This salad makes a terrific school lunch or a light dinner. My kids are much more likely to eat vegetables if they are mixed in with rice, or quinoa, or pasta. This salad works with Bhutanese or Himalayan Red Rice, or Red Quinoa. Red rice is considered divine and can be offered as alms, gratitude offerings or in vows seeking rain or protection of crops. I’m thinking we should be putting some out in an effort to bring much needed rain to California. You’ll find Red Rice in specialty shops or online at Amazon. Red Quinoa is available everywhere. Use whichever you have in your cupboard.
Quinoa Chicken Salad
Makes six lunch-sized servings (six cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 cups Bhutanese Red Rice or 1.5 cups Red Quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 2-3 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
- 4 oz. sliced black olives
- ¼ cup chives, chopped
- ½ cup green onions, diced
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ cup celery, diced
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/3 extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
Both red rice and quinoa need to be rinsed in cool water before they are cooked.
If you are using red rice, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add 1½ cups red rice and a pinch of salt and stir to coat grains with the oil. Cover with 3 cups cold water. Bring to a rapid boil and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring a few times. Cover, reduce heat to very low and cook for 20-25 minutes. Check to see if the liquid has been absorbed and taste for doneness. If there is extra water remaining, pour the rice through a strainer and drain off the extra liquid.
If you are using red quinoa, place the quinoa and 3 cups of water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Return to a simmer, cover and cook on low heat until just tender. Drain off any extra water and place the quinoa in a mixing bowl.
Add all remaining salad ingredients to the rice or the quinoa and toss gently.
Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour half of the dressing over the salad. Toss gently. Taste. Add additional dressing to taste. Can be made ahead.