Chicken and Quinoa Salad – A quick tossed together salad loaded with protein from grilled chicken, black beans, and quinoa, then made rich and silky with a creamy cilantro dressing.
This salad started as a taco salad with quinoa. Then it progressed to a quinoa lettuce wrap. This is how it turned out. A cobb salad looking dish. While there is little in common with the cobb salad, it is quite delicious.
Now if you’re wondering why in the world there is quinoa in a salad, I have a quick answer for you. I have no idea. It sounded like a good idea so I went with it. Quinoa is still fairly new to me and I really like it. During my recent, but still uncompleted kitchen clean out, I found the quinoa and left it out. I have been staring at it for days trying to figure out what I want to make with it. I came up with some fun ideas, mostly ideas that are not conducive to my diet, but I’ll make them anyway. This is when the idea of tossing it in a salad was born.
I cooked the quinoa according to the directions, let it cool a bit and then added it to the salad. I was utterly pleased with added texture it gave the salad. But I find the texture of quinoa to be fun anyway. I wanted the salad to have a Mexican flavor profile so I used my creamy cilantro dressing, queso fresco, other ingredients often found in Mexican themed salads, namely corn and black beans. I added some seasoning and spices to the chicken to boast that Mexican flavor as well.
The salad was so good, I ate it for both lunch (with two of my neighbors) and dinner. My daughter rejected the lettuce, but I expected as much, but she loved the rest of it. So, while quinoa seems like an odd choice, it really worked. What’s the oddest thing you’ve put in a salad?
Chicken and Quinoa Salad
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 head romaine (or any desired green)
- 1/2 cucumber; halved and sliced
- 5-6 radishes; sliced
- 1/4 cup queso fresco +/-; crumbled
- 1/2 cup black beans; canned , drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup corn; frozen , thawed
- 1/2-1 lb chicken breast; grilled
- Dash of:
- granulated garlic
- chili powder
- Creamy Cilantro Dressing
Cook quinoa according to package directions.
Grill chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and chili powder. (I used an indoor grilling press, you know that former professional boxer one.)
Clean and prep all the remaining ingredients, including crumbling the queso fresco.
Once the chicken and quinoa have cooked and slightly cooled, assemble the salad, either in one large bowl or as individual servings.
Serve with creamy cilantro dressing and enjoy