Ever since Camp Blogaway I have been trying to find those delicious mini grilled artichoke hearts that we tasted on the first day of camp. They’re marinated in sunflower oil and spices, packed in a “fresh pack” from Roland Foods. These yummy little treats have a mild smoky flavor and are much lighter than the marinated artichoke hearts I’ve had before. These tasty little grilled artichoke hearts are perfect on a toothpick as an appetizer, and they are delicious in a salad. Especially in this Coconut Chicken Quinoa Salad!
Coconut chicken? Yep. It was a happy accident. Our daughter made a super special coconut cake for Father’s Day. Later in the week I found a partial can of coconut milk still sitting in the fridge. I don’t usually cook with coconut milk, but that particular day I was stewing some chicken thighs in a pot with some garlic, so I added that coconut milk and let it all simmer until that coconut milk had carmelized on the chicken. I wish I had taken a photo, but that chicken tasted so good that The Farmer enjoyed it with some avocado for a late supper. My new coconut chicken disappeared before I could do anything else with it!
A few days later, I decided to try again. This time I had chicken tenders from the freezer and cooked them the same way. I prepared 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill quinoa and added it to the chicken, then cut up the first yellow squash of the season from my garden and added it to the pot. The heat from the quinoa and chicken was just enough to cook the squash after I turned off the heat and covered the skillet. Before serving, I added a package of Roland Grilled Artichoke Hearts and some Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes from Mooney Farms. And it was good!
The Farmer happened to mention that our mechanic was coming the next day to work on some ranch vehicles. Our mobile mechanic is very near and dear to our hearts, so we plan a nice lunch for him when he’s working here for the day. He has nicknamed himself “The Atttitude”, and enjoys spending some time visiting in the kitchen during the lunch break. He has successfully dropped some weight in the last several months, so I didn’t want to serve a lunch that would set him back. The chicken quinoa salad would be perfect! So I went back to the garden and found two more squash and cooked them with a sweet onion in some more coconut milk.
When the squash was just beginning to be tender, I added it to the leftover chicken quinoa salad, along with another package of Roland grilled artichoke hearts. When the men came in for lunch, they dished up the salad, still warm, and topped it with chunks of delicious ripe avocado.
Success! Both The Farmer and The Attitude loved the salad! The coconut milk smells wonderful while the chicken is cooking, and adds just a touch of sweetness. Those grilled artichoke hearts were a hit too. I love them so much that I ‘ve signed up for a subscription through Amazon.com. Now I can get recurring shipments of those delicious artichoke hearts just like others receive their avocados from our farm every month through California Avocados Direct!
Here’s the recipe for my Coconut Chicken Quinoa Salad! (P. S. You may want to try your favorite seasonings…one friend added cayenne pepper and a dash of cinnamon to their portion.)
Coconut Chicken Quinoa Salad with Grilled Artichokes, Avocado and Sundried Tomatoes
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken
- 1 sweet onion
- 2-3 small zucchini or yellow squash
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 can Trader Joe's coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. garlic powder or two cloves minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked Bob's Red Mill quinoa
- 1 or 2 packages Roland grilled artichoke hearts
- 3/4 cup Bella Sun Luci Julienne Cut Sun Dried Tomatoes
- several ripe California avocados
- Brown the chicken in a large skillet. Add the garlic powder and 1/2 can coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is very tender and the coconut milked has reduced. Chop the chicken into bitesize pieces.
- While the chicken is cooking, rinse and cook 2 cups of quinoa according to the directions on the package. When the chicken is done, fold the cooked quinoa into the chicken.
- Thinly slice the squash and onion and sautee in the olive oil. Add the remaining 1/2 can of coconut milk and cook until the squash is al dente.
- Fold the squash and onion mixture into the quinoa and chicken.
- Add the grilled artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or chilled. Top with chunks of ripe avocado.