Jun 26, 2013

Quinoa and Pea Salad with Harissa Chicken

I read many times that if you´re a food blogger you should not start a post saying how little you have been posting lately. I agree, it´s annoying. For those who follow you they already know, and for those who don´t it´s irrelevant probably.
Does the same apply to having the recipe, quinoa and pea salad with harissa chicken in this case, the pictures, the interest in posting, but not knowing what the hell to say before the recipe? I wonder.

And while I wonder, it might be a good time to tell you that in a mere week, google reader will dissappear, vanish, shut down. So what´s a reader to do? I suggest bloglovin (the one I personally use and love) or feedly (which is probably just as great but I just never got around to it). 
So start changing your feeds, this url included might I suggest (Follow my blog with Bloglovin), and it´ll be as if nothing happened.
I changed my url last week to my own .com domain, and the numbers in my feeds and GA go back and forth. But the old url re-directs to the new one automatically, so for you there´s no change, even if you subscribe to the old one (blogspot.com).

We can also talk about the weather, how most of you reading this are drenching your bodies in sunblock on a daily basis, or have your suitcases opened, lists of things to do,  preparing for your upcoming vacation, or maybe just enjoying longer days (the best part of summer), using the barbeque like crazy and trying to come up with new things to do with the kids, who may have a lot of space to play in and yet always seem to use the square feet surrounding their parents. 

The weather here, for your information, is cold but nice. Cloudy some days, but humidity is partying somewhere else for the last two weeks, and that´s always welcome. My hair is especially grateful.
And just like that I´ve got two paragraphs of irrelevant stuff. But then, the weather is always a topic of conversation, simply ask my mother. 

And food is another common ground, and in this case a spicy and light one. Some quinoa, peas, lemon, harissa and chicken. Quinoa is a fairly new ingredient in my rotation, and I´m a fan, as are most food bloggers from what I read. The healthy qualities of it have a lot to do with it´s popularity. And it´s yummy. Have a bowl of cooked quinoa in your fridge, and you can improvise several meals. 

I discovered harissa not long ago too. The first time I heard about it was last year, while in Washington DC, when we made the eggplants with yogurt sauce and pomegranate and the portobellos with sun dried tomatoes and taleggio. Both from one of my favorite books.
We made a couscous and chickpea dish too that called for harissa to be added at the end. None of us knew what it was, except that it was a red paste, and for some reason didn´t realize we could go online and make it ourselves. Besides I was in a borrowed kitchen, so I just went to the eastern market but couldn´t find it. Or in any other market. So we didn´t use it. 

Now, of course, that I know what it is and have a jar at all times in my fridge, I understand it plays a big part in a dish, always. The recipe for homemade harissa is in the golden egg curry post; it´s easy and lasts months. I believe it lasts years, but I´m not the one to tell you that since I don´t know for sure. And if you make it, give the golden egg curry a try too, it´s an amazing spicy brunch dish.

So, in the end, this turned into a long post. But I promise the quinoa and pea chicken salad is wonderful.

adapted from 200 Recetas de Pollo, by Blume

Makes 4 servings


For the marinade:
4 chicken breasts
1 lemon, juice and zest
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs harissa

For the salad:
4 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 medium green onions
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon harissa
2 Tbs fresh mint, chopped


For the marinade:
Cut chicken breasts in bite sized pieces and marinate them in the lemon juice and zest, olive oil and harissa for 15 minutes.

For the salad:
Cook fresh peas for 5 minutes or frozen ones for 1 minute. Rinse.
Heat the a skillet over medium heat and cooked the chicken for a few minutes, until no longer pink. Be careful not to overcook it as it will be dry.
In a bowl put quinoa and cooked peas. Add lemon juice, olive oil, harissa and cooked chicken.
Add salt, pepper and check for seasonings.

Divide among serving plates and sprinkle with the chopped mint.

Today´s 5 related recipes worth looking at:

Sweet Spicy Roasted Harissa Almonds from Let´s Feast
Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan from Hezzi-D´s Books and Cooks
Quinoa Brownies from The Lovely Pantry
Peanut Butter and Quinoa Granola from Magnolia Days
Pasta with Yogurt Peas and Chile from Orangette


  1. Your delicious dish just came up on my Bloglovin feed! How nice, I like this for dinner and I already have a jar of Harissa in my fridge!

  2. That looks so gorgeous and so delicious!

  3. So true how sometimes the words are so difficult to write. It's the one thing I struggle with the most. I've never tried harissa and now see how much you like it and keep it in the fridge I'll have to either make it or find some. I do love so many sauces and flavorings.

  4. Paula, this dish is a great idea for a mid week & weekend meals. Love your twists and inventiveness. The added quinoa touch is fabulouts. I love everything harissa! :)

  5. Comments about the weather always make me smile! The seasons do have an effect on what we cook and our everyday lives. A majority of the U.S. may be sweltering in a heat wave and I will be huddled in my sweatshirt under a blanket of coastal fog wishing for just a touch of sunshine! This week is no different! The Quinoa and Pea Salad with Harissa is the perfect antidote for a damp day along the central coast! A touch of spicy harissa is just the warm I need!

