This recipe for my healthy Spicy Chicken, Kale, and Quinoa Salad has become a staple in my meal plans this summer! Let’s break it down–spiciness from the hot sauce adds a TON of flavor, kale is one of my favorite superfoods, and quinoa adds even more protein and micronutrients to make this salad as healthy as it is tasty!
Let’s talk a little about the ingredients, just because I am a nutrition nerd. Kale is referred to as a “superfood” because it is one of the healthiest foods out there due to it’s high content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. I used to be afraid of it, but once I tried it, I now enjoy it in salads, roasted, in soups, or scrambled into eggs or an omelet. It’s so much more exciting (and nutritionally dense) than regular ol’ lettuce! Just try it–you can thank me later.
Next up is quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah.” It sounds weird and therefore I had never tried it until a few years ago. Now I use it in place of rice, or in salads, oatmeal or homemade granola bars to add protein. It is actually a grain, but has far more protein than rice or pasta. I always go for the most nutritionally dense foods when given a choice, and quinoa has more calcium than milk, and is an excellent source of iron, phosphorus, B vitamins and vitamin E.
The rest of the salad is chicken and veggies, flavored with fresh herbs, lime juice, garlic….my mouth is watering just thinking about it. No oily dressings, (although I love a good oil and vinegar based salad-dressing), no pants-button-busting huge amount of calories, just simple ingredients with maximum flavor. It’s versatile too. I used orange bell peppers because I had a few to use up still from my Bountiful Basket. I happen to have green onions growing in the garden. But you can substitute what you have on hand. No corn? Leave it out. Still an amazing meal!
And good news for all of you following the 21 Day Fix Nutrition Plan like I have been for over 2 years, this is “Fix-approved!” Check out the recipe card for container equivalents.
The first couple of times I made this I made it and stored it in a huge covered bowl in the fridge, but last week I did something for even easier meal prep–I put it in individual serving containers so I could just grab and go! Perfectly portioned, no counting calories required!
I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I have been.
- 3 c. cooked, diced chicken breast
- 1 c. quinoa, cooked in 2 cups of water
- 4 c. chopped kale
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and green ends
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 c. cooked corn
- 1/4 c. fresh chopped cilantro
- 1-2 cloves fresh pressed garlic
- 1/4. c. lime juice
- 1/4 c. hot sauce, such as Frank's or sriracha sauce
- 1/4 c. water
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a medium sized pot, combine 2 cups of water with 1 cup of rinsed quinoa and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
- While quinoa is cooking, mix together all ingredients for the dressing.
- In 4 individual mason jars or containers with lids, layer 1/4 of the quinoa on the bottom, followed by 1/4 of the corn, green onions, bell pepper, 3/4 cup of chicken, the dressing, and 1 cup kale. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days.
- 21 Day Fix container Equivalents: 1 red, 1 1/2 green, 2 yellow. Total time is based on the assumption that you have done your meal prep and already have the chicken breasts cooked. If you need them cooked quickly, throw them in a steamer bag and pop them in the microwave according to instructions on the bag. Also feel free to sub any color of bell pepper that you like.