My other resolution was to cook through the rest of Jamie's Food Revolution. That didn't happen. I'm currently only at 68%. However, now I have the 15 Minute Meals book to fall back on for healthy, low-fat, low-cal recipes! I just love this new direction that Jamie has taken, and I will be focusing more on cooking through this one. So for the New Year, I thought a nice, healthy but tasty salad was a good start.
315. San Fran Quinoa Salad (Jamie's 15 Minute Meals, page 46)
I've never once used quinoa, even with all the hype it's received in recent years. Yet I did have a package of red quinoa kicking around the cupboard, just waiting for a rainy day. Ok, how about a snowy, cold, grey day? Those can always be brightened by a California style salad, don't you think?
I started out by covering my quinoa generously with water, and setting it to boil with the lid on for approx. 8 minutes. I was surprised to see the little sprouts pop out, almost as if you'd sprouted the grain over a few days in a glass jar. Was this supposed to happen? No idea.
Next up, I needed to coat some boneless, skinless chicken breast with allspice & smoked paprika, and season with salt and pepper. I did this on waxed paper, then folded the paper over and bashed it with a rolling pin to make it flatter, and therefore quicker to cook in a pan. However, this was a monster breast, weighing in at over 400 g. So it took longer than the 15 minutes allotted. Towards the end, I added some torn red & green peppers to char.
While that was cooking, I combined my salad ingredients in the food processor: baby spinach (with some arugula mixed in because that was what I had), fresh mint & cilantro, a couple of green onions, and a dried (rather than fresh) red chile. I love it when Jamie does something totally unexpected like this....I mean, I would never have thought to grind up spinach with herbs and mix it through a cooked grain for flavour. But it works!
Lastly, the rest of my salad ingredients: a cubed mango (I used frozen, defrosted mango chunks), "curls" of avacado, a sprinkling of cilantro leaves, the fried peppers & sliced chicken, and some dots of non-fat Greek yogurt. Since I omitted the crumbled feta cheese, I compensated by using a low-fat sour cream instead of the yogurt. I also remembered to season the salad with salt, before dressing it with the juice of a lime and a drizzle of olive oil.
I have to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised with the way these flavours came together! I am not always a big fan of warm salads. But I totally enjoyed this hit of fresh sunshine in the midst of winter. I only used half the quanitity of salad ingredients called for, so as to only make enough for 2 servings rather than 4. I look forward to eating my second serving for lunch at work today. My son made quick work of the rest of the chicken & peppers, folding them into a wrap with sour cream, lettuce & tomatoes. Yeah, quinoa salad is too much of a stretch for him! LOL
I linked this post to the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up at Gastronomical Sovereignty!