  6. This looks like an ideal meal for the summer. Love the harissa chicken...perfectly spiced for my Indian palate.

  7. I love anything quinoa--this looks like a perfect light and healthy meal. I don't know why I have never made my own harissa. ;-)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog--egg, roasted garlic dukkah and Ottolenghi are indeed a great combination. ;-)

  8. Quinoa and chicken look so perfect together, delicious recipe :D
    I bet this would be perfect in summer!

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. jajajaja me quedó claro que tengo que dejar de poner que posteo muy poco jajajaja que buena pinta

  10. I love your authenticity, Paula. And I love this quinoa with peas and chicken dish. Believe the husband will be very happy =)

    P.s. How the seasons on one planet can be so drastically different have always amazed me ever since childhood. But then again - maybe I still am a child in many respects =)

  11. I can't stop starring at that harissa chicken. Look mouthwatering! And the quinoa and pea salad sounds like the perfect accompaniment to the chicken. Delicious!

  12. Yeah, I don't know what to say half the time. It flows so easily for some...not me! Your quinoa dish looks fantastic...I love that you've made it a meal :)

  13. This dish looks BEAUTIFUL Paula. Ah, I love everything you cook (I've gotten a bit behind on my reader recently, mostly due to trying to complete that darn long awards post, but I'm so happy to be back reading your wonderful posts) and you already know how much I adore harissa, so I'll be making this soon! I do a similar harissa chicken dish, but I normally make the quinoa with preserved lemon, pomegranate and mint (then serve it with a yoghurt accompaniment). So good. Can't wait to try this variation. Love your work... and I'll be following you despite the demise of Google reader xx

  14. I love harissa! Such great flavor. And I'll bet it nicely spices up the chicken in this terrific looking salad! We eat a lot of main course salads at this time of the year, and this looks perfect. Good stuff - thanks.

  15. This looks absolutely gorgeous! I'm always on the hunt for new ways to serve quinoa. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I'm starting to use quinoa or farro now more than rice. And this looks like one I'll have to try. I don't seem to have a hard time with words, but I do sometimes wonder if they are interesting. It's photography that is my nemesis!

  17. Looks delicious and healthy. As I am usually always making desserts and sweet sugary things for my blog I am always on the hunt for tasty healthy meals and this certainly fits the bill. Thanks for sharing - have a great day!

  18. I really wish I understood more of the techy stuff to do with blogging. I do love this dish though, I am sure it is utterly delicious :)

  19. Love your sense of humor, Paula. Really hoping to meet you some day. :) + This spicy, quinoa chicken salad looks fantastic!

  20. Paula, Quinoa is one of my favorite grains! Your salad looks just so healthy and delicious…a must try!

  21. LOL! Love this post!! I just jot down notes when a thought pops in my head, and later on I blog about it! :)

    This quinoa salad sounds delicious!! I have been throwing quinoa in everything...next time I'll throw peas into quinoa! :-)

  22. It's your blog, girl. We'll read whatever you write and if people don't care for your subject matter, then it's their prerogative to stop reading. I've been feeling the same as you this week. I really should post before I leave tomorrow for vacation, and I should also get a post scheduled for while I'm gone. I haven't written anything yet though and am feeling super uninspired. I just want this work week to end so that I can get on a jet plane! I love quinoa too. I just had it for lunch, in fact! This looks absolutely delicious. I can't wait to make harissa and to try this recipe.

  23. as you might have gathered, i really love quinoa - not just because it's healthy (though that certainly counts in its favour) but because it's so light and fluffy and easy to prepare, especially since i learned to do it in my rice cooker. I too have a bowl of it in the fridge ready to use (it freezes well too, better than rice does). i love this fresh lemony spin on it, even though it is winter here too, something fresh like this would be delicious.
    and ps paula, you know we'd visit and read you, whatever you said, because you write with such humour and humanity :-) have a great weekend!

  24. This sounds really nice for a summer meal - and so healthy! I don't mind the idle chit-chat of mundane life - makes me feel normal! And I always love reading whatever you have to say! I am panicked now, however, about the Google Reader. I think I only have 6 followers using that so am not sure what to do. Yikes - I need an IT person STAT! Have a great day - and thanks, as always. xox David

    1. David, you can go to bloglovin, claim your blog and add the `follow me on bloglovin´ button on the side of your blog. It´s easy to do!

  25. Hey Paula!
    Happy Friday, woot woot!!! dude, do not even worry about not knowing what to say. . when you have a beautiful recipe and gorgeous photos to back it up, for me, I could care less what you write about. . because your DISH is so amazing!!! I love that you marinated the chicken. . I do this all the time now with chicken breast. . now I can't go back b/c I know how juicy and flavorful chicken can be! I have never tried harissa so thank you for introducing me to a new type of chili pepper!
    and yes, I love quinoa too and will be posting a recipe on Monday! :P it's so versatile. . have you tried red or black quinoa? as far as I can tell, the texture might be a little different but it's mainly just for looks. your Quinoa and Pea Salad with Harissa Chicken is beautiful!

  26. Love quinoa! It's so tasty, versatile and good for you. I consider myself more of a writer than a baker and sometimes I just have nothing to say. It's a tough thing.

  27. Harissa is one of those things I keep meaning to try. I think next time I see it at the store, I'm just going to bite the bullet and buy it. Once I get it home, I'll be forced into using it (and probably loving it) right? :)


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