I realize that things have been rather dessert-centric around here as of late, and I mean to remedy this by posting a dish with a little more nutritional substance (and a lot less sugar). Well, a lot more nutritional substance; I think that this dish may actually include them all. What we have here is what I have decided to call Mandarin Chicken Tabbouleh. It’s a tabbouleh in spirit more than anything else, for it has very few things in common with the original. Nonetheless, I think it’s a winner and pretty darn tasty.
If you’re not yet acquainted with quinoa (pronounced keen-hua), I encourage you to consider it as a fascinating alternative to rice. When fully cooked, it displays the most adorable little curly-Qs that add a great deal of visual appeal to any dish it is featured in. The grain gets an oriental twist with the addition of mandarin oranges, ginger, almonds, and soy sauce, as well as a welcome splash of color from shredded carrots and sliced scallions. If anything, it’s pretty to look at.
Tabbouleh is, technically, a salad, though it can easily be made into an entree by beefing up the portion a bit. Full of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins, I dare say that this amalgam of flavor is almost better off as an entree. Let it be the star of the show! Feel free to add any additional spices or veggies you may desire, and have fun with it!
Mandarin Chicken Tabbouleh
2 cups quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup grilled chicken (from about 6 frozen chicken tenders)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 11 oz can mandarin oranges in light syrup, strained
2/3 cup scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded carrots
1 Tbs. fresh ginger root, finely shredded
1 medium pot or large saucepan
1 medium saucepan with lid
1 cutting board
1 large serving bowl
1 meat thermometer
1 set of tongs
Rinse the quinoa. Then, combine the water, chicken broth, and quinoa in the medium pot or large saucepan. Set the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, turn the heat down to medium, maintaining a steady boil. Leave the pot uncovered, and occasionally stir. Cook the quinoa for 30-40 minutes, or until all of the water/broth has been absorbed. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, transfer it to the large serving bowl and set it in the refrigerator, allowing to chill for about two hours.
To make the grilled chicken, lightly spray the bottom of the saucepan with non-stick spray or a light coating of olive oil. Over medium heat, place the frozen chicken tenderloins in the sprayed pan and sprinkle with the black pepper. After 7-10 minutes, flip the tenderloins over and lightly spray them with non-stick spray or a light drizzle of olive oil and a bit of black pepper. Cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until the meat thermometer reads 165F when inserted into the center of a tenderloin. Remove from heat. Cut chicken into 1″-cube pieces.
Remove the chilled quinoa from the refridgerator. Add the grilled chicken, mandarin oranges, soy sauce, sliced scallions, shredded carrots, sliced almonds, and shredded ginger. Toss so that all ingredients are well-combined. Serve chilled as either a side salad or the main course. Enjoy!