Let’s talk about the weather, shall we? It’s hot out. Like… really hot. It’s the time of year where I realize I’ll be working up a constant sweat until at least September. This means my desire to cook/bake/do anything but stand with my head in the freezer is long gone. But a girl’s gotta eat!

I made a giant batch of quinoa earlier this week to use as inspiration strikes, and strike it did when I bought the world’s most gorgeous avocado yesterday. I decided to revise Cooking Light’s 5-star rated Chicken-Avocado Salad based on the contents of my refrigerator—subbing in quinoa for bulgur and goat cheese for feta. Confession: I’m not a feta fan. I don’t know what’s wrong with me either.


Ingredients2 teaspoons olive oil1 teaspoon orange juice1 teaspoon sherry vinegarDash of saltDash of pepper¾ cup cooked quinoa2 ounces shredded roasted chicken¼ cup sliced avocado6 cherry tomatoes, halved1 tablespoon goat cheeseChopped fresh cilantro.

PreparationCombine olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss quinoa with chicken. Top with avocado and cherry tomato halves. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Drizzle dressing over quinoa mixture; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Click the photo to view on Instagram

Click the photo to view on Instagram

This dish came together in less than ten minutes and was gone about three minutes after that—great success. Other than boiling quinoa ahead of time, I kept up my cooking strike by using thick-cut roasted chicken from my local deli in a dish that highlights this season's raw produce. Plus, as delicate as the salad looks, it kept me full for hours (not an easy feat). Definitely worth all 5 stars!

Despite making a double batch, I found myself with enough quinoa and chicken left to last the rest of the week. So, up next on the docket:


Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Oranges

What are your go-to summer ingredients? Let us know in the comments section!