Delicious and Healthy: Garam Masala Quinoa Chicken Salad

quinoaAfter two weeks of non-stop travel and eating out, we were craving something healthy. Don’t get me wrong, we ate good… Oh. So. Good! There’s nothing like southern food! That’s a story for another post. Recommendations to come soon!

I came up with this recipe a couple of years ago. I was challenged to come up with something for an elimination diet I was doing. No dairy, no eggs, no pork or red meat, no wheat, no sugar, no white rice …the list goes on. The idea is to not eat anything that you might be allergic to and then slowly reintroduce food groups. It wasn’t easy, but it forced me to cook out of my comfort zone and rely more on spices for flavor.

The recipe below came out of that period and is a mainstay during our hot Tucson summer and whenever we need a break from heavy foods. It’s flavorful and hearty. You won’t miss the carbs. It can be served hot or cold. I personally think it’s tastier at room temperature. Also, if you’re feeling lazy, buy the pre-cut pre-washed bagged kale from Trader Joe’s. Enjoy!

Salad
1 ½ cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, stripped from stem and cut into 1″ pieces
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo bean, drained
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast
Canola or vegetable oil
salt
pepper

Dressing
1 lime, juice of
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. garam masala
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

Garnish
1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced
¼ cup Italian parsley, thinly sliced

  1. In saucepan, combine quinoa, chicken broth, water and salt to taste (Alternatively: cook in a rice cooker on the white rice setting)
  2. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed
  3. Set aside
  4. Split chicken breasts. Season with salt and pepper
  5.  In skillet, over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp. oil until hot
  6. Add 1 minced garlic clove and cook for 30 seconds
  7. Add chicken breast to skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until done
  8. Remove chicken from skillet, let cool and shred
  9.  Add another tablespoon of oil to same skillet, add remaining garlic and cook for 30 seconds
  10.  Add kale with a little salt and pepper and sautée for approximately 3 minutes or until soft
  11.  Add garbanzo beans to kale mix and warm in pan for 2 minutes
  12.  In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients together
  13.  In large bowl, combine quinoa, kale mix, dressing and chicken. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if necessary
  14. Serve warm or cold, garnished with avocado and parsley

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