Greek inspired chickpea and chicken salad

As February is drawing to an end and spring is in the horizon Mr Allergy and I thought we’d switch to lighter lunches this week.

Lunch is one of my more difficult meals, and many of the options are just really boring. We often have leftovers from the night before, but for one reason or another this week doesn’t work out that way.

I love browsing Pinterest and recently I’ve seen a number of Greek inspired chickpea salads, and this piqued my interest. Chickpeas are a great source of protein and dietary fibre, and they add extra oomf to a lettucy salad.

I couldn’t find one recipe that suited my taste, so decided to use a mish-mash of ideas to create my own.

I began by marinading some chicken breasts, using the juice of one lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, a glug of extra virgin olive oil and approx one teaspoon dried oregano, plus salt and pepper to season. I blended it all together in a pestle and mortar and marinaded the chicken for about an hour before roasting it in a medium oven for about 35 mins, until it was nice and juicy.

While the chicken was roasting I whizzed up some more of the marinade, this time to make a dressing. I chopped a red and yellow pepper, red onion and flat leaf parsley, drained and rinsed 2 tins of cooked chickpeas and put it all together in a bowl. I was very proud of my Instagram worthy display of colour, but decided next time I’ll add green pepper or cucumber to add extra rainbow!

I then cooked some quinoa. I don’t often have much luck with quinoa, it usually comes out sticky and wet and not very pleasant. I always follow the instructions on the packet, but it just never works. So I googled “what is the best way to cook quinoa?” I found this: Perfect quinoa and it works!!! I now had perfect fluffy quinoa!

I added the quinoa and dressing to the bowl and gave it a good old stir. The aroma of garlic and lemon juice was wafting up nicely, and I really wanted to try some, but I held off, deciding to wait for the surprise at lunchtime. The mixture by now looked like this:

My chicken was now ready, so I sliced it into bit sized chunks and allowed it to cool before adding it to my lunch box, along with some dairy free Feta alternative from Sainsbury’s. My lunch was now virtually ready to go. All I would need in the morning before going to work was a handful of salad leaves! I think there will be enough mixture and chicken to do us both two or three lunches each, and it’s great having it prepped and ready in the fridge.

The finished dish was the perfect post gym class lunch today, and Mr Allergy sent me a text saying his was awesome, so I guess I’ll be making this again!

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Tried and tested: Sainsbury’s Free From Greek Style coconut-based alternative to cheese

For about two years of my thirty-something, I was able to eat Feta without swelling up like Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  It was short lived and feta ended up on the list of things I’m allergic to.

One Sunday in the supermarket a new product caught my eye. Free From Greek Style coconut-based alternative to cheese. Not the snappiest name I’ve ever seen, but it piqued my interest. 

Unlike most Free From foods, I know what the real deal should taste like, and this really isn’t bad at all. The texture is less crumbly than feta, but the taste is almost spot on. It’s got that slight tang and is a beautiful addition to any salad. 

My favourite recipe featuring the FFGSC-BATC (nope, not snappy either) is BBC Good Food’s Cajun Blackened Chicken with super green quinoa. Mr Allergy and I love this meal on a weeknight, and we swap the quinoa for cauli rice to lower the carb content slightly. 

My second favourite recipe is adapted from this Chicken and asparagus caprese salad. As there are no decent dairy free mozzarella alternatives on the market that I’m aware of, I use FFGSC-BATC instead. I don’t like tomatoes so only Mr Allergy has those, and I may or may not be allergic to avocado (the jury’s still out on that one), so I don’t have that either but it’s delicious all the same.