The sunshine has finally arrived and there’s nothing better than firing up the BBQ for an al fresco feast, and chef, writer and nutritionist Dorothy Woods, aka Healthy Dot, has got the perfect blackened chicken recipe to get on your grill. As Dorothy says, “Louisiana-style blackened chicken is a popular and flavourful dish that originated in the Cajun and Creole cuisines of Louisiana. It is a simple yet delicious preparation that involves coating chicken breasts in a blend of spices and dried herbs and then searing them until they are charred on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. The robust flavour of the chicken pairs well with the light, acidic quinoa salad and makes a perfect summery lunch or dinner.”
“I love cooking on charcoal because the flavour is impossible to beat but gas BBQs are great and easy to set up and clean. You want a HOT grill so that you can get a nice, seared exterior on the chicken. When a crust has created, the chicken will naturally release from the grill so try not to move it for a few minutes once you set the raw chicken on the BBQ.”
For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tsp salt
3 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp smoked paprika
For the salad:
200g dried quinoa
140g pumpkin seeds
5 tbsp olive oil – divided
1 cup dried quinoa
220g cherry tomatoes
200g feta cheese
2 cups rocket
1 handful basil
For the dressing:
230 ml water
1 tbsp honey
1 garlic clove
½ tsp salt
Basil stems from above
For the chicken:
1. Start your BBQ! If you are using charcoal get it lit in advance so that you have a nice hot grill ready for the chicken.
2. Combine all the ingredients for the spice mix in a shallow bowl, mixing well. Dredge the chicken in the spice mix so they are thoroughly coated.
3. Pour a little olive oil over the chicken breasts. Place them on the hot BBQ, grilling each side for 3-4 minutes until you have nice grill marks and the chicken is black/brown on both sides. Close the BBQ lid if possible, for the final 4-5 minutes, allowing it to cook through. You can cover it with foil to create a ‘tent’ if your BBQ doesn’t have a lid. Remove and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes.
For the salad:
1. Boil the kettle and pour boiling water over the cashews for the dressing. Set aside to soak for 15 minutes.
2. Rinse the quinoa under running water briefly. Combine it with 460ml water in a shallow pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer covered for another 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to rest covered.
3. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a medium/hot pan until they are crackling and turning brown, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
4. While the quinoa is cooking dice the cucumber, shallot, quarter the cherry tomatoes and chop the feta. Combine these in a large bowl.
5. Remove the basil from the stem, chop the leaves and add ½ to the chopped vegetables and the other ½ and stems set aside.
6. Combine the soaked cashews with the lemon juice, basil stems and ½ the basil with the rest of the ingredients for the dressing in a blender.
7. Once the quinoa has rested for 5 minutes, toss it through the vegetables and add the toasted pumpkin seeds.
1. Slice the rested blackened chicken against the grain.
2. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and vegetables, gently stir to combine.
3. Spoon the quinoa mix onto two plates and top with the blackened chicken.