All About Avocados
So it’s no secret that I’ve become obsessed with avocados lately. They are such a nutritious and wholesome addition to your diet, and I’ve been experimenting with some different ways to use them. A few weeks ago, I posted a “recipe” that’s so simple it’s not a recipe at all: Avocado Chicken Salad Toast. Today’s “recipe,” a southwestern-styled quinoa salad, is similar–it’s so easy and simple it’s more like throwing a few healthy things together than true cooking.
Southwestern Chicken Quinoa Salad. It’s become one of my favorite go-to’s when the day has been a little rough and I don’t have much time to make dinner. Inspired by the ingredients found in guacamole (and adding chicken because my husband insists that it’s not a meal without meat), this is a simple recipe designed for people on-the-go who want good food, but don’t have a lot of time to prepare it.
Now one of my secrets to quick cooking during the week is that I do a little bit of prep work over the weekend. I know the words “prep work” strike fear in many of your souls–but take heart! I’m only talking about changing a few things about what you do for a dinner you are already preparing over the weekend. Namely, I always cook one “grilled chicken” recipe over the weekend. But instead of cooking 4 chicken breasts, I cook 8 or 12. We eat 4, and I slice and freeze the rest in a large ziplock bag. Then it’s easy to remove as much as I need for a couple of quick meals in the middle of the week.
I was craving guacamole, but not wanting to eat the chips. I was craving white rice, but wanting something a little more nutritious. So…a new recipe was born, inspired by these strange but wonderful cravings–Southwestern Chicken Quinoa Salad.
Southwestern Chicken Quinoa Salad
When you're short on time and you have a hungry family asking, "What's for dinner," think about making Southwestern Chicken Quinoa Salad. It takes about 30 minutes to put together from start to finish, and it's so simple it can hardly be called a "recipe."
Prep time: 30 minutes
4 four-ounce grilled chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 c. dried quinoa
2 c. chicken stock
2 large Hass avocados, cut into cubes or slices
1/2 purple onion, chopped
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Cook the quinoa. Peel the three cloves of garlic and smash firmly with the broad side of a butcher knife. Combine Chicken stock, 1/2 tsp salt, and smashed garlic in a large sauce pan. Bring to a rolling boil. Add dried quinoa and stir. When it begins to boil again, cover and lower the heat. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Prepare the ingredients. While the quinoa cooks, prepare the ingredients. Peel and chop the onion; wash and slice the tomatoes; cube the avocados. Squeeze the lime wedges over the avocados.
- Saute the vegetables. While the quinoa continues to cook, heat the olive oil in a large wok or skillet. Saute the onion for 2-3 minutes, until slightly transparent. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Remove the quinoa from heat. Remove the quinoa from heat, and stir. Cover again, and allow to steam for five minutes.
- Assemble your quinoa salad. This is where the magic happens! Combine the quinoa and sautéed vegetables thoroughly in a large bowl. Add the grilled chicken and avocados and toss lightly. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
You can easily vary this recipe by changing the sautéed vegetables to suit whatever you have in your refrigerator. Another nice addition would be jalapeño pepper, if you want your salad to have a bit more zing.
Similar to Avocado Chicken Salad Toast, this is not really a recipe–it’s just tossing together some fresh, whole ingredients to make a very good dish. My family ate every single bite. And asked me to make it again the next week–so I guess that makes it a winner!