QUINOA-CRANBERRY grilled chicken salad //
Just about an hour ago I walked in the door after sixteen days of trekking around Morocco and Portugal. I tried really hard to get this post ready to be published while I was gone, but packing just hours before my flight always seems to get in the way of those last-minute things I have to do. I promise I will make it up to you with some amazing recipe inspirations I picked up while away.
I have a week of much contemplation ahead - a summer of experiences to ponder that already seem so long ago. Landing in Morocco seems like way more than sixteen days ago, so I can't even believe the first trip to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France was this very same summer. Of course, there's lots of "contemplating" (a.k.a. "working") to be done in preparation for a new school year to begin. I'm feeling a little EEK, which is about normal before the excitement kicks in.
So, let it be a testament to this recipe that I remember making and eating it very well. It was something I threw together for Bree's bridal party to nosh on while we were doing hair and make-up. Bree asked for something protein-rich, that would make her feel full, but not full. While the quinoa (and almonds) add a bit of heft and textural fun, its by no means a quinoa (or grain-like) salad. Its a chicken salad makeover with a mixture of garlicky and sweet flavors. It works great as a summer dish, but certainly would work well as we start to transition to fall...too soon?
Ingredients (makes about 5-6 servings):
- 3 large chicken breasts (about 4 lbs.)
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3/4 cup quinoa (I used red, but any color will work)
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1/4 cup and 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. dried sage
- salt and pepper to taste
Like any grilled chicken, this recipe will be most flavorful if you are able to marinate the chicken over night. Cut the breasts into 3 strips each. Rub the chicken with the chopped garlic, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Place in a bowl or baking dish with 1/4 cup of lemon juice and the red wine vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for at least a half hour.
Place the quinoa and 1 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cover. In about 15 minutes, the quinoa should absorb all the water and be al dente. Place in a bowl to cool completely.
While the chicken cools a bit, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir in the chopped scallions to coat them and add flavor.