You know the problem with most quinoa salads?
There’s not enough meat in them.
Juuust kidding. Let’s not get any knickers in a knot, I don’t really mean that at all.
On second and third thought, maybe there’s a little bit of underlying truth to that statement.
I adore quinoa salads, will choose them first and foremost when I have the opportunity and I think they scream “Summer IS HERE BABY!” almost as much as a good burger does.
That said, have you ever looked at the calories in quinoa?
Holy Dinah. Quinoa is on most lists of deceiving healthy foods for calorie counts. It’s right up there with rice at around 222 calories for a cup. Without anything else in it. I adore the Costco quinoa salad for a quick fix when I don’t have time to make one up but when I took a look at the calories on it one day I was instantly depressed. By the time you factor in oils, sugars and more in the dressings you are looking at the fact that you can have one measly cup (280 calories) for lunch if you’re looking at keeping calories in check for the day. Now to be honest, considering the beans and such on there, I’m not sure that 280 calories is quite right….but that’s what the internet tells me.
My point – and I do have one- is that most quinoa salads are heavy-duty on the quinoa, which makes sense, it’s a quinoa salad, right?
When I first thought of changing the traditional chicken curried salad that has been around for years into a chicken quinoa salad, I had some restructuring of the recipe to do.
- No more mayo. <— just typing that made me feel like I just spilled coffee down the front of your shirt. Or kicked a puppy. I’m so sorry.
- Less quinoa
- More healthy “filler” foods
While quinoa is beloved as a great source of protein, I thought that making use of the best of both protein worlds here was in order (plant and meat proteins) Don’t worry, there are lots more quinoa salad recipes coming that are meat free. I had chicken to use up!
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 cups of chopped cooked skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup of diced celery
- 1/2 cup of red or green grapes
- 1/2 diced apples
- 1/3 cup of toasted pecan halves
- 1/3 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon of mild curry
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- Combine the first 6 ingredients.
- In a small measuring cup, combine the broth, curry and sugar.
- Pour the broth over the quinoa mix, stirring until it's covered.
- At this point, taste.
- If you want more broth with curry, mix and add according to your tastes.
Notice the small – but still important – role that the quinoa takes in the salad. It’s just enough to get a good taste and reap the health benefits, but we are filling this salad with healthy apples, grapes, celery and chicken breast instead of so much quinoa! I much prefer this ratio now that we have started eating it this way. You can also leave out the pecans if need be, but they do add a lovely crunch and flavor!
If you make sure your vegetable broth is gluten-free, then the whole dish is!
Play around with the broth, 1/3 of a cup was not enough moisture for Mike, but I thought it was just right. Mix up the same ratio (1/3 cup broth, 1 tsp curry and 1/2 tsp sugar) then add another tablespoon, one at a time until it’s just perfect for your tastebuds! I wouldn’t omit the sugar, it’s needed to cut the curry taste.
NOW. Whatever you do, set aside about a third of a cup of this beauty for the next day, ok? I have another fast lunch idea for this that I will post right away!
Happy Wednesday everyone! Has anyone been out camping yet? Are your gardens in?
My garden is in and my back still aches from it. My word, I took a year off from a vegetable garden and I’ve turned into a wuss with the spade! But oh my, I sure hope everything grows, there are so many very exciting things I have planned!
Ahhh Summertime Foods Just Can’t Be Beat Magpie