Southwest Quinoa Chicken Salad
This salad can be enjoyed either hot or cold but it all starts with the grill. I fired up my Kuma grill, set it to 450° and threw on 3 large green peppers plus 3 chicken breasts. It actually does not all start with the grill, it all starts with the brine. It is an absolute must, in my opinion, that you brine chicken breasts the night before you grill them. Why is this done? Brining will allow the chicken to retain moisture and grill up very juicy and tender. How is this done? Simple, you whisk together 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup white sugar with 2 quarts of water. Throw in your chicken (fresh or frozen) and put them in the refrigerator overnight.
Back to the grill, I cooked the chicken breasts to 165° internal temperature and grilled the peppers until the skin was charred and peeled off easily. I am using the grill's built in meat probe in one of the breasts to monitor the internal temperature. While the chicken was grilling, I cooked 4 cups (prepared) quinoa then left it covered until the salad was ready to assemble. Next, I chopped a medium red onion and 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro. When the peppers are charred, peel off the skins and dice.
I rinsed and drained 2 cans of black beans (15 oz.) and 2 cans of corn (15 oz.). They were then heated on the stove top until they were just simmering. Once the chicken was done it was chopped into 1/2" cubes and tossed into a large bowl. Mix in the corn, beans and quinoa. Finally I added the above veggies and tossed with 3/4 cup of prepared Italian dressing. That was it, you can enjoy right away and any leftovers will be great as a cold salad.
3/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3 whole chicken breasts, brined
3 medium green bell peppers
1 medium red onion
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans rinsed and drained
2 cans (15 oz.) corn drained
4 cups cooked quinoa