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Chicken Quinoa Salad Recipe with Apple Vinaigrette

This easy chicken quinoa salad recipe starts with chicken breast fillets marinated in apple cider vinegar and then grilled. While the chicken cooks, I prep the salad, tossing the cooked quinoa with the vegetables and vinaigrette.

chicken quinoa salad recipe

Super easy chicken quinoa salad recipe

This is a hearty meal-sized salad that’s full of healthy ingredients. Kale, quinoa, radishes, purple cabbage, crisp apples, raisins, and pinenuts are all tossed in a tangy and flavorful cumin-apple vinaigrette.

How to cook quinoa

The first trick to cooking perfect quinoa is to use double the amount of water as quinoa. Second, cook the quinoa with the pot uncovered. The cooking time varies depending on how large or small a batch you are cooking. A smaller quantity of quinoa will take less time to cook. Cook until the water is completely absorbed and then cover the pot and let it steam for about 5 minutes.

Yield: 4

Grilled Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Apple-Cumin Vinaigrette

A bowl of quinoa salad iwth chicken, pine nutes, apples, radishes, and greens.

Tender, juicy grilled chicken tops cooked quinoa tossed with plump raisins, ribbons of nutritious lacinato kale, shreds of crunchy red cabbage, and crisp radish slices all tumbled with a tangy apple-cumin vinaigrette loaded with chunks of tart Granny Smith apple.

I used red quinoa, but you can use whatever type you have on hand. Do be sure to use lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale rather than the curly type, which isn't tender enough to serve raw.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


For the chicken

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets (about 1 ¼ pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

For the quinoa

  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 3 tablespoons raisins

For the vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced small
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

For the salad

  • 4 radishes, trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced
  • ½ bunch lacinato or dinosaur kale, julienned
  • ¼ head red cabbage, julienned
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, for garnish


  1. To prepare the chicken, season the fillets generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Place them in a dish and pour the vinegar over them. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, cook the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the grains are tender and most of the water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the raisins.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  4. Heat a lightly oiled grill or grill pan to medium-high heat (you could also use an oven-safe skillet). Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade, and grill until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to the oven (if you are using an oven-safe skillet or grill pan, you can transfer the whole thing to the oven. Otherwise, place the chicken in a baking dish.) Cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/8-inch-thick pieces.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, make the vinaigrette and the salad. To make the vinaigrette, in a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and salt. Stir in the apple and let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir in the olive oil.
  6. To make the salad, add the radishes, kale, and cabbage to the quinoa and mix well. Add the dressing and toss until well combined.
  7. Serve the salad in individual serving bowls and top with the chicken strips. Garnish with the pine nuts and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 418Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 42mgSodium 510mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 5gSugar 15gProtein 20g


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Last Updated: August 7, 2019

By on August 7th, 2019

About Robin Donovan

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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