Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Warm Quinoa, Spinach, and Chicken Salad

Have I told you guys about this cool new tool I have been using to plan my weekly meals? It is really helping me stay organized and keep my shopping lists in one place instead of having a billion Post It's all over the place. It's still in the beta phase, but I think it will just keep getting better. Since I post so often, one of the things I look for in a recipe is portability of leftovers. I rarely go out for lunch during the work week. While scanning my various sites and books, I found this recipe. The original recipe calls for shiitake mushrooms instead of chicken, but most fungus still makes me wary so I just went with chicken this time. Shiitakes actually don't scare me as much as other mushrooms so I may try it again with them. This is an easy and quick recipe with great flavors. I used a full quarter cup of olive oil which I may reduce next time, but otherwise it was fantastic. The dressing was nice and tangy and went perfectly with the creamy feta. The chicken was great in this too. I have only ever had quinoa in vegetarian recipes so the chicken added a nice heartiness and I think quinoa and chicken are a natural pairing.

Warm Quinoa, Spinach and Chicken Salad
(Adapted from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast)

Makes 2 servings

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 chicken breast, sliced
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 pound baby spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar and oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In another bowl, pour half of the dressing over the chicken and let it marinate for about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan combine the quinoa with one cup of water and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium. Cover and let simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the chicken in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through.

Place the spinach in a large bowl, add the hot chicken, quinoa, and reserved dressing. Toss to combine (the spinach will wilt slightly). Top with the crumbled feta and serve immediately.

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Diana said...

That looks really great! Sort of reminds me of the warm orzo salad with spinach. I'm going to have to try this one -- I bet it would be good with some pistachios on it too!

Hayley said...

I've only tried quinoa once before, and wasn't in love, so I'm definitely going to try this. It seems much more flavorful. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

oooh i'm a huge fan of your previous post! Shrimp and rice noodles are so easy and so delicious with some good old fashioned chicken powder! :)

Anonymous said...

We've definitely messed around with pearl barley, but not quinoa. Your recipe is simple--a good one for the quinoa test drive.

The Blonde Duck said...

This looks really good!

Joie de vivre said...

How healthy and yummy looking!

Unknown said...

yum yum, i'd probably do goat cheese-- but i'm a bit in love :) mushrooms too, if i had them!

Reeni said...

This looks delicious, Esi. I still want to try quinoa, this looks like a good recipe for my first time.

Esi said...

Thanks everyone!

Diana, I think you are right. Pistachios would be great!

Hayley, the key for quinoa is to use a tasty dressing and mix it with other stuff.

Erica said...

Looks great- I am not a mushroom fan so I'm thrilled with your modification. I'm going to check out that tool now- it sounds awesome!

Heather said...

i just love spinach. this sounds so delicious! hope you're having a good week :)

Anonymous said...

that sounds awesome.
i really need to try quinoa!

Sharon said...

I'm a quinoa lover so I'm always looking for new recipes. Great one!

vanillasugarblog said...

yes quinoa needs help in the flavor dept at times, so I am glad to see you added some red wine vinegar. That I'm sure made it all the better.

test it comm said...

Quinoa goes great in salads like these.

Creative Classroom Core said...

I have been really loving quinoa lately. So nice to see another recipe featuring it to try!