Mediterranean Chicken-Quinoa Salad

I subscribe to The Splendid Table’s Weeknight Kitchen emails which come out every Wednesday, featuring easy-to-prepare recipes. This recipe for Greek Chicken Salad with Lemon, Feta and Grains caught my eye – anything with lemon and feta gets a second look from me! I made it the next night, without the tzatziki, and thought it was a little bland, so made some adaptations for a lunch with friends. We liked it! We served it with a Greek white wine and that beautiful beet hummus brought by friend Ruth. I will get the recipe from her and share with you soon! (Note: I’ve made this salad a few times since my lunch with friends and found that it is great with a dry rose wine also!)

Ingredients – serves 6

1 1/2 cups quinoa (I like red for its looks)

2 1/2 cups water

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced OR  2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil

3/4 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 – 3/4 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, torn or cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Juice of 1 lemon

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 preserved lemon, peel only, diced OR zest of 1 lemon

Lemon dressing: 2 tablespoons EV olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste

Spring greens salad mix

Instructions

Cook the quinoa: Rinse quinoa well and place in a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Take off the heat, let sit for 10 minutes and then “fluff”. Set aside.

Cook the chicken mixture: In a large saute pan, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil till shimmering. Add the garlic, scallions and crushed red chili flakes and saute 3-4 minutes. (Alternatively, heat 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil plus one tablespoon olive oil. Add the scallions and crushed red chili flakes and saute 3-4 minutes.) Add the oregano and the chicken and saute for about 5 more minutes. Add the quinoa and lemon juice and stir to combine thoroughly.  Turn into a large serving bowl and cool to room temperature. At this point, proceed with the following and serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. If refrigerating, let the mixture come to room temperature before finishing the salad.

Finishing the salad: Add the herbs, diced red bell pepper and preserved lemon or lemon zest, stirring to combine. Add the lemon dressing and stir to blend in thoroughly. Here you can add the feta cheese or you can pass a bowl of it after serving so each person can add what they want.

Serving the salad: Place a bed of salad mix on a platter and place the quinoa salad on top of it. Yum!!

 

 

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Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

We eat quinoa like it’s going out of style in the summer.  Now it’s finally fall (I don’t know about where you live, but in Chicago I thought summer was never going to end!), and I wasn’t ready to give up my go-to dinner starter, but I’m definitely not in the mood for more salads.  So this week I tested out a couple of quinoa side dishes (or in one case we ate it as the main dish with a poached egg on top) that were amazing!  They’re based on a recipe in one of my old Martha Stewart magazines for quinoa hash, which is where I got the idea for the poached egg.  These would be great also as side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner!  Especially if you have vegetarians or vegans in your family, as quinoa has a good amount of protein and can be eaten as a main dish.  I served the beet-sweet potato one with roasted chicken, and it was delicious as a weekend meal.

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Brussels Sprouts - sweet & Savory Kitchens

I see Aunt Suzy and I are on the same wavelength…her latest post is very similar to mine, with forbidden rice instead of quinoa.  Can’t wait to try that one out, too!  There are numerous combinations of things that you can toss with the cooked quinoa; these are just the two that I have made so far.

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

We are on the same wavelength! I almost put in my post that I thought the forbidden rice dish could be made with red or black quinoa! I can’t wait to try these.

Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed thoroughly, and sliced thinly
1 sweet potato
2-3 beets with greens, greens rinsed thoroughly and chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop sweet potato into 1/2″ chunks and toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Spread on 1/2 of a rimmed baking sheet lined with tin foil. Peel and chop beets into 1/2 chunks, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt and spread on other half baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender, stirring halfway through, taking care not to mix beets and potatoes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté leeks and thyme for about 2 minutes, until they have softened. Add beet greens and sauté until wilted. Turn off heat and set aside until quinoa and veggies are done. Toss quinoa, roasted veggies, and leek mixture together in a large bowl with orange zest. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. shredded Brussels sprouts
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes and squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt and place on baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, until tender, stirring about halfway through.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Increase heat to medium-high and add Brussels sprouts. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes. You may want to add a little more oil to the pan by pushing the veggies to the side and adding it (I found the pan got a bit dry and added another tablespoon). Stir in oregano. Turn off heat. Combine quinoa with roasted veggies and Brussels sprouts mixture in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Greek Quinoa Salad

June 2, 2013

Greek Quinoa Salad - Sweet and Savory KitchensMargaux says…

In the warmer months, we eat a quinoa salad at least once a week. Everyone loves it…including my picky son, it’s super quick and easy, and nice and healthy. I should really call this one “clean out the fridge” salad, because I often make it when I really need to go shopping and I have to just use up whatever is left in the fridge. We always have most of these things on hand because they’re all favorites of my son. I find that you can add or subtract any ingredient, based on what you might have on hand. Some other things that would be good tossed into this are avocado, parsley, chopped fresh spinach, mint, celery, zucchini, green onion, radishes, pine nuts or white beans.

Greek Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/4 red onion, fine chop
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (leave out for vegan)
1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Rinse and drain quinoa. Add water and quinoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it starts boiling, cover, run down heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Dump immediately into a large serving bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, chop your veggies. When the quinoa is cool, add all veggies and beans to it and mix.

