Quinoa + Chicken + Beet Salad with “Crack” Lemon Viniagrette

I don’t normally eat salads, but when I do, they have strange ingredients.

photo 2

Get it? Like the Dos Equis beer commercial? Except…salads. Ok. You’re right. Not the same thing.

Regardless, I don’t like salads. Y’all have heard me complain often enough about this, and it’s true. They’re just not…satisfying. But every once in a while, I come across a salad that tickles my fancy, and this my friends, is one of them. The dressing comes from one of my favorite people at work. This girl tells it like it is, and I love her for it. Also, she gave me this dressing recipe, which makes me love her even more. It’s THAT good. Hence, the title…crack. You know, like once you do crack you’re hooked. Or so they tell me.

Another thing about this salad? It has carbs. And you can bet your ass that if I’m eating that leafy green garbage, I’m still going to find a way to include some carbs. Even if it’s quinoa.

On that note, I had a 7-minute phone conversation with my mother last night while I tried to explain what “quinoa” is. Turns out, she knows what it is. She just prefers to pronounce it “quinn-oh-ah”. Also, I’m guessing I’ll get coal in my Christmas stocking for telling that little story. Sigh.


  • 1 cup raw quinoa — cook according to package directions
  • 4 steamed beets, sliced or chopped — I bought mine pre-steamed in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Ask the nice old man if you can’t find them, he’ll help.
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 11/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken meat — I bought a rotisserie chicken and used that
  • 1 avocado, diced (optional)

For the crack dressing:

  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 3/4 c extra virgin olive oil


Cook quinoa according to package directions. Let cool.

For the dressing, combine all ingredients except for olive oil in a medium bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking as you pour in the oil. Continue whisking until the dressing is emulsified.

In a large bowl, toss spinach, beets, chicken, avocado, and quinoa with enough dressing to lightly coat it. Divide between two plates and serve.

Yields: 2 servings of sald; dressing recipe yields roughly 1 1/4 cups. Any leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Recipe from: Crack dressing from the lovely Tisha who got it from her friend who got it from her friend. Salad “recipe” from yours truly.



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