Harvest Chicken Quinoa Salad is a healthy and delicious lunch studded with chewy cranberries, juicy pineapple and salty pumpkin seeds along with the tender chicken & protein packed quinoa that are dressed in a homemade pineapple and honey vinaigrette.
Harvest Chicken Quinoa Salad
The lunch struggle is real people! Just when I start to think I have things figured out for healthy lunch options, I either get bored of them or get off track with my planning. A lot of my dinners lately haven’t transported so well for lunch options…or I am just lazy and forget to pack them. When I am left with no lunch, my option is the campus dining services or Subway. While both have great options, they get a bit old after awhile, not to mention they take time away from my desk and waste my lunch break.
I decided I needed to come up with something the would work for a few lunches throughout the week with minimum effort. This Harvest Chicken Quinoa Salad was just what I was looking for. I had been wanting to make something with cranberries and pineapple for the fall and the addition of the salted pumpkin seeds, chicken and quinoa was just the perfect balance of crunch and sweetness.
I used the leftover juice from the pineapple to whip up an easy and delicious vinaigrette to dress the salad with. Along with a little honey, lemon juice, dijon and olive oil, this light and fresh vinaigrette is the perfect compliment to the healthy and hearty salad. It is a tasty lunch option perfect for fall that will leave you begging for more!
- 1 c. quinoa, dry
- 2 c. water
- 2 c. cooked chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken, cubed
- 8 oz. can pineapple tidbits (save the juice)
- ⅔ c. dried cranberries
- ⅔ c. salted & roasted pumpkin seeds
- juice from pineapple tidbits
- juice of one lemon
- ¼ c. olive oil
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. champagne or apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the quinoa and water and give a quick stir. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, giving a quick stir every 5 minutes. The quinoa is done cooking when you see the tiny spirals curling around the grains. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth. Add all of the salad ingredients, including the cooled quinoa and fold everything together until it is all well dressed. Serve at room temperature or chilled.