Chicken quinoa salad with peas, feta cheese and pomegranate is a delicious, easy meal prep recipe. Perfect for lunch or as an easy family dinner.
Confession time: I actually don’t like quinoa. Like, at all. But this chicken quinoa salad has completely changed the game for me. The combination of juicy grilled chicken, peas, feta cheese and pomegranate rubies will make anything delicious but it works so well with quinoa. I love cooking the quinoa with bulgur wheat because the bulgur’s chewy, nuttiness adds great texture.
If you prefer, you could definitely leave out the bulgur wheat and just double the amount of quinoa.
I love this recipe for easy meal prep lunches and often make a full batch at the beginning of the week, giving us delicious lunches all week long.
How do you make quinoa salad?
To maximize the amount of flavor, I like to cook the quinoa and bulgur wheat with lemon peel, a bay leaf and garlic. You could cook it in stock as well to amp up the taste. I like to simmer the quinoa and bulgur gently until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed then I switch off the heat, cover the pot and allow it to steam for another 10 minutes or so. At this point I also add the peas to steam in the residual heat. (Also: less dishes to wash!)
The chicken is marinated in a simple olive oil, lemon, smoked paprika and oregano marinade for a few minutes before being pan-seared/grilled until just cooked. When I am making this ahead, I leave all the components separate and just combine before serving but you could add the feta and pomegranate to the cooled quinoa mixture to make for an easy grab-and-go lunch. I dress this salad very simply with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt.
What is the best dressing for quinoa salad?
Depending on the ingredients of the salad, most salad dressings work well on quinoa salad. To make a delicious home-made dressing, combine two parts oil with one part acid and season generously with salt and pepper. You can add garlic and herbs for more flavor. Good oils for salad dressings are olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil or nut oils like macadamia oil. To add acidity, lemon juice, lime juice, Balsamic vinegar or fruit vinegar can be used.
How long does quinoa salad last in the fridge?
This salad will last 3-4 days if covered in the fridge. I keep the cooked chicken in a separate airtight container and put the quinoa salad in a big bowl covered with cling film. You could also portion it into individual containers to make serving even easier.
Can I use cous-cous instead of quinoa?
Yes, absolutely. Just follow the package instructions when preparing as cous-cous doesn’t need to be cooked like quinoa. You could use any grain in this salad and even rice will work. You could also leave out the grains completely and make this a low carb salad by serving the chicken, peas, feta and pomegranate with salad leaves of your choice.
Love grain salads? Try these recipes:
- Pea and feta quinoa salad
- Moroccan chicken couscous salad
- Easy Greek chicken grain bowl
- Mexican chicken lunch bowls
Chicken quinoa salad with peas and feta
For the quinoa and bulgur wheat
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 piece of lemon peel
- 1 whole garlic clove
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups water/stock
- 1½ cups frozen peas
For the chicken
- 4 chicken breasts Halved lengthwise (butterflied)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
For the salad
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- juice of ½ lemon
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- cucumber sliced, to serve
- To cook the quinoa, combine with all the ingredients except for the peas in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook until the water has been absorbed then turn off the heat, add the peas and cover with a lid. Allow to steam for 10 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- For the chicken, combine all the ingredients and allow the chicken to marinade for 10-30 minutes.
- Grill/pan-sear the chicken until just cooked and golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.
- To make the salad, combine the cooked and cooled quinoa mixture with the feta and peas then dress with olive oil and lemon and season to taste.
- Serve topped with the sliced chicken and cucumber.
Easy lunch recipes