Chicken and Peach Quinoa Salad is loaded with fresh ingredients like peaches, avocado, cucumber, spinach and radishes, and tossed with a sweet and savoury honey basil vinaigrette. It also comes together in less than 30 minutes and works perfectly as a summertime main meal!
This post is sponsored by Dominion as part of the #foodloversunite campaign. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Crumb Top Baking possible.
Are you ready to get a little personal? I’m talking gut health in today’s post and sharing some insights from my recent visit with my local Dominion in-store registered dietitian. Don’t worry, I won’t be sharing too much information, just a little glimpse into my blogging life and food habits. And, of course, a recipe inspired by it all!
Meeting with a Dietitian
Have you ever met with a registered dietitian? I know, I said I would be the one getting personal, and here I am asking you the questions.
I met with one many years ago and found it helpful at the time. So when the opportunity came up through my work with Dominion’s Food Lovers Unite Campaign to have a consultation with my local in-store registered dietitian, I jumped at the opportunity.
I had no idea that Dominion stores offered such a range of personalized nutrition services. They have registered dietitians located right in their stores, and they can assist customers with their specific health and wellness needs. They offer nutrition consultations (which is what I had) and several follow-up and meal planning services. You can even shop with the dietitian and learn more about reading nutrition labels.
Managing Digestive Issues
If you’re a long-time reader, you know I started clean eating a few years ago, and decided to start this blog to share some of my clean eating recipes. I’ve also mentioned on more than one occasion my ‘issues’ with dairy and grains. Well, my friends, to keep it real, my issues are with bloating. And while I’ve been able to figure out some of my trigger foods and how much of them I can tolerate, enjoying the foods I love (but don’t always love me back) is a delicate balance.
And if I’m completely honest, food blogging sometimes makes achieving that balance even more challenging. For instance, on the days I’m testing and photographing recipes, it’s easy to lose track of meals as I’m taste testing everything I make, and I even forget to drink enough water. And exercise? Some days I’m just not making it the priority it should be.
So, when I met with my local dietitian, we discussed ways I could incorporate simple actions into my busy schedule to help me continue pursuing my goal of good gut health, but also keep enjoying the foods that I love.
Goals for Good Gut Health
My dietitian shared several tips with me to try to minimize bloating and support good gut health. So here are a few that I’m going to work harder at:
- Stay hydrated and meet my fluid needs. I always thought 8 cups of water was good enough for me during the day (at least on the days when I remembered to drink water). But given the amount of fibre I consume in a day, my dietitian recommended I drink more than 8 cups. So, I promptly bought myself an 850 mL ‘hydration chugger’ (seriously, that’s the name on the label!), and I intend to drink at least 3 of those a day.
- Move more and try to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This one is not too much of a challenge for me as my husband and I enjoy walking and summertime is hiking time for us. But I decided to challenge myself to go an extra step and start lifting weights and working out again.
- Chew your food well and eat slowly. You might laugh at this one, but those who know me know that I inhale my food. I need to make a conscious effort to slow down and be more mindful when I eat. You would think as a food blogger I would enjoy savouring my food, but I’m always rushing to do the next thing on my to-do list, so the faster I eat, the quicker I can get to it. I need to change that mindset.
- Keep a food symptom journal. While I’ve been keeping track of the foods that seem to trigger my bloating, I don’t always keep track of the specific symptoms that accompany them. Keeping a journal may help me narrow down some of my food sensitivities.
Chicken and Peach Quinoa Salad
So how does my visit with my local registered dietitian relate to this recipe for Chicken and Peach Quinoa Salad? Well, after my consultation, I was inspired to get back to the basics, and wanted to create a meal that incorporated some seasonal produce, but also included protein, carbs, and healthy fats. And most importantly, I wanted the recipe to show that even if you have food sensitivities, food can still be fun and enjoyable.
Here’s what you need to build this fresh summer salad:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Fresh basil
- Omega oil
What is Omega Oil?
