BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad


BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad is a healthy party on a plate!


Have you ever come up with a fabulous idea for a recipe and thought to yourself, I’m a frickin’ genius!, only to realize after Googling said idea that you’re about the 4 millionth person to the party?

Yeah, me too.

Always looking for a new way to use quinoa in my cooking, as it’s a food Ben and I can both agree on (unlike onions, fruit, cream cheese, eel, squash, bacon wrapped giblets, cool whip, ham, chevre, eggs, peanut noodles, or mushrooms) and can’t be beat in the nutritional department, I thought –

What if – just WHAT IF – I paired quinoa with summer staples like grilled chicken & corn, then drizzled it with a cool dressing of sweet BBQ sauce and creamy Greek yogurt, and called it thebestthingeverrrr?!

Well, I can tell you why it’s a popular idea, because BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad is seriously unreal!


Full of over-the-top flavors like smoky grilled corn and sassy BBQ sauce, and protein-packed ingredients like grilled chicken, creamy black beans, and fluffy quinoa, BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad is pretty much a healthy and delicious party on a plate.

Use leftover grilled chicken and corn from your last BBQ, or even rotisserie chicken and frozen corn, to get BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad to your table even faster. No matter the method, the fresh and satisfying flavors will still shine through!


Start by rinsing 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under cold, running water. Do not skip this step! Quinoa has a naturally bitter coating called saponin which will ruin the final dish if it’s not rinsed off, mmkay?


After rinsing the quinoa, combine it with 2 cups chicken broth in a small saucepan, then bring it to a boil on the stovetop.

DSC_0178 DSC_0183

Place a lid on top, lower the heat to medium low, then cook the quinoa for 20 minutes or so, until it’s light, fluffy, and springy.


Meanwhile, grill 2 chicken breasts seasoned with salt & pepper, and 2 ears shucked corn, over medium-high heat. The chicken should take about 4-5 minutes a side, and the corn will take just as long. A match made in grilling heaven!

Also, as I mentioned, you could totally use rotisserie or leftover chicken, and frozen –> thawed or canned corn kernels to make the dish come together even faster. Your call!

DSC_0188 DSC_0200

Let the chicken cool off the grill for a few minutes, then shred or chop it up, and toss with enough of your favorite BBQ sauce to coat.

DSC_0208 DSC_0210

Then slice the charred kernels off the corn cob (drool.)


To make the BBQ sauce drizzle that goes on top of the dish, simply stir together 1/4 cup each BBQ sauce and plain Greek yogurt.


I have to share that this GIANT tub of Chobani was only $.88 at the grocery store the other day. $.88! I nearly fell over my shopping cart! Ok, it was going to expire in 4 days…but still!

DSC_0196 DSC_0199

Top the cooked quinoa with shredded BBQ chicken and grilled corn, then add black beans and shredded cheddar cheese. Pop the dish in the microwave for 20 seconds to melt the cheese (if you want) then drizzle with the BBQ sauce dressing, and top with chopped cilantro. Finally, faceplant!


BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

Serves 4


BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad is a healthy party on a plate!


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed very well
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 ears corn, shucked (or 1 cup corn kernels)
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (plus more for chicken)


  1. Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh sieve under cold running water. Combine with the chicken broth in a saucepan then bring to a boil. Place a lid on top, lower heat to medium-low, and cook until quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt & pepper, then grill over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. (Alternatively you could poach the chicken, or use leftover or rotisserie chicken.) Add corn to the grill at the same time, and rotate every couple of minutes to evenly char on all sides. Remove chicken and corn to a plate and let cool slightly. Shred or cut chicken into cubes, then mix with enough BBQ sauce to coat. Slice kernels off the cob.
  3. Mix together Greek yogurt and BBQ sauce in a bowl. Evenly divide the cooked quinoa, shredded BBQ chicken, grilled corn, black beans, and shredded cheese between four plates. Drizzle with yogurt and BBQ sauce mixture, then garnish with chopped cilantro.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


I don’t know what I’m more tickled about – how filling or how flavorful this dish is!


The BBQ sauce + Greek yogurt drizzle totally put it over the top.


Enjoy for lunch, dinner, 4th meal – or heck, even breakfast, if you’re into that sorta thing!


I tried savory oatmeal once and nearly puked. This, I could probably go for, but then lunchtime would come around and I’d be ticked I ate all the leftovers.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Oh, totally unreal. Love this meal, yum!

  2. Samantha 06.05.2012

    Yum! I’ve yet to try Quinoa. I know, I’ve been living under a rock! I think this is going to be my first ever recipe using it!

    Your outfit was super cute, especially the jacket :) I love target for basics!

  3. Lauren 06.05.2012

    Okay this looks phenomenal! I’m eating a quinoa and chicken salad right now but I wish I would have seen this before.
    And I never rinse my quinoa and I never really knew why but this makes total sense!

