red quinoa with grilled chicken, roasted fennel, and citrus

This quinoa dish is bright and flavorful, and has great texture thanks to the chewy quinoa and slight crunch from the roasted fennel. The grilled flavor of the chicken also makes this dish feel extra summery; I always associate warm summer weather with the grill. I would recommend pairing this lighter entree with a rose or Sauvignon Blanc.

 

  • Red quinoa (1 cup)

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 medium-sized)

  • Olive oil (4 tablespoons total; 2 tablespoons for salad dressing)

  • Salt (1 teaspoon total; 1/2 teaspoon for salad dressing)

  • Ground black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Fennel bulbs (2 large)

  • Navel oranges (3 medium-sized)

  • Avocado (3 medium-sized)

  • Lemon juice (1 teaspoon)

  • Orange juice (2 tablespoons)

  • Honey (1 teaspoon)

 

  1. In a medium sauce pan, add 1 cup of dry red quinoa and 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. 

  2. Remove cooked quinoa from heat and transfer to a plate; fluff with a fork to facilitate cooling process. Set aside.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  4. In a shallow casserole dish, unwrap the chicken breasts and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (be sure to season both sides).

  5. Spray a cast iron grill pan with non-stick cooking spray.

  6. Heat the grill pan on the stove over high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the hot pan and cook on one side for about 4 minutes.

  7. Flip the chicken breasts and cook on the second side for about 2 minutes.

  8. Place the grill pan with chicken in the preheated oven and finish cooking the chicken for about 20 minutes. 

  9. Once cooked through, remove chicken from oven and let cool on a cutting board for 5 minutes before chopping into bite-sized pieces.

  10. While chicken is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Slice the fennel bulbs into thin strips.

  11. Spread the fennel slices out on a foil-lined baking tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the fennel with tongs to ensure the slices are evenly coated with the oil.

  12. Roast the fennel until lightly golden in the oven (350 degrees), about 15 minutes. Remove the fennel from the oven to let it cool.

  13. To prepare the orange slices, use a chef's knife to slice off the top and bottom of each orange. Cut from top to bottom along the side to remove all the peel and pith; you will need to rotate the orange as you go.

  14. Cut out each segment of orange between the thicker membrane. Set aside the orange segments in a small bowl. 

  15. Cut up the three avocados into half-inch cubes and toss lightly with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in a small bowl to prevent browning. 

  16. Finally, prepare the salad dressing. Whisk 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Taste and add additional salt for extra seasoning if necessary.

  17. In a large mixing bowl, add the cooled quinoa, chopped grilled chicken, roasted fennel, orange segments, and avocado. Add the dressing and blend gently with a spatula until the salad is evenly mixed.