Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Salad is a quinoa grain bowl made with sauteed spinach, chicken, vegetables, and feta cheese topped with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
I feel like I've lost some of my cooking mojo lately. I've had 110% motivation to tackle my workouts and various home improvement projects and about 5% motivation to cook. Ugh. Can't someone just do it for me sometimes? That would be sooooo nice. Thank God for our Sunday food prep. The kids headed back to school on Monday, so I've been busy tackling some much needed DIY projects like painting bookshelves, refinishing our kitchen tabletop, and painting trim in our bathroom. It seems like there is always something that needs to be done around here. Oh, the joys of homeownership! My creativity in the kitchen has taken a backseat. I did, however, manage to whip up this killer Mediterranean-inspired Chicken Spinach Quinoa Salad for dinner Friday night.
Time-Saving Recipe Tip
Usually, I have lots of chicken and beef already prepped for meals for the week, so all I had to do is cook the quinoa and chop some veggies and parsley. Prepping proteins on the weekend make it so much easier when assembling meals during the week. A tip on pre-cooking chicken for this recipe, if you have stoneware (a clay baking dish) use it for cooking plain chicken breasts. I just buy the thin cutlets, season with kosher salt, drizzle with EVOO and bake in a clay baking dish at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. It turns out so moist with this method. Store cooked chicken breasts in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
This was a simple dish to put together and the flavors are on point in this recipe! If you want to keep it on the lighter side, mix up your dressing and portion it out for your individual serving (instead of tossing it with the whole salad). It's a good way to control the fat portion if you are watching your fat macros.
I also drizzled a little extra balsamic vinegar before serving. That stuff is the bomb. I could drink it straight. Go for the good stuff, too. Balsamic vinegar is like a good wine, they are not created equal. Go to a shop that sells high-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oils and splurge on a good one. It's totally worth it, y'all. You won't be sorry. I pour that s*@t on everything!
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Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Salad
- 16 oz cooked chicken breast
- 1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach chopped into pieces (you can also use tender kale leaves-remove stems)
- ½ cup red onion finely chopped
- ½ green pepper finely chopped
- 1 whole red pepper finely chopped
- ½ cup whole pitted Kalamata olives
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled (I used the reduced fat feta)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1 cup peeled English cucumber chopped
- 3 roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 4 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 6 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Cook quinoa in the chicken broth and water, according to package directions (you are substituting chicken broth for some of the water)
- Cool quinoa and set aside
- Heat a medium nonstick skillet on medium heat.
- Spray skillet with olive oil cooking spray and add chopped spinach.
- Stir and cook until just soft and wilted and set aside to cool.
- Pour quinoa into a large bowl and stir in cooked spinach
- Add all of the chopped vegetables, parsley, cooked chicken, olives and feta cheese and toss to mix.
- Whisk together fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over salad.
- Stir to mix and serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.