Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad.

A hearty, healthy salad recipe with creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, chicken, fresh cilantro, and lots of bright citrus flavors. The perfect light dinner or easy lunch!

So many bright, fresh flavors with none of the artificial stuff!

Ladies and gents (do any guys read my blog?), I bring you my new favorite meal. It’s protein packed, bursting with flavor, bright citrus, fresh cilantro, a little spice, a lot of avocado, and some serious staying power.

I made this colorful salad as a light dinner on Monday night and enjoyed leftovers for lunch the next day; it kept me full for hours as I worked in the kitchen. I made two pies, one of these and a special one for Father’s Day. Stay tuned for that sweet summer recipe.

Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad is bursting with flavor and filled with wholesome, healthy ingredients like chicken, quinoa, avocado, and more!

This satisfying bowl of healthy goodness has so much going on. So many flavors and textures; each bite you get a little something different! It’s the perfect recipe for those of us who like the “stuff” in salads, rather than the lettuce. Are you like that too? There’s no lettuce in this salad at all, by the way.

Hearty, super-healthy quinoa is the base for todays salad recipe. I love quinoa because it is impressively versatile. When I’m not adding it to salads, I love making crispy quinoa patties. Just had those for dinner last week – they’re so simple and make a ton of leftovers.

You’ll need about 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa. Quinoa is so simple to prepare. And if you’ve never cooked it before, don’t get nervous. I have a step-by-step post on how to cook quinoa for you. There’s hardly any work involved.

Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad - a hearty, healthy salad recipe with creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, chicken, and lots of bright citrus flavors. Gluten free and easy! @sallybakeblog

A lot of this salad’s flavor comes from the chicken. You’ll cook the chicken with roasted garlic and a little smoked paprika in some olive oil. If you don’t have smoked paprika, you may use regular or even a pinch of chile powder instead. I highly recommend the smoked paprika for optimum flavor, though.

Don’t know who to roast garlic? Again, don’t get nervous! I have an easy step-by-step post on how to roast garlic. Helpful tip: steer clear from using canned minced garlic here, you want the robust flavor from roasting it fresh.

Cook the cut up chicken breasts until the outsides are toasty and crisp and the centers are moist and tender. Here is what the chicken will look like:

Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad - easy, flavorful, healthy, and protein-packed! @sallybakeblog

Toss the chicken in with the cooked quinoa, 1 sliced avocado, and 2 sliced oranges. For a little dressing, simply whisk together fresh lime juice, honey, olive oil, fresh cilantro, and a touch of juice from the sliced oranges. That’s it!

So many bright, fresh flavors with none of the artificial stuff.

Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad - easy, flavorful, healthy, and protein-packed! @sallybakeblog

This recipe made enough for Kevin and I to enjoy for dinner with a side of roasted veggies. Plus, there was enough leftover to enjoy for lunch the next day. I personally loved it cold! By the next day, the flavors were more pronounced as well – the quinoa had the chance to really soak everything up. And the more I stirred it, the creamier the avocado became. (YES.) Since it tastes so wonderful on day 2, it’s a great make-ahead meal option.

This citrus chicken quinoa salad is a wonderful, gluten free choice for your healthy eating this summer… or whenever you’re looking to lighten-up lunch or dinner. Feel free to add a little more quinoa or even try serving this healthy salad over greens.

And if you have extra veggies laying around in your crisper drawer, throw them in!

Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad - easy, flavorful, healthy, and protein-packed! @sallybakeblog

Now how about some pie for dessert? Balance. 😉

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

 

Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad

Yield: serves about 3

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Print Recipe

A hearty, healthy salad recipe with creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, chicken, fresh cilantro, and lots of bright citrus flavors. The perfect light dinner or easy lunch; makes great leftovers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (packed)1
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice2
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions or use my directions - my recipe will make 2-3 cups, more than what you will use. But leftovers are great! Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl and let cool.
  2. Pour olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and roasted garlic, stirring it all around to coat with oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and salt. Stir and cook until chicken is done, about 8 minutes. Add cooked chicken, oranges, and avocado to the quinoa. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. For the dressing: whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. Pour over salad and toss to coat everything evenly. Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
  4. Make ahead tip: This is a perfect recipe to make ahead of time because the flavors taste amazing by day 2. Simply prepare through step 3, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.

