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Not working in the summer means lots of time for cookouts and gatherings with family and friends. Even though it's warm outside I do more cooking in the summer then I do any other season because I'm not working. While I don't mind cooking indoors in the summer, we often like to fire up the grill for our meat and pair it with cold side dishes.
Summer is also a great time to have a Block Party. I recently attended a Summer Block Party event at Sam's Club where I got some great ideas for recipes. It was fun to see the recipe ideas they came up with.
My favorite was an awesome Salsa chicken where the chicken was cooked in chicken broth then mixed with salsa. It's perfect served with tortilla chips! They also had a quinoa dish made with fresh vegetables.
Using these ideas and having some of my own I went on a big shopping trip at Sam's Club. I picked up the ingredients featured at the Summer Block Party event and also grabbed some fresh summer berries. I love that I can get big containers of berries at Sam's Club for cheaper then I can buy small packs elsewhere!
When I got home from the store I started coming up with some recipe ideas. We were going to have a few friends over for dinner and snacks and I wanted something that was going to be easy to make yet filling.
The first thing I did was try the Pace Organic Medium Salsa. I love that it is Certified USDA so I know what I'm feeding my family and friends. It also has a bit of a kick to it. I knew it would go great with tortilla chips and would be a perfect snack before dinner.
Then I looked at the quinoa and chicken broth. I know most people think of chicken broth as a winter ingredient but it's great for cooking rice and quinoa to use in summer dishes. I had a fun idea using quinoa and grilled BBQ chicken along with the berries I bought for a fresh and tasty summer salad.
I used the chicken broth to cook the quinoa because it really enhances the flavor of the quinoa. Why quinoa? Well this quinoa is Certified USDA Organic, it's Non-GMO Porject Verified, and it's Gluten Free. Since several of my friends are gluten free that was a big one for me.
So I made the quinoa with the chicken broth then put it in the refrigerator to cool while I grilled up some BBQ Chicken. I simply put a pound of chicken breasts on the grill and basted then with the BBQ sauce while they were cooking. Nothing smells quite as good as BBQ sauce on the grill.
To finish the salad off I simply tossed the chicken, fresh berries, some cheese, and walnuts with the quinoa. It might sound like an unusual salad but it's so fresh and perfect for a summer party with the grilled chicken and fresh berries all on a base of quinoa. I couldn't stop there though. I also made a tasty Strawberry Vinaigrette to pour over top of the salad.
This was a great meal to enjoy outside on the porch with our friends. Everyone enjoy the chips and salsa then the tasty BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad with Berries. It was light enough that everyone had room for dessert but heavy enough that everyone was full. Plus, it's super easy to make so I could enjoy the party more and spend less time cooking.
For the salad:
- 2 c. grilled BBQ chicken, cut into 1 inch piece
- 1 c. truRoots quinoa
- 2 c. Swanson chicken broth
- ½ c. strawberries, sliced
- ⅓ c. raspberries
- ⅓ c. blueberries
- ¼ c. red onion, thinly sliced
- ⅓ c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¼ c. walnuts, roughly chopped
For the strawberry vinaigrette:
- ¼ c. olive oil
- ¼ c. red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 strawberries, chopped
- ½ jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- In a large saucepan combine the truRoots quinoa and Swanson Chicken broth. Bring to a boil then turn heat on low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Cool completely.
- Transfer the cooled quinoa to a large bowl. Add in the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, red onion, cheddar cheese, and walnuts. Toss to combine.
- Add in the BBQ chicken and toss. If desired place a few berries and BBQ chicken pieces on top of the quinoa.
- For the vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Serve the quinoa salad with the vinaigrette on the side.
- Any leftovers can be refrigerated up to 3 days.
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