Rainbow Chicken Salad

I feel like I should be sharing something more appropriate for curing the munchies today (you know, because it's 420). But instead, I have a pretty healthy, really delicious chicken salad that seems completely suited for the amazing sunny weather we've been having lately. When the weather starts to warm up, I start craving crunchy vegetables and bright, colorful foods and this totally fits the bill.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
chicken salad
1 lb. bone-in chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 baby cucumbers, sliced
¼ red onion, sliced
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ lb. green beans, chopped
½ cup corn
½ green peas
1 yellow squash, chopped
½ cup cooked quinoa
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup pesto

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ cup quinoa
½ cup chicken stock

Start by seasoning the chicken liberally with salt and pepper and setting them onto a sheet pan. Roast the chicken at 400F for 30 to 45 minutes or until they're cooked through. Check the internal temperature - it should be 165F.
Next, work on the quinoa. Quinoa is kind of weird; the grains are really tiny so I'm not the biggest fan of eating it as a side dish (like as a substitute for rice). But, I like mixing it into salads because then the grain size doesn't bother me. Plus, it's super healthy so it's an easy ingredient to throw in for a little more protein and vitamin enrichment.
Slice up some garlic and add to a saucepan with olive oil and turn the heat up to medium. Once the garlic starts sizzling, pour in the quinoa and stir. Toast the quinoa lightly and then add in chicken stock and stir. Reduce the heat to low, pop on the lid, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the liquid is completely absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
Set the quinoa aside to cool.
Next, chop up all of the vegetables. You could potentially use whatever vegetables you like; just choose ones that are hardy enough to hold up in a salad. Lightly saute the squash and green beans in a pan with a little oil. Add all of the vegetables and the quinoa to a bowl and season with the lemon zest and lemon juice and pesto.
Shred the chicken and add to the bowl and stir to combine.
And that's the salad, done.
Serve in a sandwich or on top of crackers or on top of greens. I personally love this salad with Triscuit crackers. The crunch is really nice. The salad itself is really vibrant, thanks to the lemon zest and juice, it's incredibly flavorful because of the roast chicken, and I love the variety of vegetables. It looks really pretty and I feel great eating it.
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