Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad.

You GUYS.

I made quinoa again.

Sort of trendy. Nothing that exciting. But when all the flavors mesh together, very exciting.

I like it.

I like you. So I’m telling you about it.

I hesitate to call this one of my ideal summer meals since it still involves a fair amount of cooking. After all, it is like 90 degrees (or as I like to refer, 432 degrees) outside, but I’ve had an ear infection and gross stuff like that so for me, it’s been a nice, chilly 68 degrees. In my house. For dayssssss. I didn’t realize what a dumb idea it was to turn on the oven until I walked outside and was smacked in the face with my own personal thick cloud of hell. If you don’t know me… heat is not my friend.

So anyhoo, this bowl of quinoa is certainly a MEAL. It has chicken and beans and bacon and corn and roasted red peppers and I can’t even think of one more thing that it might need.The best part is that it tastes awesome cold, so while the whole oven-turning-on thing is a pain, it’s worth it in the end. Make a big batch, stick it in the fridge. Uh, I actually stuffed this into tortillas one day too. Like BBQ quinoa salad tacos.

Too much?

I didn’t think so.

It’s also a completely perfect complementary meal if you’re sitting on the couch trying to belt out every Bruno Mars song known to make in your own little a cappella group.  I’ve spent the last ten days (at least) speaking in Pitch Perfect lingo and I have to say… I think it’s the Mean Girls of this decade. Right? The amount of times I’ve watched it in the last two weeks is absurd and I realize that all of you must think that I do nothing else but sit on the couch and watch TV.

You’d be partially correct. I eat too.


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Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad

Yield: serves 2 to 4

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/3 cup BBQ sauce + more for drizzling
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup sweet corn kernels
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup freshly torn cilantro
4 green onions, sliced

Directions:

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain. Add the onions to the skillet and toss to coat in the bacon grease. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low and cook until the onions begin to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally while cooking. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then remove the onions and the garlic and place them in a bowl.

Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Add it to the same skillet over medium-high heat and cook until it is browned and golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through, stir in 1/3 cup of the BBQ sauce and reduce the heat to low. Add in the cooked quinoa, onions, chickpeas, corn, red peppers and half of the cilantro and green onions. Toss well to mix. Right before serving, stir in the bacon, reserving a little bit for topping. Serve and garnish with the remaining cilantro, green onions and bacon.

I lasted less than a week attempting to share a recipe without corn. Swear it’s worth it.