PC Blue Menu Omega Oil is a new one for me, and I’m so glad my dietitian suggested it. It’s a blend of grapeseed oil, extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil. It has a lighter texture than extra virgin olive oil (which is my go-to in recipes), and it’s a source of omega-3 fats. I used it in this recipe to cook the chicken, and as the base for the vinaigrette.
Honey Basil Vinaigrette
Let me just take a moment to share my love for this vinaigrette. It’s so easy to make (as most vinaigrettes are) and has the right balance of sweet and savoury that goes perfectly with the garlicky chicken and sweet peaches in this salad. It’s simply omega oil, white wine vinegar, honey, fresh basil and a dash of salt all blended together. It will seriously be dressing all my salads for the rest of the summer!
Some tips for making this Chicken and Peach Quinoa Salad:
- While I cubed the chicken breast, and cooked it in a skillet with some oil, garlic and basil, you can also use grilled chicken breast, or a rotisserie chicken. Just slice or chop and add to the salad.
- This time of year, I love to use fresh basil, but if you can’t find it, you can use dried. Just reduce the amount you use by a third as most dried herbs are more potent than fresh.
- If you can’t find fresh peaches, nectarines work lovely in this salad too.
- I used baby spinach in this salad, but you can use your choice of greens. Arugula would add a nice peppery taste, or kale would add some extra heartiness.
- If you can’t get your hands on the omega oil, extra virgin olive oil works well too.
- You can enjoy this salad warm by serving it right away with the cooked quinoa and chicken. Or you can serve it cold by refrigerating the cooked quinoa and chicken before adding it to the salad. The cold option makes this salad great for meal prep.
If you make this Chicken and Peach Quinoa Salad, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
And if you’re looking for more seasonal salad recipes, here are a few others I’m loving right now:
- Strawberry Mango Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese by Elaine at Flavour and Savour
Chicken and Peach Quinoa Salad is loaded with fresh ingredients like peaches, avocado, cucumber, spinach and radishes, and tossed with a sweet and savoury honey basil vinaigrette. It also comes together in less than 30 minutes, and works perfectly as a summertime main meal!
For the vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup omega oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons liquid honey
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- Dash of salt
For the salad:
- 2/3 cups quinoa, uncooked
- 1 tablespoon omega oil (or extra virgin olive oil), divided
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- Dash of salt and pepper
- 4 cups fresh spinach, packed (or greens of choice)
- 2 large peaches, skin on, sliced
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- 1 medium-sized cucumber, sliced
- 8 small radishes, sliced
Prepare the vinaigrette:
- Add the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until well combined, but some flecks of basil remain.
- Pour into a jar or dish with a lid, and store at room temperature until ready to use.
Prepare the salad:
- Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
- While the quinoa is cooking, pre-heat a skillet with 1/2 tablespoon of oil.
- In a small bowl, add the cubed chicken along with the other 1/2 tablespoon of oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat the chicken.
- Add chicken to pre-heated skillet, and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink.
- Divide out the remaining salad ingredients into 4 bowls, and top with the quinoa, chicken and vinaigrette. Serve and enjoy!
- This recipe also works with grilled chicken breast or a rotisserie chicken. Just slice or chop and add to the salad.
- If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried basil for 1 tablespoon of fresh.
- Omega Oil is a blend of grapeseed oil, extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil. If you can’t get your hands on it, you can substitute extra virgin olive oil.
- You can enjoy this salad warm by serving it right away with the cooked quinoa and chicken, or serve it cold by refrigerating the cooked quinoa and chicken before adding it to the salad.
- To prep this salad in advance, store the veggies, fruit, quinoa, chicken and vinaigrette separately, and assemble when ready to eat.
- Since fresh basil is stored at room temperature, I don’t normally refrigerate the vinaigrette. However, I usually aim to use it within a day or two of making it.
Keywords: peach salad, quinoa salad