Fluffy quinoa mixed with crisp cucumbers, fresh peas, and bursting pomegranate seeds is the base of this wholesome chicken salad. Clean Chicken Quinoa Salad is a healthy meal with a simple olive oil and squeezed lemon dressing.
A Delicious London-Inspired Salad
There were noises all around me as a gingerly stepped out into the town of London, but this being my first trip away from my children all I heard was quiet. I soaked up the crisp Autumn sun and sought out a salad for lunch.
It was just before the lunch rush but I noticed a line beginning to form outside of a place called Leon. The darling little lunch spot, which I later learned was known for its salads, would be one of my first meals in Europe.
I struggled between all their delicious easy options and eventually chose the “super clean chicken salad”. The ingredients were simple, which is where clean in the name came from, yet bold in flavor, and inspired this recipe.
Quinoa is an ingredient I often incorporate into my meals, especially salads like this one or like this Asian Sesame Quinoa Salad. It bulks up the meal and adds a healthy element of protein.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make this Salad
This is a gluten-free quinoa salad recipe that has simple ingredients and makes a very basic salad. If you’d like more of a true chicken salad then you can add mayonnaise to the dressing mixture before tossing it with the salad.
- Cooked Quinoa
- Rotisserie Chicken or Shredded Chicken
- Sundried Tomatoes
- Pomegranate Seeds
- Olive Oil
- Fresh Squeezed Lemon
- Dijon Mustard
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make Chicken Quinoa Salad
- Prepare the quinoa. Soak and rinse the quinoa then bring it to a boil in 2 cups of water. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on to let it cool and finish cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper together until smooth.
- Arrange the salad. In a large bowl add the rotisserie chicken, quinoa, sundried tomatoes, cucumber, peas, pomegranate seeds, and fresh parsley and toss to combine.
- Mix in the dressing. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad and toss to coat evenly.
Quick Guide to Cooking Quinoa
Quinoa is a super versatile ingredient and makes a great addition to side dishes or salads. I like to make a large batch and keep it sealed in an air-tight container in the fridge to use throughout the week.
From start to finish it takes about 25 minutes to make cooked quinoa.
- Soak: Place the dry quinoa in a medium-sized bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 2 minutes.
- Rinse: Pour the quinoa into a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear for about 30 seconds.
- Cook: Add the rinsed quinoa to a medium-sized pot fitted with a lid. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Simmer: Once the water boils immediately reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa absorbs all the water.
- Cool: Turn off the heat, but leave the lid on the pot and let sit for 5 minutes before removing and fluffing with a fork.
Super Clean Chicken and Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups Quinoa
- 4 cups Water
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 3 cups Rotisserie Chicken or shredded chicken
- 1/2 cup Sundried Tomatoes chopped
- 2 medium Cucumbers peeled and sliced
- 2 cups Peas cooked and cooled
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
- 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
- Place the quinoa in a large bowl and cover with cold water, let sit for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the quinoa to a mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water for half a minute, until the water runs clear.
- Place the quinoa in a large pot fitted with a lid and add the 4 cups of water and salt to the pot. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and then once boiling reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. If quinoa is still wt after, continue to cook, but watch for an additional 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid to fluff with a fork.
- In a large bowl add the rotisserie or shredded chicken, quinoa, sundried tomatoes, cucumber, peas, pomegranate seeds, and fresh parsley. Toss to combine evenly.
- In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together until combined. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.