Chicken Quinoa Salad

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Dinner, Recipes


Chicken Quinoa Salad is a perfect blend of nutrition and taste, offering a hearty meal that’s both satisfying and health-conscious. This salad combines the lean protein of chicken with the superfood quinoa, alongside a variety of fresh vegetables, making it an ideal choice for anyone.

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Why Choose Chicken Quinoa Salad?

High in protein and fiber

Full of essential vitamins and minerals

Versatile and easy to customize


Can I use a different type of quinoa?

Yes, any color quinoa (white, red, or black) works well in this salad.

How long can I store Chicken Quinoa Salad in the fridge?

Properly stored, it can last up to 3 days.

Are there any vegan alternatives for chicken in this salad?

Yes, chickpeas, tofu, or tempeh make great plant-based protein sources.

Overview of Ingredients

The beauty of chicken quinoa salad lies in its versatility. Here are the essential ingredients that form the foundation of this dish:

  • Quinoa: cooked until fluffy and light.
  • Chicken: grilled or baked, and then sliced or shredded.
  • Greens: spinach, arugula, or mixed greens for a fresh base.
  • Vegetables: Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions offer crunch and color.
  • Extras: Add in things like feta cheese, olives, or nuts for added texture and flavor.
  • Dressing: A simple vinaigrette or a lemony dressing to brighten the dish.

Check out Recipes Gabriela’s guide on the best seasoning for chicken if you want to learn more about how to use chicken in different recipes.


Chef’s Tips for Perfect Chicken Quinoa Salad

A tasty and healthy chicken quinoa salad demands careful preparation and creativity. Expert advice to make the perfect salad every time:

Select the Right Quinoa

Choose a high-quality quinoa. There are several varieties, including white, red, and black quinoa, each offering a slightly different texture and nutty flavor. White quinoa is the fluffiest and mildest in taste, which makes it a great canvas for your salad.

Cook the Quinoa Properly

For a good salad base, cooking quinoa to perfection is critical. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold water to remove the saponin, which can give it a bitter taste. Add water to the quinoa in a 2:1 ratio, bring it to a boil, and simmer it covered for about 15 minutes or until the water absorbs. Let it sit covered for 5 minutes after cooking, then fluff with a fork.

Marinate the Chicken

Before cooking, marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes to infuse it with flavor. Use olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs like rosemary or thyme. This not only enhances the taste but also helps tenderize the chicken.

Grill or Bake the Chicken

For the healthiest and tastiest results, either grill or bake the chicken. Grilling adds a smoky flavor that pairs wonderfully with the nuttiness of quinoa, while baking allows for a tender, consistent cook.

Balance Your Ingredients

A great chicken quinoa salad is all about balance. Combine the cooked quinoa and chicken with a variety of textures and flavors from ingredients like crispy fresh greens, creamy avocado, sweet cherry tomatoes, and crunchy nuts or seeds.

Dress Appropriately

The dressing should complement the dish without overpowering it. A simple lemon vinaigrette works beautifully—whip together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. For a creamy texture, a tahini-based dressing or Greek yogurt dressing can add depth without excessive calories.

Season Well

Don’t forget to season your salad at every stage. Season the cooking water for both the chicken and quinoa, as well as the marinade and salad dressing. A well-seasoned salad will have layers of flavor that make every bite satisfying.

Let Flavors Mingle

Once assembled, let your salad sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This resting period allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Garnish and Serve

Finish your salad with a sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro, which will add a burst of freshness. A squeeze of lemon or lime just before serving can also enhance the flavors.

Customizing Your Chicken Quinoa Salad

You can easily tailor chicken quinoa salad to suit various dietary needs and flavor preferences. Here are several ways to customize your salad to keep it exciting and delicious every time you prepare it:

Protein Variations

    • Vegetarian Options: Replace chicken with grilled tofu, tempeh, or a hearty legume like chickpeas or black beans to maintain a high protein content while catering to vegetarian or vegan diets.
    • Seafood Twist: For a pescatarian option, consider adding grilled shrimp or flaked salmon instead of chicken. These seafood choices complement the light nature of quinoa and add a rich, savory flavor.

Grain Substitutions

    • Different Grains: Although quinoa is a nutritious choice, you can also experiment with other grains like farro, bulgur, or couscous for different textures and flavors.
    • Low-Carb Options: For a lower-carb version, substitute quinoa with cauliflower rice or chopped mixed greens such as kale and spinach.

Add more vegetables

    • Colorful Veggies: Incorporate a variety of vegetables like red bell peppers, steamed broccoli, or roasted Brussels sprouts to add color, crunch, and additional nutrients.
    • Sweet Elements: To balance the savory flavors, introduce elements of sweetness with diced apples, dried cranberries, or orange segments.

Dressings and Conditions

    • Homemade Dressings: Create your own dressings to control the ingredients and suit your taste. Mix olive oil with balsamic vinegar, or blend avocado with lime juice for a creamy yet healthy dressing.
    • Global Flavors: Spice up your salad with international flair by adding a curry dressing, pesto, or a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil for an Asian-inspired version.

Nutty Crunch

    • Seeds and Nuts: Sprinkle toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds on top of your salad for an added crunch and a boost of healthy fats.
    • Cheese for Richness: Add crumbled feta, shaved Parmesan, or diced mozzarella for a touch of creamy texture and salty flavor.

