No doubt you’re familiar with white quinoa, which has become a healthy pantry staple in recent years. But you might be pleasantly surprised by the fun, pop-y texture and striking color of the black variety. Black quinoa also has an earthier taste, and works well in cold salads, since rather than clumping together, each seed of black quinoa can boldly hold its own. Even more important, black quinoa contains more than twice as much iron as white quinoa.
While quinoa is fine and dandy cooked in water, if you have some broth on hand, by all means cook the quinoa in broth for added flavor. And if the bottom of the rotisserie-chicken container has gathered juices, toss those in, too. This liquid gold equates to added depth of flavor in the finished dish.
Strawberries are gorgeous, sweet, juicy and fragrant during their peak season of summer, baring their fully red “shoulders” all the way up to the leaves — an indicator of truly ripe and delicious strawberries. The berries’ flavor is more pronounced at room temperature, so don’t be afraid to let them sit on the counter for a bit before you mix them into the salad.
5-Ingredient Strawberry and Black Quinoa Salad
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
3/4 cup black quinoa
6 cups flavorful green salad mix, like baby spinach, arugula, chard and herbs
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups sliced or chopped cooked rotisserie chicken breast
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
If you have a fine-mesh strainer, place the quinoa in a medium pot and cover with cold water, soaking 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly and place back in the pot. (If you don’t have a fine-mesh strainer, you can soak the quinoa and pour off the water.) Pour in 1 1/4 cups water and bring to a boil on high heat. Cover and reduce to low heat, simmering for 15 minutes. Remove from heat without disturbing the lid and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a wooden spoon or fork.
To mix the salad for 1 serving: In a medium salad bowl, combine 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1 1/2 cups salad mix, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup chicken, 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, 1 dash salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate remaining ingredients until ready to serve.
To mix the salad for 4 servings: Linearly arrange the quinoa, salad, strawberries and chicken in one large, wide shallow dish or in four small shallow dishes. Serve the oil, vinegar and seasonings on the side. Or combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Per serving (2 1/2 cups): Calories 355; Fat 14 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 60 mg; Sodium 225 mg; Carbohydrate 31 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 26 g; Vitamin A 75% DV; Calcium 7% DV; Vitamin C 97% DV; Iron 28% DV
Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified chef consultant and the author of Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love.