This chicken quinoa salad with pomegranate and avocado is vibrant and full of nutritious ingredients. Drizzle with a delicious roasted garlic turmeric dressing and you are literally “golden”. This salad is light and easy to prepare ahead of time, perfect for anyone needing meal prep ideas for midweek lunches.
This chicken quinoa salad has been given a refresh from the archive and was originally posted on January 26, 2018. It's had a refresh of photos and has been made more user friendly with the addition of process steps and tips and tricks.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I'm a nightmare with lunches throughout the week. It’s so easy to get busy and forget until last minute and end up wondering what to have. This chicken quinoa salad with pomegranate and avocado is perfect for getting ahead. It’s simple to prepare and stores well, allowing you to simply grab it when you need it.
This salad is lovely to whip together during the spring/summer months with lots of lovely veggies packed into it. You’ll love the mellow jammy roasted garlic cloves that add a lovely aroma to the turmeric dressing. All the flavours are so complementary to each other. I love tahini (if you haven’t figured that out yet!) so if you love it as much as I do, you’ll also want to check out these recipes:
I know you’ll love this chicken quinoa salad. When you whip it up in your meal prep time you can let us know how you got on in the comments and don’t forget to leave a rating!
What to love about this salad
Vibrant - the dressing that is served with this chicken quinoa salad is delicious and vibrant. It’s creamy, zingy and fluorescent yellow from the turmeric. What more could you ask for to lift up a salad?
Healthy - this salad is packed with lots of nutritious ingredients and is nicely balanced with all the quinoa and veggies. It’s high in protein and fibre and filled with all the good fats you need.
Meal prep - I love making lunches ahead of time and boxing them up, especially when I'm busy. This is a great salad for this purpose and helps you save time whilst giving yourself a nutritious meal to grab when you're hungry.
Satisfying - because this chicken quinoa salad is packed full of protein and fibre it is completely satisfying. You need no accompaniments with this as you won’t be craving anything else until you're ready for your next meal.
What ingredients do I need?
This chicken quinoa salad only needs simple ingredients and there are some quick cheats that you can employ to make this chicken quinoa salad in no time. You’ll need:
Chicken - I recommend getting some free range chicken breasts, the best you can afford - you’ll be able to tell the difference. Roasting them will give you pops of succulent juicy protein throughout the salad. Or use leftovers of our Perfect Crispy Roast Chicken.
Pantry - you’ll need olive oil, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and sumac (optional), plus don’t forget the essential salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sumac adds a lovely zingy bite, but you don't have to use it if you don't have any in your spice cupboard.
Vegetables - this salad is packed with veggies: you’ll need broccoli, frozen edamame and a perfectly ripe avocado.
Pomegranate - these fruit are super special with their colour and sweet zingy flavour, adding pops of flavour into the salad.
Quinoa - you’ll need cooked quinoa for this salad. The fastest way is to cheat and buy it in packets precooked, which we do when we are tight on time. See tips below for how to cook your own quinoa.
How to make it
It’s very simple to whip this salad together, just follow these simple steps:
- Rub the chicken breasts with the olive oil, lemon zest, cumin, sumac (if using), garlic and onion powder. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle some oil on 2-3 garlic cloves and wrap in foil. Place the foil packet on the same baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven for 25 minutes until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 74C/165F. Leave to rest, then cut the chicken breasts into ½ inch cubes.
- Whilst the chicken and garlic roast, prepare the rest of salad ingredients and place into a large bowl.
- Drizzle with the juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper. Toss the salad together, toss in the cubes of chicken and serve drizzled with the roasted garlic turmeric sauce.
To make the dressing:
- Snip the ends of the roasted garlic cloves and squeeze the jammy insides out into a bowl. Crush the roasted garlic with a sprinkle of flaky salt and the back of a fork into a smooth paste. Add in the turmeric, lemon juice and tahini, stir it all together and then fold through the Greek yoghurt and maple syrup. Taste and add more salt, pepper or maple syrup to taste.