Additional Notes:

  1. If you love cilantro as much as I do feel free to increase to 1/2 cup.
  2. I simply squeezed the juice out of a couple pieces of the oranges I threw into the salad for the 1 Tablespoon needed in the dressing.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Try my Crispy Quinoa Patties next!

Crispy Quinoa Patties - these versatile patties are crispy on the edges, warm in the center, and freeze well for a quick meal. Add your favorite spices and veggies!

Healthy, quick, flavorful. Enjoy!

Quinoa Chicken Salad filled with healthy and wholesome ingredients, none of that artificial stuff!

 

 

   

81 Responses to “Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad.”

  1. #
    41
    Missyposted October 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Made this for a patient of mine (I’m a dietitian) for a quick and easy quinoa recipe and it was DELICIOUS! Don’t worry, I always print your recipes out as is and direct them toward your blog :). We used some rotisserie chicken breast to make it even easier. She was SO excited that she found something to pack for lunch that was full of flavor and tasted fresh. I often come to your blog for recipes and you never let me down Sally! It is so nice to find easy, delicious, and healthy recipes like this- you may not directly see the impact it makes, but trust me it does! Thanks Sally!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on October 13th, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Thanks so much Missy, I’m glad you (and others!) love my healthier recipes so much. I really appreciate your sweet comment.

      Reply

  2. #
    42
    Saskiaposted January 8, 2015 at 6:58 am

    This looks yummy. I have been trying to make lunches to take to work with me. It is a lot healthier and cheaper then buying in the cafeteria. Will try this, I might leave out the garlic because of eating it at work.

    Reply

  3. #
    43
    Cindyposted January 8, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I’m making this tonight for dinner…the start of our year of eating healthy! By any chance does anyone know the nutritional values in this dish?

    Reply

  4. #
    44
    allysonposted February 1, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    Any suggestions for the dressing if I LOATHE cilantro? ?? Thanks!!!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 2nd, 2015 at 9:57 am

      You may leave it out

      Reply

    • laurareplied on May 17th, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      Taragon

      Reply

  5. #
    45
    Nicoleposted February 18, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    This was my lunch yesterday and today. And it was fabulous! The roasted garlic is really a great addition. LOVED it!

    Reply

  6. #
    46
    Lauraposted May 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    This was delicious! I subbed the chicken for chicken sausage to save time. The dressing was so good, and I’m not usually a fan of cilantro. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll be making this again. 

    Reply

  7. #
    47
    Nela Holmesposted June 18, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    This is an excellent dish!! My family and friend loved it, and they thoroughly enjoyed the nutritious and boosting flavors.

    Reply

  8. #
    48
    Chadposted August 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Yes, Men read you blog… and we love every post !

    Reply

  9. #
    49
    Emmaposted January 8, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Citrus quinoa chicken salad looks delicious! How long does it keep for? Would it last a few days in the fridge?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 8th, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Hope you love it! See step 3.

      Reply

  10. #
    50
    KATHLEENposted April 3, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I just found your blog, Sally, and love the recipes.  I have the Orange Poppy Seed Bars cooling on the counter as I type!  

    I’m having ribeye steak tonight and know there will be plenty of leftovers.  I’m wondering if I could substitute the chicken in this salad with sliced steak?  I’m thinking so… what do you think?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 3rd, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      I can’t see why not! If you love it, add it! That’s what I always say 🙂

      Reply

  11. #
    51
    Gugliposted May 24, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Sally, I am new looking for healthy meal into your webpage, I just did the Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad for my wife and daughter (12 and 15) and we all four were very amazed for this recipe. I wanted to thank you so so much and I will be staying tune with your recommendations. !!!

    Reply

  12. #
    52
    Valerieposted June 16, 2016 at 7:56 am

    This recipe looks amazing (as do all your recipes)! I can’t wait to try it – the orange and chicken sounds delicious!

    I have a simple chicken and quinoa salad with vegetables that is great in the summer:http://doubletherecipe.com/2016/06/08/quinoa-chicken-black-bean-salad/

    Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

    Reply

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