Wednesday, August 7, 2013

quinoa cranberry almond grilled chicken salad

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.
When the chicken is ready, grill it until completely cooked through.  My strips took about 6 minutes each, turning every few minutes for even cooking.  When you remove the chicken from the heat, immediately wrap in aluminum foil to save the juice that runs off.
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. 
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop into 1-inch cubes.  Toss the chicken with the quinoa, cranberries, almonds, scallions, and dressing.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. That salad was SO good. Can't wait to make it now that we're finally getting settled and have pots and pans again. Also, I've never used red quinoa before, but it looks so pretty!

  2. Absolutely DELICIOUS - cannot wait to work my way through the rest of your dishes...THANK YOU!! xXX

  3. This looks so tasty!

  4. interesting one :) Nice blog… thanks for sharing this information with us....

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  5. I got this recipe from the restaurant my dad built. I love the unique way of cooking the quinoa and the great combinations of the flavors.

    Val@Gateaux Dliche

  6. I Really love to create different kinds of recipes like this with organic spices online

  7. I have read your blog and i find it quite informative. Thanks for sharing information it is really helpful.
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  8. Hi, Thank you for sharing such a great recipe. would you let me know where can I find the nutrition information?

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