Have you ever been to a restaurant and ordered a dish that you absolutely loved from your very first bite? One that makes you want to go back, just so you can order it again and again? Sadly, the Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Thai Chili Chicken that I ordered at Company Cafe a few months ago is not on their regular menu. It was only a dinner special the night we dined there, otherwise I would have made it a monthly stop on our date night dinner rotation. I even made a point to tell our waiter that I loved the dish so much, he needed to tell the chef to add it to their menu!
Since I could not go back to order it again, I was inspired to kickoff a new theme for my blog that I am going to call Restaurant Recreation where I make my own restaurant meals at home. As a recipe developer and clean eating advocate, I often think of ways I can recreate the restaurant dishes at home to make them healthier. Fortunately, this dish did not need any tweaks or swaps to make it a healthy, delicious dinner. I just did my best to recreate it from memory, using fresh ingredients I had in my own kitchen.
Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you, this is relatively simple to make and totally worth the extra effort it takes to assemble the dish. If you are short on time, you can substitute the homemade sauce with the bottled variety or simply grill your chicken breasts. If your chicken breasts are thick, like mine were, you may want to slice them in half. I had three large chicken breasts that I butterflied then breaded, so I ended up with six pieces of chicken approximately four ounces each.
Hope you enjoy this Restaurant Recreation as much as I do! I ate this meal for dinner on Sunday and on Monday morning that I was already craving the leftovers for lunch!
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 almond meal (I use Bob's Red Mill)
- 1 egg, scrambled
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame, cooked
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, like Simple Truth Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas
- 1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and stems removed
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover a baking sheet with foil. Coat foil with non-stick spray.
- Mix egg and almond milk in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl combine panko, salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in almond flour, coating both sides then dip in egg/almond milk mixture. Coat both sides of chicken with panko then place on foil lined baking sheet. Once all chicken breasts are "breaded," bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. When the chicken cooked, brown the top of the chicken under to broiler for 2-3 minutes (optional).
- While the chicken is baking, cook the quinoa. Bring one cup of water to a boil, stir in quinoa and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed. While quinoa is simmering, cook edamame according to package directions.
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add carrots, sugar snap peas and bell pepper strips and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
- Combine the cooked quinoa with the edamame, carrots, sugar snap peas and bell pepper (4 Real Tip: the vegetables can be added directly to the pot in which you cooked your quinoa).
- In a small pot, bring rice vinegar and water to a boil. Add ginger, garlic, sugar, ketchup and ground red pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch and remove from heat. Allow sauce to stand for 5 minutes to thicken before serving.
- To assemble the salad, place about 1/2 cup of fresh spinach on a plate and top with 1/2 cup of warm, quinoa vegetable mixture. Add chicken breast and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of Thai Chili sauce. This salad is also great reheated, once you have heated your quinoa and chicken, just add fresh spinach on top and mix to combine.