The Best Chicken Quinoa Kale Salad Recipe

The Best Chicken Quinoa Kale Salad Recipe

If you are new here Kyle, our project manager, spent years cooking things up in some of Minneapolis’s most famous fine dining places such as Spoon & Stable and Haute Dish and even went to school at Le Cordon Bleu. And this recipe is on repeat in our home, the best chicken quinoa kale salad you’ll have eaten. It has such simple ingredients, easy to make, and is beyond flavorful! We always have this in our fridge as it’s delicious both hot and cold and easy to grab and go. 

Nutritious Meals for Postpartum Moms

Kyle originally made this recipe for us when Ellie was born. He offered to make some meals for me to take some things off of my plate. Talk about THE BEST GIFT you can ever give to a new mom. 

Nutritious Meals for Postpartum Moms

Even better – it makes for both a great side salad or even a main dish! 

Nutritious Meals for Postpartum Moms

And it’s loaded with nutrients! Kyle shared some great resources to get the basics of the benefits of protein and carbs.  Turmeric is also a big part of this recipe, which helps with inflammation, and ginger and Ceylon (real cinnamon) to help with digestion. Both are very common issues after childbirth. It’s also important to remember that not all bodies are the same. 

So let’s get cooking…

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breast
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup red pepper
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ginger 
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Nutritious Meals for Postpartum Moms

Instructions:

Start by washing your kale and pulling the leaves from the stem. Once the kale is pulled and cleaned, lay the leaves flat on a cutting board and cut them thinly. After they are cut, put them in a large mixing bowl, add your vinegar, and give it a toss.

Next, start your quinoa. Quinoa comes in many varieties so it’s up to you which one you choose to use.

Measure out 1 cup quinoa, rinse it under cold water, and strain through a fine-mesh strainer. There are many methods of cooking quinoa but we like to use the Instapot. Add about 1 tbsp of olive oil to your Instapot, add 1 cup quinoa, 1 1/2 cup water, a pinch of salt, and finally 1 tbsp ginger and turmeric (powdered or fresh minced both work).

Nutritious Meals for Postpartum Moms

Now start cooking your chicken. Again, it’s up to you if you prefer chicken breast or thighs (both have different health benefits so use which one suits you best). Also, the cooking method is up to you and what you are most comfortable with. I prefer to pan sear with olive oil and butter. For this method, start by getting your pan hot by turning your stovetop to medium-high and add about 2 tbsp olive oil to your pan.

Coat your chicken thoroughly on all sides with salt and pepper by sprinkling the season with your hands (not from the container EVER) from about 12 inches away to ensure it is covered evenly. Once the pan is hot add the chicken, skin side down to an area that is covered with oil. Be sure to press down firmly on the chicken to make sure the surface of the chicken is in contact with the pan, then let this cook for about 2 1/2 minutes.

Remember to watch your chicken. Not every piece of chicken is the same size or shape, and some stovetops are hotter than others, so it’s up to you to make sure you don’t burn the chicken. When you can see the sides are turning white and the cooked side is golden brown, flip the chicken and reduce your heat to medium.

Now add 1/2 tbsp of butter to the pan and let cook for about 2 minutes. Once you feel the chicken is fully cooked (it should be golden brown and firm to the touch) take the pan off the heat and cover the chicken with a lid or tin foil to let it rest (always let your meat rest).

While your chicken is resting, peel your sweet potato and cut it into a large dice. Always be sure to use a sharp knife. Sweet potatoes are very firm, so if you are not comfortable with your knife skills, you can buy precut sweet potatoes at nearly all grocery stores. In a large saute pan or skillet, add 2 heaping tbsp of oil.

Again use your preference of oil; I prefer coconut oil. Once the oil is hot add the sweet potatoes evenly to the pan. You may need to do two batches if your pan is not big enough. Salt the potatoes from 12 inches away and make sure you are constantly tossing and moving the potatoes in the pan to make sure they are cooking evenly.

Be careful when tossing in the pan, there is hot oil in there so if you don’t feel safe you can use a spoon or spatula. Once the potatoes are evenly cooked on all sides, they will have a dark brown tint to them. They will look more burnt than they really are, you may want to practice on a few pieces. Pour the potatoes onto a plate with a paper towel to remove the excess oil, then pour the potatoes directly on top of the kale you have set aside.

Cut your red peppers into medium dice. Bring a large saute pan to high heat and add oil; you can reuse the same pan from the sweet potatoes. Using the same method as the sweet potatoes, cook the red pepper. This will take much less time to cook, only about 30 seconds. Again, drain the excess oil and add the peppers to the kale.

You can now cut your rested chicken into bite-sized pieces and add them to your kale. You can also add your pepitas and cranberries (craisins also work) and give it all a stir and get ready to enjoy.

Chicken Kale Quinoa Salad

Chicken Kale Quinoa Salad

Yield: 4 quarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

It doesn't get much more healthy than this! This is the ultimate salad to get your protein, complex carbohydrates, and anti-inflammatory agents!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts 
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBS minced ginger 
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 avocado

Instructions

    1.Wash and pick your kale. Slice the kale, place in a mixing bowl, and add your apple cider vinegar.

    2.Cook your quinoa. Once it's finished, add it to the bowl with the kale and vinegar.

    3.Cook your chicken and set aside to rest.

    4.Saute your sweet potatoes and red pepper separately and add them to the mixing bowl.

    5.Once the chicken has rested and cooled cut it into bite-sized pieces and add them to the mixing bowl.

    6.Finally, add your cranberry and pepitas and mix all your ingredients thoroughly and enjoy.

Mmmmm, now go enjoy!! And you might want to triple the recipe for yourself. 

 

The Best Chicken Quinoa Kale Salad Recipe 2

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