Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Salad

It’s officially summertime.  It took me a while to say it, since mid-June it still wasn’t as hot here as I imagine summer in Ohio to be.  This is really my second summer in Ohio.  And I don’t even mind the heat.  I’d insert some witty comment here about how at least I’m not in CT anymore, but I like to think I’ve moved beyond that black hole in my past.  Hah.

To me summertime means barbecue.   And salads.   Lighter foods are key since it’s so hot.  I’m not normally a big salad girl, but I do happen to like a good barbecue chicken salad.  And add quinoa into the mix?  Forget-about-it.  I’ve even gotten the kids to start eating quinoa.  And the other day, I threw together this barbecue chicken quinoa salad that had even the kids asking for more.  Since KB ditched the gas grill, I actually just baked the chicken thighs in the oven and added barbecue sauce, but can you imagine how much better it would have been if I had grilled the chicken?  To-die-for!

Start by mixing your quinoa, corn, green onions, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

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While you are doing that, grill your chicken.  Quick-cheat-time: lay chicken on a sheet tray lined with aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook in a 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.  Spread with barbecue sauce and return to oven for about 5-7 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

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Chop chicken and add to salad.

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Mix well.  Serve and enjoy!

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Recipe:
2 cups quinoa (cooked – rice cooker)
1 – 16 oz can sweet corn
3 green onions, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
salt/pepper to taste (about 1 tsp each)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
barbecue sauce

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, corn, green onions, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, bake or grill your chicken breasts or thighs.  If baking, season with olive oil, salt and pepper and then bake at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  Spread with barbecue sauce and return to oven for another 5-7 minutes. Chop chicken and add to salad.  Mix well.  Serve and enjoy.

Caroline