Herbs and Spices

    • Fresh Herbs: Garnish your salad with fresh herbs like cilantro, dill, or mint to add a burst of freshness and elevate the overall taste.
    • Bold Spices: For seasoning the chicken, consider cumin, coriander, or smoked paprika, or sprinkle over the salad for an extra kick.

Special Diets

    • Gluten-Free: Ensure all ingredients, especially any store-bought items like dressings or marinades, are certified gluten-free.
    • Allergy-Friendly: Be mindful of common allergens like nuts and dairy; substitute or omit these ingredients as necessary to accommodate dietary restrictions.

What goes best with Chicken Quinoa Salad?

Chicken quinoa salad is a flexible dish that pairs well with a variety of accompaniments. Whether you’re planning a light lunch or a fuller dinner, here are some suggestions on what to serve alongside this nutritious salad:

  1. Crusty Bread: A slice of artisanal bread or a piece of garlic toast can complement the textures in the salad and help sop up any remaining dressing.
  2. Soup: Pair the salad with a light vegetable soup or a more robust lentil soup for a satisfying meal.
  3. Grilled Vegetables: Serve alongside grilled asparagus, zucchini, or bell peppers for a warm contrast to the cool, crisp salad.
  4. Fresh Fruit: A side of fresh fruit, such as sliced apples, pears, or a berry mix, can add a sweet note to balance the salad’s savory flavors.
  5. For an upscale addition to the meal: offer a small cheese plate with a variety of cheeses, nuts, and olives.
  6. Roasted sweet potatoes: Their sweet, soft texture complements the nutty quinoa and savory chicken, making for a hearty meal.

These sides not only enhance the eating experience but also help round out the meal, making it more filling and varied in flavor and texture.

Health Benefits of Chicken Quinoa Salad

Chicken quinoa salad is not just tasty—it’s also packed with nutritional benefits, making it an excellent choice for a health-conscious diet.

Healthline has a full guide on quinoa that tells you more about its health benefits and why it makes a great salad base.

  • High Protein Content: Both chicken and quinoa are great sources of high-quality protein, which is vital for muscle repair, growth, and overall bodily functions.
  • Quinoa is high in fibe: which aids digestion and can help manage blood sugar levels, promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing appetite.
  • Low in Calories: You can make this salad with low-calorie ingredients, which makes it perfect for managing your weight.
  • Packed with Vitamins and Minerals: Ingredients like leafy greens and vegetables in the salad are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and magnesium, which are crucial for maintaining many body functions.
  • Heart Health: Monounsaturated fats, which are known to be heart-healthy, are abundant in the olive oil often used in salad dressings.
  • Antioxidants: Many of the ingredients, especially the colorful vegetables and herbs, contain antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress in the body, reducing inflammation and promoting overall health.

Chicken quinoa salad is tasty and healthful for a balanced lifestyle due to its health advantages. This salad is tasty and nutritious for lunch or supper.

Why not try making a great chicken quinoa salad now that you know how? Try various ingredients and dressings to discover your favourites and share them with friends and family. Begin your healthier, tastier diet now!


Chicken Quinoa Salad

Discover how to make a nutritious chicken quinoa salad, perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. Fresh, healthy, and delicious!

  • Author: Gabriela cardenas
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Boil, Saute
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • Dressing:
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water or chicken broth to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until golden and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes per side. Let cool, then dice.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, diced chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, feta, and olives.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
  5. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


  • For added flavor, cook the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water.
  • Let the quinoa cool to room temperature before adding other ingredients to prevent wilting of the greens.
  • This salad can be made ahead of time, making it perfect for meal prep. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Keywords: Chicken Quinoa Salad, quinoa chicken salad, healthy chicken salad, protein-rich salad, easy quinoa salad

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!


Chicken Quinoa Salad

Chicken Quinoa Salad is a perfect blend of nutrition and taste, offering a hearty meal that’s both satisfying and health-conscious. This salad combines the lean protein of chicken with the superfood quinoa, alongside a variety of fresh vegetables, making it an ideal choice for anyone

  • Author: Gabriela cardenas
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: recipes


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water or chicken broth (for cooking quinoa)

2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced

1 avocado, diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cucumber, diced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper to taste


Cook the Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa under cold water. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water or chicken broth to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let it cool.

Prepare the Chicken: While the quinoa is cooking, grill the chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper until fully cooked and juicy. Let them rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, minced garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined.

Assemble the Salad: In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, sliced chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and parsley. Drizzle with the dressing and toss until everything is evenly coated. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

Serve: Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator before serving for a refreshing touch


Flavor Boost: For an extra flavor boost, cook the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water.

Grill Marks: For beautiful grill marks on the chicken, make sure your grill is hot before adding the chicken.

Dressing Variation: Feel free to adjust the dressing ingredients according to your taste. Adding a teaspoon of Dijon mustard can introduce a nice tangy flavor.

Storage: This salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If storing, consider adding the avocado and dressing just before serving to maintain freshness.

Customization: This recipe is highly customizable. Feel free to add other vegetables like bell peppers or spinach, or swap out feta cheese for goat cheese or queso fresco for different flavors.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!


Healthy Chicken Salad / Protein-Rich Salad / Quinoa Chicken Salad

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