This Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad is made with spicy shredded buffalo chicken, shredded carrot, chopped celery, tomato, corn, broccoli, bacon, and cheese on a bed of quinoa and spinach. It’s a quick, easy, and healthy weeknight dinner or a meal to prep and pack for lunch.
This Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad is loosely based on a salad from a Chicago lunch spot that Charles loves. Charles wants to eat healthy dinners, but the problem with some salads is that they don’t keep him full for very long. Eating a healthy dinner isn’t as effective if he is in the kitchen searching for snacks an hour after dinner.
Adding quinoa and plenty of chicken makes this a more filling salad, and one that we can have for dinner. I love it because this meal comes together in under 30 minutes. Plus, I have the option of making extra and meal prepping some lunches to eat during the work week.
This is a recipe that you can adjust based on your own preferences. I like to use a 50/50 mix of quinoa and greens. Sometimes I use mixed greens and sometimes I use spinach because it has more nutritional value. Sometimes I add cheddar, other days we pick blue cheese. It’s easy to mix things up to make this meal feel new and different.
I add my favorite vegetables: broccoli, carrot, and corn. Charles isn’t a fan of broccoli, so he gets celery instead. You could also add cucumber, bell pepper, or avocado.
You can prepare this meal with crock pot buffalo chicken, or you can shred a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and add buffalo sauce. If you plan ahead, I think that making buffalo chicken in the crock pot is easier than shredding a rotisserie chicken. You just need to give the chicken 4-6 hours to cook in the crock pot.
At the restaurant that inspired this recipe, the buffalo sauce acts as the dressing. If you want to add an addition dressing (I usually do), I recommend ranch or blue cheese. Sticking to buffalo sauce is the healthiest option, but I can’t resist an opportunity to add ranch.
Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad Recipe:
- 1/2 cup Quinoa
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 2 slices of Bacon
- 1 cup Shredded Roast Chicken
- 1/4 cup Buffalo Sauce
- 2 cups Mixed Greens or Spinach
- 1/4 cup Corn
- 1 small Tomato
- 1 stalk Celery
- 1 Carrot
- 1/3 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup Broccoli
- Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing
First cook the quinoa, bring the chicken broth to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 20 minutes. Then fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the bacon. I like to cook it in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, until crispy. Blot excess grease with a paper towel and then crumble.
You can cook the broccoli, or eat it raw. I like to quickly steam it in the microwave. I rinse the broccoli in water, and then pour a couple of tablespoons of water into a microwave-safe bowl. Add the broccoli and microwave for 2-3 minutes, until fork tender. Then drain off the excess water.
Combine the chicken and the buffalo sauce in a small bowl.
Grate the carrot, chop the celery and tomato.
To assemble, divide the quinoa between two bowls. Add the greens, and then arrange the buffalo chicken, bacon, corn, carrot, tomato, celery, broccoli, and cheese on top.
Drizzle dressing over.