Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Orange Pomegranate Dressing

Quinoa SaladDo you ever have something in a restaurant that is so hauntingly delicious that you become consumed with the idea of recreating it at home? Well, friend, that happened to me with this salad. Way back in April, when we were in Monterey, we went out to dinner at a place we feared would be too fancy (read: expensive) for our taste, but it turned out to be delightfully affordable: Lalla Grill. And it had this salad. I didn’t lick the bowl. But I thought about it. I didn’t have a recipe to work from, but I was able to find the description on the website. Huzzah! (Side note: do you see those pretty knitted little guys peeking out from under the plate? My aunt Ellen made those for us. Hi, aunt Ellen, and thank you!)

Quinoa SaladThis is what it looked like at the restaurant: piled high with blackened chicken and bacon (mmmm), feta and walnuts, cranberries and cucumbers, apples and arugula. It was salad heaven. So I got to work in the kitchen.

Quinoa SaladHere is the party getting started.

Quinoa SaladI don’t actually know how to make blackened chicken (or blackened anything, for that matter), but maybe I should learn because it is so delicious. In any case, I grilled the chicken, and it was still fantastic.

Quinoa SaladLalla served their salad with a cherry vinaigrette, but I mixed up an orange pomegranate dressing similar to this one.

Quinoa SaladMmm. I made a gigantic bowl of this, and we ate it all week.

Quinoa SaladAnd, just for fun, here’s my man at Lalla. I love him. That will be all.

Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Orange Pomegranate Dressing
Inspired by Lalla Grill

This makes a very large bowl of salad, so it’s great for feeding a crowd of 6 or so. But you can also cut it in half.

For the Salad:

1 c dried quinoa, cooked
1 chicken breast, grilled and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 red onion, sliced and grilled
1-2 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c feta cheese
2 c arugula
1/4 c cilantro, chopped

For the Dressing:

2 Tbsp orange juice (add more for extra sweetness)
2 Tbsp pomegranate juice (or 2 tsp pomegranate molasses) (add more for extra tartness)
1/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix and enjoy!

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