Fresh and colorful quinoa salad with delicious chunks of chicken. Enhanced with chunks of sweet apricot, zesty lime, crunchy vegetables and lots of texture.
Hi my darlings! How’s everyone doing? Hope you haven’t reached freezing cold temperatures yet. In The Netherlands we’re doing quite good! It’s cold, but not deadly cold (yet). However, I do need to get myself some new (extra) sweaters. Regular shirts don’t keep me warm anymore and in addition my office at work isn’t really heated well… ^^” My Asian genes need a warm climate. Good thing I’m writing this post from my warm and comfy bed. #brightsideoflife 😉
Now, let’s get to this beautiful salad. As I started writing this post I noticed I have just two salads in my recipe index: Honey soy chicken quinoa salad and the easy Thai beef salad. What a shame, because I really do like eating salads. And I don’t mean regular-will-still-be-hungry-after-this-salads, but salads packed with vegetables, proteins and flavor that keep you satisfied until the next munchie moment of the day. Therefor, today I’m coming back with a bang. I’ve got a fresh quinoa salad for you guys WITHOUT a fatty dressing, but still lots of flavor. The salad looks quite summery on the photos, but trust me when I say this salad is fit for all seasons. It’s light, flavorsome and quite healthy too.
The main base of this salad is spinach and quinoa. I’m a big fan of using quinoa in salads, because it gives salads body without making it very heavy like pasta does. No bloated bellies. In addition, quinoa adds a great texture. I love texture in food. The quinoa is made like I usually do: Cooked in broth. I love this method because it’s an easy (read: lazy) way to give the quinoa plenty of flavor. After the quinoa has cooled, it is mixed with a couple of (raw) vegetables: spinach, green peas, red bell pepper and cucumber. For extra flavor, add in some fresh mint too. The latter is not optional. This salad needs mint. Trust me. Also, don’t be scared off by the amount of components going on in this salad, because none of these are difficult and most only need to be washed or chopped. Seriously, cooking the quinoa base might be the most difficult.
Once you’ve got the base, go ahead and proceed with the chicken. Chicken is my go-to protein for most of my healthy recipes. I love it. It’s full of proteins and super easy to prepare. All you’ve got to do is mix the chicken with some spices and let is sit for a couple of minutes to infuse. Sauté some onions before you cook your chicken to perfection in a non-stick pan and you’ve got yourself the best and easiest chicken with Moroccan inspired flavors. Finish your salad with chunks of dried apricots for sweetness and add chopped almonds for extra texture. Texture is love. Finally, sprinkle the salad with lime zest ánd juice to your taste and you’re set. A light, fresh Moroccan inspired quinoa salad full of flavor and texture. Healthy doesn’t get more delicious. Honestly, you’ve got to try this.
What ingredients would you add to your ULTIMATE salad?
- 3 chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp corn starch
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp oil, for cooking
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 150 g spinach, washed and drained
- 1 red bell pepper, washed and cut into strips
- 1 small can green peas (160 g), washed and drained
- ¾ cup fresh mint leaves, washed and drained
- 120 g dried apricots, chopped into chunks
- 45 g almonds, chopped
- ½ cucumber, halved and sliced
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the chicken except for the onion and oil. Set aside.
- Cook the quinoa according to directions on the packaging in 2 cups of chicken stock. This should take about 10 minutes. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
- In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat.
- Sauté the onion until fragrant and translucent.
- Add the chicken and cook the chicken until lightly golden brown and fully cooked through. Set aside.
- In a salad bowl, mix the cooked quinoa, spinach, red bell pepper, green peas and mint leaves.
- Divide the salad mix over the plates.
- Sprinkle the chunks of apricot, chopped almonds, cucumber and lime zest on top.
- Dress with plenty of lime juice to taste. I used about ¼ lime per plate.