This Peach Chipotle Chicken Salad with Quinoa is made with simple and fresh ingredients for an easy summertime salad recipe packed with flavor. Bake or grill the chicken ahead of time for a delicious meal in minutes!
A Summer Recipe That Is Just Peachy
This time of year, it seems like fresh produce is everywhere just waiting to be eaten. From blueberries, blackberries, zucchini, and more, we’ve got it all around here! It’s delicious, too. However, I have to admit that I have a particular sweet spot for fresh peaches in the summertime. Not only are they a tasty snack full of vitamins and antioxidants, but they’re also great in recipes like Honey Chipotle Peach Relish, Easy Baked Salmon with Chipotle Peach Salsa, and Protein Chia Pudding with Peaches.
One of my favorite ways to eat peaches is paired with meat. There’s just something about that sweet and savory flavor, ya know? So, for this chipotle chicken bowl, I decided to elevate this classic combination by adding my Chipotle Mayo to create the perfect balance of sweet, smokey, and spicy! Even better, this summer quinoa salad turned out to be a super versatile recipe ideal for meal prep.
With two cooking methods, this Peach Chipotle Chicken Salad with Quinoa will quickly become a staple in your kitchen. So, let’s get cooking!
MVP Ingredients & Easy Substitutes
Once you’ve gathered the main ingredients for this recipe, the list of ways to use it is virtually endless. Whether you want to make a chipotle chicken bowl, opt for a warm salad, or serve it in a wrap, you really can’t go wrong! The first step is to gather the core ingredients listed below.
Swap: Need something different? Check out our substitutions below.
- Chicken Breast – Chicken breast is an ideal protein source as its flavor is light enough not to overpower the rest of the ingredients, and it tastes great on the grill. However, skinless salmon works as well!
- Chipotle Mayo – I keep my homemade Chipotle Mayo recipe on hand in the fridge for all occasions, but you could also make your own by combining paleo mayo with adobo sauce, a chipotle pepper, and lime juice.
- Quinoa – Quinoa is a great gluten-free grain source, but you could swap it for rice. Or, if you’re looking for a low-carb option, omit it altogether or use cauliflower rice instead.
- Peach – If you can’t find fresh peaches, nectarines would provide a nearly identical taste.
- Avocado – Technically, including the avocado in this recipe is optional, but I highly recommend it for added fats and an even richer taste. Yet, if avocado isn’t’ your jam, you can always use more Chipotle Mayo or even hummus.
To add even more flavor and texture to this chicken salad with quinoa, feel free to get creative with your topping selections! I’ve found that fresh ingredients work best, but, really, nearly anything goes. For instance, some of my favorite additions include avocado, cooked corn, crumbled feta, and tomatoes. When serving, I also like to add a garnish of extra cilantro and sliced lime to make this dish extra appetizing.
The Secret to Perfect Chicken with 2 Cooking Options
Honestly, once the chicken is prepared, this summer quinoa salad couldn’t be easier to make. However, to ensure you’re never left with bland or overcooked chicken, I’m giving you all my secrets and 2 cooking methods to fit your needs.
Whether you prefer to grill or bake your chicken, the first step is to rub it with all the seasonings. I’ve found the best way to do this is simply to just use your hands and fully coat the meat as well as you can.
Then, if you’re grilling the chicken, make sure to keep the grill covered in order to prevent dry chicken. Or, if you bake the chicken breasts, use a high temperature of 425 degrees to shorten the baking time.
For both methods, try pounding out the chicken breasts or butterfly them into smaller cuts. Also, once cooked, place the chicken on a plate and cover it with foil for 5 minutes to prevent all the juices from running out.
Then, to prepare your chipotle chicken bowl, slice the chicken and produce, toss the ingredients in a bowl, and enjoy!
Pro-Tip: Texture is key to any delicious dish and this salad is no different. You can prepare this one of two ways. One, finely chopped like a chopped chicken salad with peaches, or two, ingredients are sliced for more of a Ceasar Salad texture. Honestly, I like the chopped salad version better because the peaches last a little longer and get that burst of sweetness with each bite.
How to Pick the Perfect Peach
Picking the sweetest peaches in the bunch is a breeze if you follow a few simple tips!
- Look for color. The best peaches will always have a rich and vibrant orange color. It’s okay if some spots are lighter than others as this occurs due to changes in the amount of sunlight received, but you definitely don’t want to see any green.
- Avoid wrinkles. Peaches with wrinkly skin were likely kept chilled after being harvested and will be dried out and bland.
- Give it a squeeze. The most ripe and juicy peaches will give slightly when lightly squeezed.
- Don’t forget the sniff test! You should be able to smell the aroma of peaches fairly easily. If you can’t, your peach isn’t quite ready to eat.
Nutrition Tip: Peaches are stone fruits containing fructose. So they are not low fodmap friendly but that doesn’t mean they’re not healthy. They contain a great source of fiber and vitamin C! When you add vitamin C to dishes that contain plant-based iron and heme iron (like leafy greens and chicken), it helps with absorption. So the peaches really do help with the overall nutrient density.
Meal Prep Questions
Yes, this zesty quinoa salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To prevent it from browning and turning too mushy, slice the avocado right before serving.
I don’t recommend freezing this recipe once fully assembled. However, you can make and freeze the chicken and quinoa separately. Then, just thaw them, and combine all of the ingredients when you’re ready to eat.
For a super-fast substitute, try swapping the quinoa for raw or cooked cauliflower rice. You could also use riced carrots for a sweeter crunch!
We prep this recipe to have on hand for a southwest quinoa salad to have throughout the week. Do you have any meal prep recipes I should try? Let me know in the comments below!