Super Grain Grilled Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Now that there’s finally a light at the end of the Winter Tunnel, I think it is the perfect time to unveil this delicious “Spring feeling” dish. Although it can be classified as Spring-ish, this recipe is actually something that I make year round and probably eat several times a week. 🙂 I absolutely love it!

This Super Grain Grilled Chicken Salad recipe is filled with Mediterranean flavors and packed with fresh vegetables like red bell peppers, scallions, green beans and kalamata olives. The rich sweet and tart complexity of the balsamic vinaigrette adds the finishing touch and ties all of the ingredients together. It is a simple yet vibrant dish, bursting with beautiful colors, varying textures, and succulent flavors.

Plus this Super Grain Grilled Chicken Salad is super easy to create, making it perfect for a quick weeknight dinner and when entertaining – hello Pool Parties!!! This recipe also packs well for work lunches and is perfect as next day leftovers. All of the ingredients can actually be prepped in advance – you can blanch the green beans, cook the super grain blend, make the vinaigrette and chop the veggies and olives ahead of time. You can even use leftover chicken breast so when the craving calls, all you have to do is assemble and enjoy!

For this recipe you will need a super grain blend (Whole Foods has a great blend or you can just use quinoa), boneless skinless chicken breasts, red bell peppers, green beans, scallions, pitted kalamata olives, Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

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In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the grains and water and bring them to a bowl over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed black pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for approx 15 minutes or until the water has been completely absorbed and the grains are tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, making sure to fluff the grains with a fork after 10 minutes. (All these steps can obviously be skipped if you already cooked your grain blend beforehand – which is usually the case for me). Remove your desired portion to use and place it in a mixing bowl.

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Blanch the fresh green beans in a 4-quart saucepan of lightly boiling water for approximately 2 minutes – you still want them to be crispy – then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Allow the green beans to cool for several minutes then drain and set aside.

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Now it’s time for the balsamic dressing. In a measuring cup or small mixing bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, kosher salt and pepper until everything has emulsified. Set aside.

Dice the red bell peppers, blanched green beans, scallions, and kalamata olives and add them to the cooked grains.

If you are not using leftover chicken, cook up several pieces to use in this dish. I use grilled or sautéed boneless skinless chicken breasts – seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Allow the chicken to briefly rest before slicing while you assemble the dish.

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Add your desired portion of the balsamic vinaigrette to the cooked grains and veggies, along with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and stir until combined. Place the food in a serving dish and top it with the warm sliced chicken. I drizzle a touch more balsamic vinaigrette over the chicken as well and then dig in! I like this dish best when the chicken and quinoa are warm and the veggies are cool. Room temperature is my second favorite way!!!

It is such flavorful, satisfying and healthy dish that can be whipped up mere minutes. Take it from me, you will never get tired of this gem!

Super Grain Grilled Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Author: 
Cuisine: Grains, Mediterranean, Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
A great make ahead dish that is easy to assemble for a delicious healthy and quick meal when you need it!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked organic quinoa or super grain blend (Brand: Whole Foods 365)
  • 2-3 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch long slices
  • 2 cups blanched green beans, cut into 1-inch sections
  • 6 scallions, cut into 1-inch sections
  • ½-3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly diced
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 4-5 fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts (or cooked chicken breasts)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring 1 cup of grains and 2 cups of water to boil in a 4 quart saucepan, then reduce to simmer. Add kosher salt and pepper, cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (Make sure to fluff the grains with a fork after about 10 minute of resting).
  2. Blanch green beans on a low boil for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately place into ice water. Allow to cool.
  3. In a measuring cup, whisk balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper until emulsified. Set aside.
  4. Cut bell peppers, scallions, green beans, and olives to desired sizes (cut recommendations in ingredients section) and place into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add cooked grains to mixing bowl.
  6. Season fresh chicken breasts and cook on grill (or in sauté pan) for 10-12 minutes (5-6 minutes per side) until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to rest for several minutes.
  7. Add desired amount of balsamic vinaigrette over the veggies and grains, mixing to combine. Place into serving bowls.
  8. Slice chicken and add to the serving bowls.
  9. Top off each dish with Parmigiano-Reggiano and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.
  10. Serve with chicken warm or at room temperature.

 

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