Quinoa is my new favorite food. It’s so yummy, although it’s pretty bland by itself. I know that’s not a ringing endorsement, but all it needs is a great sauce or dressing, than BAM! So, so good! This is a super healthy and tasty meal that will be going into my regular dinner rotation from here on out.
I actually like leftovers (most of the time), but it can actually be a bit of problem when you’re a food blogger. Leftovers make mealtime easy, but it also means that I only cook a handful of meals per week. This can lead to problems for me when a recipe tastes terrible. #FirstWorldProblems, I know.
One of my goals during my break was to get a few recipes queued up, so it wasn’t a major issue if a recipe bombed, which happens more than you know! I now have a few new recipes ready to go, and this was one of my favorites.
It’s really simple to make and the chicken is so flavorful, which isn’t always easy for me to accomplish. Chicken, while good for you, can be surprisingly difficult to make.
Much like quinoa, it’s a bit bland on its own, so this chicken marinates in a lovely lime honey concoction that gave it so much flavor. Next, it has to be cooked just right, resulting in a juicy, but fully cooked, piece of chicken. While you never want to eat raw or undercooked chicken, dry, chewy chicken isn’t much better.
Years ago, my old employer hosted a cooking class as a client event and I learned a great method for cooking chicken. The chef advised to just slightly undercook the chicken, then let it rest under aluminum foil for 10 minutes (off the heat) while it finishes cooking and reaches its safe internal temperature.
There has only been one time when I checked the chicken that it wasn’t done, so it has become my go-to cooking method for cooking chicken. Raw chicken is dangerous. Dry chicken is yucky. But juicy chicken is a good, good, good thing.
The dressing for the quinoa has a tart bite, but once mixed in with the quinoa, it’s perfect. This is a great weeknight recipe as it comes together quickly (you could even make the quinoa in advance) and the leftovers taste great too.
Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 5 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. chicken breasts boneless and skinless
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large oranges peeled and segmented
- 1 ripe avocado peeled and cubed
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- In a 1-quart ziploc bag, combine the honey, lime juice, smoked paprika and garlic powder. Close bag and shake to combine. Add chicken breasts and refrigerate up to 4 hours but for at least 30 minutes.
- Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside. You can eat this dish either hot, warm or cold. My preference is warm.
- In a grill pan or skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Salt and pepper chicken to taste and add to skillet, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side. Finish chicken in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (depends on the thickness of chicken breast). Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Check internal temperature is 165 F and cut chicken into slices or large chunks.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa and dressing. Stir in chicken, orange segments and avocado. Serve immediately.
I hope you and your family love this recipe as much as I do. Enjoy!