Southwestern Quinoa Salad & BBQ Chicken Quesadilla

One of my favorite things about summer is how much easier it is to eat a little healthier. It’s so darn hot that nobody really wants to cook or eat anything that’s too heavy. Salads sound much more appetizing. Why can’t I feel that way year round?

This Southwestern quinoa salad has fresh veggies and tons of flavor, I’m salivating just thinking about it. It’s great when served warm right after you prepare it and then cold the next day. A tip for this recipe, the leftovers are even better because it gives the dressing a chance to soak into everything. So if you want to make this dish for a party or event you can prepare it the night before.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

If you’re worried about cooking quinoa you can buy it pre-cooked in the freezer section. I always keep some in the freezer just in case. If you’ve never cooked it before, seriously give it a try. It’s a lot easier than you think. A fun fact about quinoa: it is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids.

We had some leftover BBQ chicken in the fridge, so I made BBQ chicken quesadillas to go alongside the salad and it was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Especially if you drizzle the dressing over the top. As for the dressing, I like to make my own ranch. I just love fresh buttermilk ranch dressing, but you can totally buy a bottle of your favorite ranch and go from there.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Recipe

Dressing

  • 1 packet Hidden Valley buttermilk ranch mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup tomato
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp chopped jalapeno
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 lime

Salad

  • 1 ear corn
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup black beans
  • 1/3 bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped spinach/kale/lettuce of your choice
  • 1/3 cup crispy tortilla strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped avocado
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dressing

Quesadillas

  • 1 cup cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
  • chilli powder
  • garlic powder
  • shredded cheese
  • corn tortillas
  • cooking oil/spray

Directions

Make the dressing according to the package directions. You want to  make it at least 30 minutes before so that it has a chance to sit in the fridge and thicken. Then place the dressing all the veggies into the blender and blend blend blend. Boom, you’re done. Put in the fridge until you’re ready to dress your salad.

Prepare your corn. I boil enough water to cover the corn, then drop in the corn and cover it. Remove from heat and let it sit in the water for 5 minutes, take out and let cool before removing corn from the cob. Add all the ingredients for the salad except avocado and tortilla strips into a medium sized bowl and mix until everything is combined. Carefully fold in your avocado so it doesn’t get mashed up and lost in your salad. Serve salad topped with tortilla strips.

Heat a medium sized pan over medium-high heat. Spray the pan liberally with cooking oil and put down your first tortilla. Sprinkle with chilli and garlic powder, then enough cheese to cover the tortilla, then 1/2 cup chicken, and then more cheese. Top with another tortilla. Once the bottom tortilla begins to brown, about 2-3 minutes, flip your quesadilla and brown the other side. Transfer to your plate and drizzle with your salsa ranch.

Now be amazed by this dish and share it with all your friends!

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