Chicken · entree · Salad

Tropical Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Ok. Can it just be spring already? This whole back-and-forth, tug-of-war winter and spring have been having with each other is getting so old.

One day it’s 70 days and breezy. The next day it’s 24 and snowing. What??

It’s a week past Easter and we had freezing rain and snow. That’s unheard of here. In my 29 years of existence, I can only remember one time of snow after Easter. One.

I’m ready for it to be warm everyday. Not hot, which I know is in store for us soon. Just plain ol’ warm. I’m talking 60 or 70 degrees for more than a few days straight. Is that too much to ask? Seriously?

Trying to get in that spring state of mind, I was transported to the Bahamas with this recipe. Cool, crispy and tropical—all the things I’ve been wishing for right now. I’m on a binger with quinoa in salads right now, and this is the second favorite one I’ve made so far. The only thing I’m still working on is getting the seasoning right for the quinoa. Everything in this salad is so flavorful: from the pineapple, to the cilantro, to the coconut and chicken…but then the quinoa swoops in and takes the flavor down a notch. Any recommendations to amp it up are greatly appreciated!

Pistachios are insanely expensive but they are a nice splurge every now and then. To cut down on the cost, even if it’s just a bit, always buy pistachios in the shell. If you get the shelled kind, you’re looking at 2-3 dollars more for the same amount. No thank you. Another pro-tip for this salad: there’s a lot of sweetness with the pineapple and golden raisins, so use unsweeted or raw chip coconut. You still get that amazing coconut flavor without the sickeningly sweet taste overpowering everything.

We’re overrun with spinach right now, so I decided to throw a few handfuls in this salad to get some more green power nutrients inside of us. It works to make this a true salad with everything; fruit, greens, grains, and protein. Color me impressed.

If you’re one of those genetic freaks that think cilantro tastes like soap—kidding, you’re not freaks, it’s actually quite common—it’s easy to just leave it out. Use your favorite spices in return in the dressing to give it some more flavor, or try adding fresh parsley to the mix. The more spices and herbs, the better.

Tropical Chicken & Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Jamaican jerk flavored chicken with pineapple, coconut, cilantro and pistachos in a vibrant quinoa salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 TBS. Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 TBS. olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups pistachios, shelled
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped pineapple
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 TBS. olive oil
  • 2 TBS. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • salt

Directions

  1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to simmer and cover slightly, simmer for 15-20 minutes or until water is gone and germ releases from the quinoa.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with Jamaican jerk seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove to a plate and let cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, combine spinach, pistachios, coconut, raisins, cilantro and pineapple. Add quinoa and chicken and mix. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, ginger and salt. Pour over salad mixture and stir to coat.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to simmer and cover slightly, simmer for 15-20 minutes or until water is gone and germ releases from the quinoa. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with Jamaican jerk seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove to a plate and let cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, pistachios, coconut, raisins, cilantro and pineapple. Add quinoa and chicken and mix.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, ginger and salt. Pour over salad mixture and stir to coat.

signature

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Tropical Chicken & Quinoa Salad

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s