If you have raw uncooked quinoa and have the time to prepare it, follow these key steps to ensure success every time. Quinoa triples in volume when cooked so you’ll need to cook ⅔ cup to yield 2 cups cooked.
- Pour your ⅔ cup of dry quinoa into a small-medium saucepan.
- Add 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of cold water and a pinch of salt to the pan and bring it to the boil.
- Place a tight fitting lid on top once boiling and turn heat down to low, then simmer covered for 15 minutes.
- Once all the water is completely absorbed after 15 minutes, remove from the heat and leave the lid on to steam for 5 more minutes.
- Fluff up with your fork and lay it out on a baking sheet to cool completely.
Tips, tricks & customisations
Here are some suggestions to assist with making this chicken quinoa salad.
Pomegranate - you can make it easier for yourself by buying a pot of pre prepared pomegranate arils and there is no shame in this. It’s easier. However if you want to prepare a pomegranate the easiest way is to slice off the very top of the fruit and then score vertically down the sides 4-6 times with a knife. Break open the wedges to remove the arils without spraying yourself with red juice!
Roasted garlic - the dressing requires roasted garlic. Often this is done as a whole head of garlic. You can do this if you wish, but it will take a lot longer to roast in a foil packet. To do it a lot quicker you can break the garlic head into its individual cloves, drizzle them with oil and wrap in a foil packet, this increases the surface area to speed up the roasting. Just snip off the tip with a pair of scissors when roasted and squeeze out the jammy garlic.
Change protein - you can easily change the protein of this salad, if you wish. Try it with seared steak, flaked roasted or hot smoked salmon, wild game or even tofu if you wish.
Change veggies - Use what is in season. Switch up with cauliflower, asparagus, broad beans, kale, fine beans or whatever you please, just keep roughly to the volume ratios stated.
Vegan? - If you choose to veganise this, just switch out the protein for something like tofu or chickpeas and use a dairy free yoghurt in the dressing.
Yes! It makes the perfect lunch box to prepare ahead in your meal prep time for work. This saves on time and hassle figuring out what to eat during the week.
This salad stores in air tight containers for 3-4 days in the fridge. It keeps well and the flavours don't disappear either. I would just recommend getting the salad out the fridge 20-30 minutes before eating it to take the chill off the salad as cold salad dampens the flavour. I would also recommend adding the avocado just before eating if at all possible, but if you can't do that and it's slightly brown when you come to eat it, it's still perfectly good to eat.
Want some more salads?
I hope you love this chicken quinoa salad as much as we do. If you make it, be sure to leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag #eatloveeats on Instagram! I love to see your creations!
Chicken Quinoa Salad
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- Toss the chicken breasts with the oil, lemon zest, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and sumac, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.2 chicken breasts, 1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil, zest of 1 lemon + juice of ½, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon sumac
- Wrap the garlic cloves for the sauce in foil and place in the oven to roast along with the chicken. They'll need about 25 minutes too.2-3 cloves garlic
- Meanwhile, finely chop the broccoli. You don't need to be too precious about this, you're just aiming for small bite-sized pieces. Cook the frozen edamame in boiling salted water for a couple of minutes. Remove the arils from your pomegranate and dice the avocado.2 cups broccoli florets, 1 cup frozen edamame, 1 pomegranate, 1-2 avocados
- Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl with the cooked quinoa. Toss with the juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of oil and some salt and pepper.2 cups cooked quinoa, juice of a lemon
- Cut the chicken into ½ inch cubes and add to the salad. Serve the salad and drizzle with the sauce. Enjoy!
Turmeric Tahini Sauce
- Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves (see above) into a small bowl and add a pinch of flaky sea salt. Crush using the back of a spoon until you have a paste.2-3 cloves garlic
- Add the turmeric, lemon juice and tahini and mix well. Stir in the yoghurt, maple syrup and enough water to thin to your liking. Season, adding salt, black pepper and more maple syrup to taste.¾ teaspoon ground turmeric, juice of a lemon, 2 tablespoons tahini, ½ cup Greek yoghurt, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 2 tablespoons water