Spring is finally here and I’m so thrilled that I could do a little happy dance. Well I could do that, but I promise I won’t, because no-one needs to see me dancing around (trust me on that one)!! Anyway, my favourite part of Spring (and Summer for that matter) is that it’s the perfect time to have a play with all of the yummy, fresh produce that’s around at the moment and whip up some light new salads that are so crazy-good, even the salad haters will come running.
In our house, we often have salad for dinner when the weather warms up (perhaps I’m subconsciously trying to make up for my chocolate cake eating habit??). And with all the amazing ingredients around, there’s no reason that your salads can’t be a full meal. I like my salads to be PACKED with yummy flavours and full of delicious vegetables, meats and nuts that keep you full for hours. And I’ve always been a fan of using fruit in my salads too. One of my favourite salads is made with rocket, pear and parmesan. So simple and yet ridiculously good. I just love the way that fruit gives a salad an extra big kick in the light and fresh department.
In this salad the chicken and quinoa will fill you up, while the pumpkin, avocado, feta and baby spinach add just the most beautiful flavours. And of course those big, juicy oranges will make your salad so light and zingy! The dressing is just so fresh and lovely too. It’s made with lime and orange juice, with a tiny bit of honey and a splash of olive oil, so you know it’s going to be beautiful and light. There’s definitely nothing heavy about this salad! Mmm if a salad could taste like sunshine, this salad would totally be it.
If you’re like me and starting to get back into having BBQs, then why not cook the chicken on the grill and then add it to the salad. Easy peasy – and we all know that for some strange reason, everything tastes better on a BBQ!
I’ve made my Chicken Quinoa Salad so many times I couldn’t even count and each time I’ve changed the ingredients around slightly. And finally I think I’ve come up with the perfect combination! Oh and I can tell you from personal experience that this salad is best consumed sitting outside on a hot night with a glass of wine and good company!
What’s your favourite salad recipe?
- 1 and ½ cups cooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large chicken breast fillet, chopped into small pieces
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, chopped (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large oranges, peeled and segmented
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
- 50g feta, chopped
- 150g pumpkin, roasted
- 50g baby spinach or rocket
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- Roast pumpkin in a 200 degree celsius oven until just soft.
- Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl and let cool.
- Pour olive oil into a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Add chicken and garlic, stirring it all around to coat with oil.
- Sprinkle with paprika and salt.
- Stir and cook until chicken is cooked through.
- Add cooked chicken, oranges, feta, baby spinach/rocket, pumpkin and avocado to the quinoa.
- Stir to combine.
- Set aside.
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together.
- Pour over salad and toss to coat everything evenly.
- Serve immediately.