  4. Dee 06.05.2012

    OMG this looks delicious

  5. Lori H 06.05.2012

    I would love to be able to afford J crew on a more regular basis! Love your cute outfit.
    I think your salad looks delicious. I may add avocado since I love them.

    • Nicole 06.19.2012

      Agree!! :)

  6. Katie 06.05.2012

    You are definitely a genius, girl! This looks to die for!!

  7. Amy 06.05.2012

    I made a version of this ( and my boyfriend says it’s the best thing I’ve ever made :) I love the idea of adding greek yogurt to the BBQ sauce for a dressing. Mmm.

  8. Jessica 06.05.2012

    Have you ever tried roasting your Quiona on the stove before cooking it? it gives it a really nutty flavor that is super tasty!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.06.2012

      I don’t think I’ve tried toasting, but I have tried frying cooked quinoa in a couple Tbls of olive oil. AMAZING.

  9. Anna-Maria 06.05.2012

    WOW!! That is Genius , sounds delish… this might be my new lunch time favorite… Thanks for sharing

  10. Elizabeth 06.05.2012

    Beautiful. Just want to know. Do you really use that red spoon to eat it? If you do then thats totally cool and I need to get me one of those.

  11. Thanks for the quinoa dish…I just bought some and have still had the guts to make it. This sounds good!

  12. Linda 06.05.2012

    WOW I am sooo excited to make this. I am also so happy that I found your blog- I get so excited to see what you are going to make next!

  13. You need a show on Food Network! Seriously, every time I visit your site, the recipes get better and better!!!

  14. Trisha 06.05.2012

    Even if there are 4 million other versions of this recipe out there, I’ll always try the IGE version first! :)

  15. That sauce looks great! I don’t eat chicken, but I think I could make this great with marinaded tofu! I like Ann Taylor a lot! I buy most of my clothes though from LOFT. Same company, but the clothes seem more casual which is great for my work style. Also, you look gorgeous, and definitely like you have fashion sense.

  16. Ann 06.05.2012

    Looks delicious! I’ll have to try that sometime this week, although I’ve used up my last bit of Cookies BBQ sauce. I wish they sold it out here in California (along with Blue Bunny Ice Cream!). Oh yeah, and Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen. . .

  17. Anything with “barbecue chicken” in the name sounds like a winner to me.

    Speaking of which, the BBQ chicken salad is back at Noodles and Co. this summer!! Have you tried it? It’s delish.

  18. Rachel 06.05.2012

    This looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it!

  19. Kaelin 06.05.2012

    I had been eating tons of quinoa over the last couple of years, but suddenly a couple of months ago I started to have terrible stomach cramps after eating it. I discovered I am allergic or intolerant to quinoa. Totally bummed! :(

    Any good ideas for a quinoa substitute? This recipe is totally up my alley!!

    • JennP 06.05.2012

      I bet it would also be really good (and lower carb) just served over a big bed of greens!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.06.2012

      You could mix it up with some small cut pasta!

  20. Love the idea for this meal!! And the feed adam quinoa sounds like an amazing organization :)

    Your outfit is so cute!

  21. ashley 06.05.2012

    you definitely looked like a doll in that outfit! I have the jacket…but it is a million degrees in nashville and I over heat easily so its gonna have to wait till fall…fail!

    most of my shopping is done at marshalls,tjmaxx, macys and francescas. They have some amazingly adorable dresses right now. i want them all!

  22. That salad looks amazing!! Do you use 1 chicken breast for both you and Ben!

  23. jad18 06.05.2012

    My faves are Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. I actually think the Loft is no longer associated with Ann Taylor, it’s just The Loft.

  24. Ashley 06.05.2012

    That meal looks outstanding and I’m planning to make it this weekend!

    I LOVE Banana Republic, Gap, Francesca’s, and the LOFT.

  25. Marie B. 06.05.2012

    Do you have a Bealls? They have a great petite dept. also! My daughter & I have been buying most of ours from there! That outfit did look wonderful on you with your dark hair!

    Great recipe!

  26. Lindsey 06.05.2012

    Love Target when we are the States, but here I shop mainly at H&M, Old Navy and RW&Co.

  27. Allison 06.05.2012

    I also wear a lot of Ann Taylor Loft, due to their petite section. I don’t wear JCrew because I can’t quite bring myself to spend that much and their pants/skirts/dresses NEVER fit me. You always look nice on your blog – I think you do have fashion sense!

  28. Emily 06.05.2012

    With our budget, we go to Goodwill, Forever 21, and JCPenney when we get the annual gift card from my bro. Sometimes I’m given clothes free which is awesome. We need all the help we can get!

