectly for lunch the next day too, in case your interested. In my case, I was. 😉

Lunch was delicious.


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Lightened Up Butter Chicken with Quinoa – Gluten Free

Sharon Rhodes
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 431 kcal



  • Heat coconut oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium low heat
  • Add in the diced onion and cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes
  • Stir in the turmeric and stir for another minute
  • Add the garlic, butter and remaining spices to the pot and stir well. Cook this mixture for another 5 minutes. You need to stir this pretty much constantly so it does not burn.
  • Pour in the milk, yogurt, and tomato sauce and give it all a good stir, then add in the cubes of chicken
  • Stir everything well and let simmer over medium low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the sauce to thicken up
  • Meanwhile, cook the quinoa to the package instructions
  • Portion out the quinoa into four bowls and spoon the butter chicken overtop
  • Top with fresh cilantro


Calories: 431kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 34gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 829mgPotassium: 1021mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 775IUVitamin C: 7.7mgCalcium: 134mgIron: 3.8mg
Keyword light butter chicken quinoa
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  1. Hi! Made this over the weekend. I must say this dish is ridiculously delicious!! Saved the leftovers for packed lunch and taste even better! Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Oh my gosh! I am sending you the most gi-normous hug! I adore butter chicken (and so do my kiddos), but I absolutely know that it’s not the most healthy meal. This recipe is the answer! I’m so excited – definitely, definitely pinning! Thanks oodles! 😀

  3. By any chance do you deliver lunches to the GTA? bahaha! I love your creativity with recipes, I honestly never thought of adding butter and yogurt together….but I LOVE the idea! As always, rockin’ another awesome recipe! 🙂