Wednesday, August 7, 2013

RECIPE: Moroccan Chicken and Quinoa Salad

This is officially my family's new favourite food! Even my younger son, who is lukewarm about quinoa at the best of times, gobbled this up and immediately asked me when I was going to be making it again. Traditionally, couscous would be used in this type of Moroccan dish but I really like the texture of quinoa in this type of recipe.

There's a lot to love about this dish: It's quick to prepare, it's nutrient-packed, it's naturally gluten-free for those who need that option, and it's easy to make a vegetarian version. It can also easily be made in advance and keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge. You can serve it warm or cold, so leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day.

I try to keep some shredded chicken handy in the freezer so it's extra quick and easy to make up dishes like this and another huge family favourite, my Chicken Enchiladas. When chicken legs go on sale, I will stock up and split them into thighs and drumsticks. I freeze the thighs whole for use in other dishes, and poach the drumsticks and shred them. If you've never poached chicken, it's very simple: toss the drumsticks into a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or so until the meat is cooked through. Save the cooking water - once you've shredded the meat off the bones, you can return the bones to the water and simmer for another hour or so to get stock.

This recipe makes a generous amount - enough for 4 main course servings plus 2-4 lunch-sized servings.

2 cups uncooked quinoa
4 cups water
2/3 cup olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey
24 dried apricots
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
8-12 green onions, sliced

  • Rinse and drain the quinoa, then place in a large saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the "tails" pop out and quinoa is tender. Let stand, covered, for 10-15 minutes, then uncover and cool to room temperature.
  • While quinoa is cooking, place apricots in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 10-15 minutes, then drain thoroughly and chop apricots.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and salt. In a large bowl or serving dish, stir together the cooked quinoa and the dressing until well combined. Gently stir in the chicken, apricots and green onions.
For a vegetarian version, substitute 3 cups of cooked chickpeas for the chicken.

For more simple, tasty and family-friendly recipes like this one, check out my book: Cheap Appétit: The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Family for Less Than $400 a Month (While Eating Better Than You Ever Thought Possible)

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