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
Debra @ Bowl Me OverMarch 5, 2015 at 2:04 pm
I love the look of this – shared & pinned. Big quinoa fan, so this is right up my alley!
MichelleMarch 5, 2015 at 2:19 pm
Thank you Debra, it was simple and very tasty.
bettyMarch 5, 2015 at 2:25 pm
This salad looks so good. Great looking spring salad. Can’t wait to try it.
MichelleMarch 5, 2015 at 2:25 pm
Thank you Betty, hope you enjoy it.
Melissa FalkMarch 6, 2015 at 12:32 am
Such a beautiful looking dish! Thanks for sharing it.
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 8:14 am
Thank you Melissa.
ChristineMarch 6, 2015 at 3:05 am
Quinoa in salads is my favorite kind of salad! I love how it adds texture, flavor, and fills you up! This looks lovely!
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 8:15 am
Thank you Christine. Glad to know I wasn’t crazy for putting quinoa in a salad.
Kristy @ Chocolate SlopesMarch 6, 2015 at 4:46 am
Quite the combination of different foods! I love a salad with several ingredients especially with grains like quinoa added!
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 8:17 am
Thank you Kristy.
David @ CookingChatMarch 6, 2015 at 5:12 am
now here’s a salad that would certainly satisfy as a main course!
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 8:18 am
That’s usually my goal with salads, make them my meal. Thanks for stopping by David.
The FOOD HunterMarch 6, 2015 at 8:11 am
This salad looks amazing…all the foods I love
heather @french pressMarch 6, 2015 at 8:46 am
however it started, it turned out amazing if you ask me! the perfect spring or summer meal
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 11:53 am
Thank you Heather, I have truly enjoyed this salad, hearty and satisfying, but not overly filling.
MireilleMarch 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm
composed salad looks so pretty
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm
Thank you so much Mireille!
Patricia @ Grab a PlateMarch 6, 2015 at 3:53 pm
Love how this evolved! I think the quinoa sounds like a great idea, and it certainly looks amazing!
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm
Thank you Patricia!
Healing TomatoMarch 6, 2015 at 4:27 pm
You have made a great recipe here. I love the colors, combinations of veggies and your style. The Coriander Sauce is definitely perfect for the Quinoa Salad.
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 10:25 pm
You are too kind HT! Thank you.
Chicago JoggerMarch 6, 2015 at 6:18 pm
This looks really tasty! I love anything with quinoa 🙂
MichelleMarch 6, 2015 at 10:27 pm
Thank you so much.
Des @ Life's AmbrosiaMarch 6, 2015 at 10:35 pm
This salad is gorgeous! Perfect for lunch or dinner 🙂
MichelleMarch 7, 2015 at 12:11 am
Thanks Des, it really is great for either meal.
Mommy's KitchenMarch 9, 2015 at 1:40 am
Looks healthy and delicious! 🙂
MichelleMarch 9, 2015 at 11:03 am
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Joy @ Joy Love FoodMarch 9, 2015 at 7:28 am
This salad is beautiful! I’d happily eat it for lunch and dinner too.
MichelleMarch 9, 2015 at 11:04 am
Thank you Joy, it is rather refreshing.
Sandi Gaertner (@sandigtweets)July 15, 2015 at 9:38 am
I am slowly trying to incorporate more quinoa into my cooking. It is high in protein and low fat…two biggies for my family. So far most of us are on board, except for my hubby 🙁
MichelleJuly 16, 2015 at 1:12 am
Just tell him it’s rounded, pebble-y rice.
Michelle | A Dish of Daily LifeJanuary 4, 2016 at 10:15 pm
I like quinoa in salads too…it absorbs dressing so nicely and I like the texture. I make a salad with quinoa that my daughter absolutely loves and asks me to make every week. I need to try yours…it looks so delicious! That Cilantro Dressing is right up my alley…I am addicted to the stuff. 🙂 Happy New Year, Michelle
Megan KenoJanuary 6, 2016 at 1:07 am
This looks so great and I love all the colors!
Andi @ The Weary ChefJanuary 6, 2016 at 8:40 am
I LOVE quinoa, and having it on my salad sounds delicious! I also like the variety of flavors in this salad! Definitely a perfect weeknight dinner!
StephanieJanuary 6, 2016 at 1:44 pm
I had to pin this, it looks so amazing!
Michelle | A Latte FoodJanuary 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm
This looks so healthy and delicious! I’m always looking for new salad recipes to jazz up my lunches and dinners, and this one totally makes the cut!
cathy ~ noble pigJanuary 6, 2016 at 11:05 pm
Oh my gosh I need this after the holiday splurge!