Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad with Caper, Olive and Almond Pesto Topped with Grilled Chicken

We love how simple ingredients can be elevated with different condiments - dress up this easy grain-based salad with a caper, olive and almond pesto, served with flavourful grilled chicken.

Meal Prep

Breakdown

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fan bake.
  • Cook the quinoa.
  • Roast the cauliflower and onion.
  • To make the pesto.
  • Toss the pesto through the quinoa.
  • Cook the chicken.
  • Plate up and enjoy.

Tips

  • We like to pound our chicken breasts as this helps to cook them faster without burning or over cooking the chicken breast. Start by placing the chicken breasts between two pieces of baking paper, lightly pound with a rolling pin, wine bottle, pot or pan - starting in the centre, working out to the edges, until the chicken is even in thickness (about 1.5cm).

  • Coating the grains in the dressing (or pesto in this case) is the easiest way to distribute it evenly without having to mix too heavily when more delicate ingredients are added.
  • This salad is great for lunch the next day, you'll just need to omit the spinach and add it right before serving - otherwise, the spinach will go 'soggy.'

Meal prep guide - if you followed the meal prep guide you would have already cooked the quinoa and cut the cauliflower.

This recipe serves four, if you’re cooking for two we recommend roasting the full onion to prevent waste, then half the remaining recipe.

INGREDIENTSIngredients
  • 1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 1 red onion (cut into wedges)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 120g baby spinach (1 bag)

Caper, olive and almond pesto

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp capers
  • ¼ cup green olives
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup roasted almonds  

Garlicky grilled chicken

  • 600g chicken breast *see tips
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely sliced)
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
METHODMethod
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fan bake.

  2. While the oven is heating, cook the quinoa as per packet instructions.

  3. Add cauliflower and onion to a large roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for around 30 minutes or until tender and crispy.

  4. To make the pesto, combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until combined but still a little chunky.

  5. Once the quinoa has cooked, add the pesto and toss well to distribute evenly.

  6. Add the olive oil to a large frypan over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken breast to the pan and cook undisturbed for 7 minutes, then flip and cook for a further 7 minutes. Then add the butter, parsley, garlic, lemon juice and zest, cook for another minute or so, basting the chicken with garlicky butter. Once cool enough to handle, slice into bite-size pieces.

  7. Grab a large bowl; add the quinoa, cauliflower, onion, and the spinach, then toss well. Divide between plates and top with chicken.
VARIATIONS

One of the best things about grain-based salads is you can often mix up the vegetables and grains for what ever you have on hand or feel like.

Vegetables

  • Swap cauliflower for roasted broccoli, green beans, zucchini, capsicum, eggplant or even roasted baby potatoes is delicious - you’ll just need to adjust the cooking time.

Protein

  • For a vegetarian option, omit the chicken and add 1x 400g tin of chickpeas (rinsed and drained). Add them to the quinoa before being tossed in the pesto.

  • Swap chicken for our zesty lemon caper fish, pan-fried salmon or lamb chops.

Other

  • This salad would be delicious with some feta. ‍

  • You can use red quinoa or any other ancient grain.