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So now that it is the beginning of 2019 and everyone is in full on “get all of the carbs out of my sight” mode, I’m over here balancing my mini snickers with some healthier choices at meal times.
Enter the Power Chicken Salad
Tonight for dinner I came up with this Power Chicken Salad. Doesn’t that sounds healthy and fancy? I know, I know, I can feel the strength coursing through my veins as I write this post. Ok, maybe not really, BUT it was pretty delicious and I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt eating it. Its got veggies and grains, its full of protein and tastes absolutely amazing!!!
This salad would make an EXCELLENT meal prep option and you could even mix up the proteins for different variations and cuisine styles. More on that below. For my salad, I used a butter lettuce salad greens mix from Aldi, but any style of lettuce you prefer would do just fine. Then I layered on some fresh baby spinach to channel my inner Popeye and amp up the vitamin factor just a smidge. I diced some tomatoes and threw in for good measure, because well, salad… Next up is component number 1 to making this “Power Salad” actually powerful. Quinoa! My hubby won’t eat rice unless its in very specific unhealthily cooked manners, so we eat quinoa in its place. I should thank him for making me substitute the starchy filler with something far more nutritious, but let’s not get carried away now.
Top it Off
To make my quinoa, I always buy the pre-rinsed kind. First I add however much I’m cooking to a dry sauce pan. Then swirl it around every minute or so to prevent sticking, and after a couple of minutes I add the required amount of liquid. Be careful here, it might splatter in the hot pan! I usually use water and add some chicken base to the pot for flavor, but if you have stock on hand, by all means use it. It is a flavor BOMB in rices and grains instead of just plain old water. After the quinoa was finished cooking I set it aside to cool while I finished prepping the rest of the ingredients. I topped my salad with maybe a 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the cooked quinoa.
For my protein, I used basic shredded chicken that I made in my Instant Pot (another post on that to follow). It was seasoned simply with just salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Man oh man was it ever tasty!!! You could use whatever protein you like however, or none at all if you want to keep this a vegetarian dish.
The last step to my Power Chicken Salad was the Creamy Garlic Dressing (again, another post to follow, we’ll get there, just hold your horses). You could use any dressing you wish, but I feel like this is what really took this salad to the next level. It was almost like a cross between ranch and caesar if that makes any sense. If you’re not a garlic fan, I would recommend ranch as my next go-to option for sure, but then again, I could eat ranch on a shoe and love it, so there’s that.
Variety and Ease
All in all, I think this will be one of my go-to weeknight meals. I was so excited that I had enough left over for lunch the next day, so that is saying something. I mentioned how easy it would be to meal prep earlier. You could make a big batch of salad and quinoa to portion out ahead of time. For the chicken (or your desired protein) you could cook it fresh, or make a large batch, and you’re good to go! I could eat this salad cold straight from the fridge or with the chicken and quinoa warm, like I did here.
As promised, here is a list of some ways you could mix up the salad while keeping the base of greens and quinoa the same.
- Taco: Taco seasoned ground turkey, fresh bell pepper and tortilla strips with southwest ranch dressing
- Asian: Teriyaki Salmon, shelled edamame, wonton strips, creamy wasabi dressing and sesame seeds
- Italian: Lemon Pepper chicken with pesto vinaigrette and chunks of mozzarella
Spam me with your pics if you recreate this Power Salad. You can find me on Instagram @Mess.Marvelous or post it to my Facebook Page! Thanks for stopping by friends!!!
As always XOXO