Make dressing: Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over salad and mix well. Carefully stir in feta. Serve at room temperature with warmed pita and white wine as a main dish. Also great as a side at a BBQ, or with chicken.

Aunt Suzy says . .

I’ve become a sucker for quinoa summer salads – you will find several of them here on Sweet & Savory Kitchens!  I’m always on the lookout for new and different quinoa recipes, so I immediately took note of this recently posted recipe from a fellow Minnesota food blogger on her Eating for England blog.  This is my riff on her recipe which embodies the flavors and ingredients of many Mexican dishes.  Enjoy as a main dish or a side for a summer grilling menu.  Beverages?  Iced tea, a lager beer or a dry rose wine all blend beautifully!

Quinoa-Black Bean Salad with Lime Dressing

1 cup quinoa (red or golden or a combo like I used)

1 1/2 cups water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, small dice

1 clove garlic, minced

6 radishes, cut in half-moons

1 small jalapeno pepper, minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3/4 cup cilantro or parsley

1-2 avocados, cut into chunks

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and drain.  Place in a saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed.  Uncover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff and put in a bowl.  Add the black beans to the quinoa while it’s still warm.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

When cooled, add the prepared onion, garlic, radishes, jalapeno pepper and tomatoes and stir to blend thoroughly.  Add the Lime Dressing and stir to combine.  Gently fold in the cilantro or parsley.  If the entire recipe will be eaten on the day it’s made, add the avocado along with the cilantro. Otherwise, pass the avocado for people to add to their individual servings.

Lime Dressing

2 tablespoons EV olive oil

juice of 1 lime

1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and whisk until slightly emulsified.  A NOTE ON THE CUMIN:  Instead of ground cumin, next time I make this I will toast 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds and then coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle for enhanced cumin flavor.  I’ll report back.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

It finally feels like spring here!  I’m not trusting it’s here to stay, so I decided to take advantage of the spring feeling and make this quinoa recipe.  I’m not sure whether to call it a salad, a side dish or a main dish – it could be any of those!  It can be served warm or room temperature so there are many possibilities. And, it uses preserved lemon, so what’s not to like?  (It would be good without the PL if you don’t have any on hand.)  I think you’ll find it’s a snap to make with many layers of flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds or toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed (any color will do, even though I favor the red)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 preserved lemon peel, diced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, mint or cilantro or a combo

NOTES ON THE INGREDIENTS:  I like Trader Joe’s dry roasted Spicy and Tangy Almonds.  If you use these, cut back the cayenne pepper to 1/8 teaspoon since the almonds pack a little heat.  If you don’t have preserved lemon, I think grated zest of 1 lemon would be delicious.

Directions

1.   If using pine nuts, toast briefly in a dry skillet over medium heat. This will take about 5 minutes, and stir constantly as they will burn easily. Set aside to cool.

2.   In a saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly, then fluff with a fork.

3.   Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl and stir in the chopped nuts, lemon juice, celery, onion, preserved lemon, cayenne pepper, cumin and herbs. Add the olive oil, then adjust salt/pepper if needed before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Aunt Suzy says

This was the first weekend for local green beans and the ones from Untiedt’s are really good.   I got the green beans along with the cherry tomatoes for this recipe from them at the downtown farmers market, but I am also lucky to have one of their neighborhood fruit and vegetable stands within walking distance.   I always anticipate the first local green beans, specifically so I can make this recipe!  It has many layers of flavor that surprise in every bite, even though the ingredient list is short.  This can be served as a main dish salad (quinoa is high in protein) or as a side to roast or grilled chicken.  A dry, fruity French rose wine is the perfect pairing.

A note about the ingredients:  The original recipe called for bulgur instead of quinoa.  I have made and like both, but prefer the quinoa for its milder flavor and texture.  I have almost completely switched from using golden quinoa to red quinoa.  I’m not sure if there is a flavor difference, but I like how it looks!  I have also made this recipe with asparagus and it was just as good as with the green beans.  For a prettier salad, you can use multi-colored cherry and grape tomatoes.  For the roasted almonds make sure that you get roasted and salted (unless you have to limit your salt intake).  Trader Joe’s has a product called Tangy and Spicy Dry Roasted Almonds, which have cayenne pepper and lemon added.  If you want to add a little zip to the dish, use these! (July 2013 update:  TJ no longer carries those almonds – sigh.)

1 cup red or golden quinoa, rinsed well

1 1/2 cups water

1 pound thin green beans, trimmed and snapped in half

1/3 cup EV olive oil

juice of 1/2 to one lemon, depending on how juicy

salt and pepper to taste

1 pint cherry tomatoes (2 cups), sliced in half

1/2 cup roasted salted almonds, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely shredded

Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan and add the water.  Make sure you rinse or else the quinoa will be bitter when cooked.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff and turn into a large bowl to cool.

Wash the green beans.  Place in a steamer, bring the water to a boil and steam for 5 minutes or until just done.  Alternatively, you can cook the beans directly in boiling water for 5 minutes until just done.  Either way, when done, plunge into ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain and then pat dry in a towel.  When both the beans and the quinoa are mostly cool, combine in the large bowl.

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper together.  Pour over the quinoa/green bean mixture.  You can make this up to a day ahead.  Prior to serving add the tomatoes, mint and almonds.  Toss to combine thoroughly.  Use some small mint leaves for garnish.  Serve at room temperature.