We grow a garden and live out of it in the summer. Lots of different varieties of lettuce are grown and so salads are an almost daily part of our menu. On hot summer days, I love to make what I call a main meal salad like this Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette.
I simply take a meat platter and lay a layer of mixed greens down the center bordered by a row of quinoa along both sides of the lettuce bed. I often marinate and cook chicken breasts then slice them for salads as I have done here. I use whatever fruit I have on hand or that is in season to make a colorful and healthy salad. It could be strawberries, mango, melons, oranges or mandarins, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, and so forth. Add some red onion rings, crumbled feta cheese, and top with crunchy pea and radish shoots and you have a very colorful, appetizing, and healthy dinner.
What makes the salad super tasty is the vinaigrette.
For this recipe, start with 3 tablespoons of orange juice and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and add a small star anise pod and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let the juice cool. This allows the star anise to infuse the juice with a lovely subtle layer of licorice flavor. Discard the star anise and mix the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar and shake vigorously. If adding fresh herbs, only add them at the time of serving as, otherwise, they become quite limp and wilted.
Now, I don’t tend to measure the ingredients for the salad itself. I go to the garden and pick a couple of handfuls of different kinds of lettuce. For a main meal serving for two, I cook 1/2 cup of quinoa and a large chicken breast. For the fruits, just add as many of each kind as you like and the same for the pea and radish shoots. I don’t grow these shoots – I get them from Just A Little Farm in Bonshaw. You can click here to read the story I wrote about this farm. Jessica grows the most amazing produce and her pea and radish shoots are so lovely crisp and fresh!
This recipe will yield a generous main meal for two or, if serving as a starter, it could serve 4-6.
[Printable Recipe Follows at end of Posting]
Orange and Star Anise Vinaigrette
3 tbsp orange juice
1 small star anise pod
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp liquid honey
¼ tsp garlic salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, thyme, dill), chopped
In small saucepan, bring orange juice to boiling point over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and add the star anise pod. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, allowing the star anise to infuse the orange juice. Remove and discard star anise after orange juice has cooled.
Combine all ingredients, except the fresh herbs, in a small jar. Shake vigorously. Add the chopped herbs at time of serving.
Yield: Apx. scant ½ cup
A tasty vinaigrette with subtle undertones of licorice flavor. Perfect accompaniment to any salad but especially good with Chicken and Quinoa Salad
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 1 small star anise pod
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp liquid honey
- ¼ tsp garlic salt
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, thyme, dill), chopped
- In small saucepan, bring orange juice to boiling point over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and add the star anise pod. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, allowing the star anise to infuse the orange juice. Remove and discard star anise after orange juice has cooled.
- Combine all ingredients, except the fresh herbs, in a small jar. Shake vigorously. Add the chopped herbs at time of serving.
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