When you find peaches that actually smell and taste like peaches, it’s a good time to put them to good use in the kitchen. Already a fan of white Doughnut Peaches, decided to use these yellow peaches in this delicious Quinoa Salad with Grilled Peaches and Chicken. I am sure by now you know how to pronounce quinoa. When I first came across quinoa I mispronounced the word and watching a cooking program highlighting quinoa set me straight, “keen-wah” sounded so much more edible! Hailed as a superfood and the “gold of the Incas”, quinoa is high in protein and a good source of minerals and fiber.
You can use the red or white varieties of quinoa with this recipe but I love the contrasting colors of the black quinoa, grilled yellow-orange peaches, white creamy feta cheese and green rocket leaves. Black and red quinoa have a bit more a bite, with a crunchier texture than fluffy white quinoa. Even if your packet of quinoa states that it has been pre-washed, it’s a good idea to give it a good rinse anyway, as some of the seeds natural coating of saponins (which are bitter-tasting) may remain. Do use a fine meshed strainer when rinsing, otherwise you will end up washing those tiny quinoa seeds down the drain of your kitchen sink. Love the tiny squiggly tails of the cooked quinoa seeds, which you can see in the front bowl above.
If you wish to cut corners, buy a ready roasted chicken and simple slice it instead of grilling the chicken fillets. There are many other ways of adding this superfood to your recipes, like these Roasted Shrimp Quinoa Spring Rolls. In fact these Healthy Shrimp and Kiwi Rolls that I made perviously would also be delicious with a few tablespoons of cooked quinoa added to the filling. I have not made patties out of quinoa yet, but might be inspired to make them after seeing these tasty looking Garlic and Thyme Quinoa Patties. A tasty and colorful salad to brighten up your August and perfect for serving at lunch or a light evening meal, or when dining “al fresco”.
Quinoa Salad with Grilled Peaches and Chicken
- 225g of quinoa, black or red
- 500ml of cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 4 chicken fillets (boneless and skinless) (flatten each fillet to a 1/4 inch thickness)
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 4 peaches, halved, stone removed and each half cut into 4 pieces
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 4 handfuls of rocket leaves
- 1 large spring onion finely chopped (green and white part)
- 110g of creamy feta cheese, cut into small cubes or you could use a soft goats cheese
For the dressing
- 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
How to make: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water. Add the quinoa, water and sea salt to a medium saucepan and bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes until tender and all the water is absorbed. Place the cooked quinoa into a bowl, fluff up with a fork and leave to cool.
Heat a ridged grill-pan to high. Brush the chicken fillets with olive oil and season with some sea salt. Heat a ridged grill-pan to medium high and lightly brush the grill pan with some olive oil. Grill the chicken fillets for about 3 to 4 minutes each side (depending on thickness) or until done. Remove to a plate and cool.
Gently toss the peach slices and honey together. Heat a ridged grill pan to medium and lightly brush with olive oil. Grill peaches for about 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks are visible and the peaches have softened a little, but not mushy. Remove to a plate and cool.
To make the salad dressing: Add the mustard, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and garlic into a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients together, then gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season the dressing with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
To assemble: Toss the quinoa, spring onion and 2 tablespoons of the dressing together, season to taste with a little more sea salt if needed. Scatter the quinoa salad over the base of a serving plate. Cut the chicken fillets into slices and place on top of the quinoa. Place the grilled peaches in between the chicken slices and dot the feta cheese cubes over the chicken and peaches. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad and serve.