You know what’s better than a healthy meal? One that’s just as beautiful as it tastes! I mean seriously look at this bowl of goodness! It’s the perfect transition from summer to fall by incorporating garden fresh greens, juicy tomatoes and flavors like tart apple and sweet maple. It’s so simple to toss together (pun intended) you’ll be making it all day, everyday! By topping it with toasted quinoa you can keep it nut-free without sacrificing a little added crunch and protein. This salad not only captures the beginning of the new season but makes saying goodbye to summer worth every single delicious bite!
Tip: the toasted quinoa also works great as a crunchy topping for smoothie bowls, oatmeal and soup! Just seal any extra in a jar and place in the fridge until ready to use!
Chicken Apple Cheddar Salad with Toasted Quinoa & Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 2-3 depending on portion size/ Prep time: 10 minutes/ Cook time: 12-15 minutes
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 c quinoa, rinsed but uncooked
- 5 large handfuls of mixed greens, rinsed and dried
- 1 large apple, cored, diced and tossed in 1 tbsp lemon juice to prevent browning
- 1 c cherry or plum tomatoes, left whole
- 1 c cucumber, diced
- 1 c sharp cheddar, diced
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and pepper
- In a grill or fry pan cook chicken over medium heat for about 12 minutes, flipping halfway until cooked through and no longer pink. Set aside when done to cool.
- In the meantime, place rinsed quinoa in a separate fry pan and toast lightly over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Make sure to gently toss as it cooks to prevent burning. (You’ll know when it’s ready as it will have a nutty fragrance and also begin to pop.) Set aside to cool when done.
- To make the vinaigrette, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to thoroughly incorporate.
- Assemble the salad by placing the greens in a large bowl and add in the remaining toppings including the chicken. Top with the toasted quinoa and dressing when ready to serve.