I love all types of nuts, especially walnuts. This week I was very lucky to be asked to participate in a Virtual Salad Party, hosted by Food52 and California Walnuts. I chose to replicated Aida Mollenkamp’s Quinoa Chicken Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Grapes, and Arugula. What drew me to this specific recipe was her culinary background. She is an advocate for using healthy and whole ingredients in all of her cooking, which I relate to as well. So when I tried her Quinoa Chicken Salad, I immediately fell in love with it.
This salad is loaded with great natural ingredients, magnificent flavors and textures. From the crunchiness of the toasted walnuts to the burst of sweet red grapes. I could eat this salad pretty much every day (and I did, all last week). I also loved how incredibly easy it was to throw together. Any type of lean protein would be great in this dish–leftover chicken, pan seared tilapia, sliced lean steak, or even turkey all would compliment the salad perfectly.
While I did not have every ingredient on hand, I did make a few personal changes to use up what I had in my kitchen. The day before, I had my favorite leftover Lemon-Rosemary Chicken and decided to substitute it in place for the peppercorn chicken. I cooked the quinoa the exact same way as Aida did; prepared over medium heat sauted in olive oil with a chopped onion, and in chicken stock. I added in a tart green apple and some gorgonzola cheese.
Now to throw the salad together! In a large bowl, I shredded the chicken and added in the quinoa, grapes, walnuts, celery, apple, and gorgonzola cheese. I gave it a good mix and right before I served it, I threw in the peppery arugula and drizzled it with the balsamic vinegar. Muah! It was amazing. All the flavors complimented themselves perfectly. It truly was a complete hit at the dinner party! I really enjoyed (and so did my guests) Aida’s Quinoa Chicken Salad. This will become a new staple in my house.
Quinoa Chicken Salad
By June 9, 2014Published:
- Yield: 8 Servings (8 Servings)
- Prep: 5 mins
- Cook: 30 mins
- Ready In: 45 mins
A deliciously light Quinoa Chicken Salad, packed with great fresh ingredients like walnuts, grapes, and apples!
- 4 Chicken Breasts
- 3 Lemon (Juiced)
- 2 Rosemary Sprigs Chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves Chopped
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- 1 Yellow Onion Chopped
- 1 1/2 Cups Quinoa Rinsed
- 2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 2 Cups Red Grapes Halved
- 1 Cup Walnuts Chopped
- 4 Stalks Celerey Chopped
- 1 Green Apple Chopped
- 1/3 Cup Gorgonzola Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Bag Arugula
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small roasting pan, place four chicken breasts and season with lemon juice, rosemary, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper (make sure chicken is evenly coated). Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, stir to coat in oil and cook until translucent, three minutes. Add in quinoa and cook until it is toasted and makes a popping noise, about two minutes.
- Add in the chicken broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the quinoa (uncovered) until al dente, 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- In a separate bowl, shred cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once quinoa has cooled, combine with shredded chicken, grapes, walnuts, apple, celery, cheese, and vinegar. Coat thoroughly. Just before serving, fold in the arugula and taste for additional seasoning. Enjoy!
- Course: Entrée