Friday, August 10, 2012

quinoa chicken salad

One of my favorite summer dishes is Quinoa Chicken Salad.  It is probably the most versatile thing I serve to my family: it can be hot or cold, and one can easily change up the meat, vegetables, even the dressing.  It all depends how you like it and what you have on hand.  I doubt I've ever made it precisely the same way twice.  All the same, here is a rough blueprint of what I do when I prepare this "recipe."

The idea of this dish was inspired primarily by The Nourishing Gourmet's Everyday Italian Rice Salad.  I use the dressing from that recipe, although I'm halving it here in this context.

1 c. quinoa, uncooked
2 c. Water
2 T. raw vinegar or lemon juice
2 c. water or bone broth
1 c. cooked chicken, shredded
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 c. raw cheddar cheese, cubed
1/2 c. Peas
1/2 c. Carrots, shredded
1/2 c. Green onions, sliced

Dressing: 1/3 c. Extra virgin olive oil
2 T. Raw apple cider vinegar
3/4 t. dried basil
1/2 T. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t. sea salt
dash of black pepper

Make the salad
The night before, combine the first three ingredients and let rest overnight.  (This helps neutralize the anti-nutrients found in quinoa and other seeds, as well as nuts and whole grains.  For a superb chart on soaking and cooking grains properly, click HERE.)

The following day, rinse quinoa well and place in a medium pot.  Add 2 c. bone broth or water.  I also add a dash of salt and a dash of extra virgin olive oil at this point.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook 25-30 minutes.  When the quinoa is done cooking, remove from heat but leave covered for 15 additional minutes.  At this time, uncover & fluff with a fork.

Add mix-ins to the quinoa.  Prepare dressing and pour over the other ingredients, combining well.   Enjoy!

We love this salad hot, but it really shines as a cold main dish on hot summer nights.  As I said, feel free to play with the meats, vegetables, cheese, etc.  You could even go with an entirely different dressing: the possibilities are endless!

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