  29. I also work on a (small) rotation basis with my outfits! Can totally relate :)

  30. I didn’t know about rinsing the quinoa! I’ve also never cooked it in a broth! Wow, you’re opening my eyes. This recipe looks delicious :)

    I’m big into Forever21 and H&M! I’m also obsessed with Target, sometimes I need to avoid the clothing section because I get sucked in!

  31. Jessica 06.06.2012

    making this asap!! looks awesome and would please everyone.

    i’m a huge nanner town (banana republic outlet) junkie. (thank HEAVENS for williamsburg)
    between that and target, i’m set! :)

  32. This salad looks awesome! I’m about to write my shopping list and I’m pretty sure it’s getting added.

    So of all the things Ben and you don’t agree on, I’m wondering who likes peanut noodles? I LOVE them and Hubster thinks they’re ok to mehh. :)

    I buy a lot of my work clothes at Express. They have pants that fit me great. Outside work (ie dresses b/c that’s all I really want to wear) is a combination of Urban Outfitters (you have to dig but they have cute stuff) and random finds on flash sale sites. I also really like Francesca’s. I always find something cute when I’m there.

  33. […] collecting some ingredients on the walk home, I made BBQ Quinoa Salad, another delicious recipe from Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats (her photos are infinitely better […]

  34. bonni 06.06.2012

    Recipe looks yummy! i love using greek yogurt as a base for things and making a dressing. I love Target for clothes and everything else shopping. They have fun pieces for each season and plenty of stables that don’t go out of style. The pants and jeans come in different fits and lengths (cause short legs are not fun). As a bonus they rotate items out so they soon hit the clearance racks, Score!

  35. molly 06.06.2012

    Any suggestion if my family doesn’t like BBQ sauce?
    INC Petites are the best at Macy’s!

  36. Anna 06.06.2012

    Another fab salad recipe – I’m still in love with your Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad recipe. Can´t wait to try this one.

  37. Alice 06.06.2012

    I love how the grill is incorporated into so many of your meals! I just wish we could keep ours on our deck (condo rules say “no”) so that we could utilize it more!
    Banana Republic sales!

  38. Lauren T 06.06.2012

    That looks incredible! Will have to try asap!
    I’m a big LOFT fan too! My mom and I go shopping there all the time. She loves it for the petite clothes too! I love how their clothes can be worn in a professional setting and a casual one too :) Wish I had more money to shop there all the time ha!

  39. Erin 06.06.2012

    My jaw hit the floor when you said you bought that Chobani large container for $.88 I had to (regretfully) pass it up at the grocery store yesterday as they were asking $6.30 for it. Yes. That’s right. $6.30!!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes.

    • Jess S 06.07.2012

      I usually pay $6 ($5.99) for a container that size. If my husband had any idea, he’d kill me!

  40. Sara 06.06.2012

    Trying this recipe tonight!

    I LOVE shopping at the Limited, Banana Republic and Von Maur :) I wish I had the budget to shop at JCrew more often too!

  41. I agree 100% with your store preferences, including the “j. crew if I had a bigger budget” :) And obviously I love this recipe…anything with quinoa is an obvious winner.

  42. Bree 06.06.2012

    Definitely adding this to my quinoa repertoire!!

    I actually need to go shopping. I love hitting up Express, White House Black Market (but only if I can find stuff on sale – yikes!), H&M, Gap, Banana Republic (again, only if sale) and occassionaly N Y & Co.

  43. Angie 06.06.2012

    Oh my gosh, this looks ah-mazing! I’m big on LOFT too :)

  44. Hannah 06.06.2012

    I’ve seen a billion quinoa recipes and they all sound the same but this looks amazing. A perfect change, thanks!

  45. Charlene 06.07.2012

    I made it for lunch today. Love the greek yogurt and bbq sauce!!!

  46. Amanda 06.10.2012

    My husband and I made this tonight. One word – amazing! Thanks for sharing. And I love the dress and blazer!

  47. Helen 06.10.2012

    Thanks for the great ideas. I am trying to make quinoa a diet staple. I’m going to modify this a bit and mix the quinoa with a califlower risotto.

    Where do I buy most of my clothes? Online. I’m 5’8 and mostly legs. Petite and Talls can save lots of money online because the petite/tall stock hangs around and is marked down generously. Wait long enough and you can afford jcrew, just shop online. I also shop Banana Republic, Piperlime, 6pm (major savings) Amazon and eBay.

  48. Harriet 06.12.2012

    Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been married 18 years and my husband said this is one of the best things I’ve ever made. And my kids ate it! Yaay!

  49. […] a recipe from and when I got home (after drooling over my dress) I completed the Quinoa Salad, a recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. It was yummy! But I think it would be been better with grilled juicy […]

  50. […] BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad from Iowa Girl Eats was probably the #1 dish of the summer so far. We BBQed up some tofu for my […]

Leave a Comment