Monday, March 10, 2014

Quinoa Kale & Brussel Sprout Salad Topped with Chile Marinated Baked Chicken

Ever need a quick, easy, flavorful and impressive meal? Well, this is the meal to make. 
Last month one of my best friends from grade school was in town and I was hosting the "BF dinner".   She doesn't visit too often, but when she does, the girls all try to get together to reminisce about our 20+ years of friendship.  
I told the girls I would take care of the appetizer and main course and they were to bring dessert and wine, lots of wine :-).   The appetizer was easy, I have gotten very good at creating the perfect cheese platter, definitely a blog post for the future.  As for the main course, I had been watching a new show on The Food Network called "The Kitchen". The show is really good, worth watching.  Anyways, Marcela Valladolid was making a chicken salad that really intrigued me.  I later looked up the recipe and decided it was going to be the main course. Yes, I know the rule"you shouldn't experiment with new dishes when hosting a party", but as Faye would say, I don't stick to the rules very often, and my boyfriend would say I don't listen :-).  The good thing I figured out about this salad was that there was a lot of the steps you can make the day before.  
I modified Marcela's original recipe a bit for my taste - changed the rub (using different chilies), changed the way the chicken was cooked (she fried it, I baked) and changed the type of cheese (I used Feta instead of Cotija). 
Honestly this Quinoa, Kale & Brussel Sprout Salad with Chile Marinated Baked Chicken came out AMAZING! This is on my "Crave" list now!  The salad is flavorful, none of that bitterness you get with Kale and Brussels sprouts ( I know, but trust me, its true!).  The dressing mixture of Dijon and lemon give a great combo of creamy and tart flavor.  And the Chicken... just enough spice to leave them guessing... honestly I'm getting hungry just looking at the picture.  
I really hope you give this salad a try! Next time you are hosting your own BF girls dinner at your place, make this salad and ,trust me, you will be receiving many requests for the recipe.

Happy Cooking Everyone!

        "Friendship, good food and good wine go hand in hand "

Quinoa, Kale & Brussel Sprouts Salad with Chile Marinated Baked Chicken
Serves 4
Adapted from here

For Quinoa:

1 cup dried Quinoa

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

For Chicken:

1 ½ pounds Chicken tenders or Two large Chicken Breast (boneless)

2 teaspoons Chile Powder

1 dash of Chipotle powder

1 garlic clove (grated)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil  (3 for pan, 2 for rub)


¼ lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 small shallot finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped (I used my garlic press)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup Virgin Olive Oil

For Salad:

1 Large Bunch of kale or two small ones, stem removed and thinly sliced

12 Brussels sprouts (about 1 pound) cored and thinly sliced

2/3 cup slivered almonds (toasted)

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Prep work:
a.boil 2 cup of water in a small pan with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 pepper.  Once boiling, add 1 cup of quinoa and cover. lower heat to low.  Cook for 15-17 minutes till water has completely absorbed.   Remove from stove and cool.
b. once quinoa is cool, take a fork and fluff it up.

a.  in a 2 quart casserole pan, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of olive oil. make sure pan is completely coated.
b. combine 2 teaspoons chili powder, dash of chipotle ,garlic, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil together  to make the rub. set aside

c. take chicken (make sure its dry) and rub chili mixture onto each piece and put into pan.

d. bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
e. Remove from oven. Serve warm.
(CAN BE MADE A DAY AHEAD. Warm up in microwave 30 seconds)

3. Dressing
a. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil into a jar and shake till dressing is nice an thick. set in refrigerator.

a. Take Kale and remove stem from the middle of each leaf. Once you have removed all the center stems, cut kale into very thin strips.

b. take Brussel  sprouts, cut in half, then core the center (I just cut each one out in a triangle shape).  Once all have been cored, cut into  very thin strips.

c. take a fry pan, and toast the almonds . (set stove at medium/high heat, add almond, stir constantly.  They are done quickly.  once you smell them.  do not burn them)(CAN BE MADE THE DAY BEFORE , EXCEPT DO NOT ADD THE ALMOND TO THE BOWL)


1. In a large salad bowl, combine quinoa, kale, brussel sprouts, almonds and all the dressing. Carefully combine till dressing has lightly coated all salad.  Add Feta Cheese, and stir.

2. Cut chicken into slices and serve on top of salad.



  1. I love how this recipe is full of healthy ingredients! Each component sounds super tasty.

    1. Thanks Joanne! It's nice to eat healthy every once in a while :)