On days when I cook for myself, I look for simple salad meals that I can pack for lunch as well. This salad was just that; a beautiful lunchbox meal. With summers approaching Sydney, it is definitely time for summery lunch salads.
And thank you Jamie for making me like quinoa again!! I had given up on quinoa because the last time I cooked it, it was terribly bitter and inedible. But that was because I hadn’t cooked it well. So I braved it again and this time washed out the quinoa 10 times before cooking it and it worked wonders. Tada! No bitterness at all.
So many flavours come together beautifully in this dish. Summery and fresh herbed-quinoa with spiced chicken; sweet peppers with salty feta and fresh avocado; and dollops of yoghurt which prevent the dish from tasting dry. What an amazing combination. It truly is an explosion of flavours in your mouth!
This recipe also called for mangoes which I saw mangoes just last week at my supermarket, but they haven’t properly arrived and so when I went again on the weekend, alas, there were no mangoes to be seen. I think the recipe is just fantastic without them though – I think mangoes would make the dish too sweet.
I definitely cannot afford to make Jamie’s recipes frequently because he calls for too many ingredients per recipe and only uses a tiny amount in each; which means several $$$$$$$$$$$ spent at the supermarket. Not economically feasible folks.
Having said that, I am very pleased with this recipe because it turned out way better than I expected 🙂 I packed it for lunch and assembled it at work. Needless to say, several colleagues were eyeing my plate with admiration (and jealousy)! 🙂
Taste – 5/5
Time – 4/5
Jamie’s San Fran Quinoa and Blackened Chicken Salad
1 mug (300g) of quinoa
1 fresh red chilli (I omitted this)
100g baby spinach
4 spring onions
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 ripe large mango (I omitted this)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado
50g feta cheese (I used Danish feta – it has a creamier texture than Greek feta)
1 punnet of cress (I omitted this)
2 x 200g skinless chicken breasts
1 heaped tsp ground allspice (I used mixed spice instead)
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
2 mixed-colour peppers
4 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt (I used low-fat Greek yoghurt)
Put the quinoa into the pan and generously cover with boiling water and the lid. Put the chilli, spinach, trimmed spring onions and coriander (reserving a few leaves) into the processor, tear in the top leafy half of the mint, then blitz until finely chopped. On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper, the allspice and paprika. Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin. Put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until blackened and cooked through.
De-seed the peppers, cut each one into 8 strips and add to the frying pan, tossing regularly. Peel and cut the mango into chunks. Drain the quinoa and rinse under the cold tap, then drain well again and tip on to a serving board or platter. Toss with the blitzed spinach mixture, squeeze over the lime juice, add the extra virgin olive oil, mix well and season to taste.Sprinkle the mango chunks and cooked peppers over the quinoa. Halve and de-stone the avocado, then use a teaspoon to scoop curls of it over the salad. Slice up the chicken, toss the slices in any juices and add to the salad. Crumble over the feta, scatter over the remaining coriander leaves and snip over the cress. Serve with dollops of yoghurt.