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Chicken Souvlaki Arugula Quinoa Bowls with Lemon Vinaigrette

These make-ahead Chicken Souvlaki Arugula Quinoa Bowls with Lemon Vinaigrette are perfect for a nutrient-packed lunch or dinner anytime.

As a mother, I can still look at my children and see the little ones they were not that long ago. They’ve grown, matured and changed. But they’re also the same kids who raced around our yard under the sprinkler, draw in chalk on our concrete foundation and created elaborate games using trains, Barbies and Legos.

Likewise, although they have eaten and experienced many cuisines over the years, unfamiliar words on menus can still be challenging. Even as they approach adulthood, they still look to me for help at these times. Fortunately, time has taught them that there’s always something to be found on a menu, even if it’s not clear at first.

Raising children into good eaters is such an interesting endeavor. I realized early on that there was no secret formula to getting them to eat well. The best I could do was feed them good food and hope they enjoyed it. They grew up eating summer pasta with shrimp and kale, English pea risotto and grilled summer squash packets. And though they like pizza, burgers and fried foods, it’s basil chimichurri sauce and homemade pesto that they get excited for.

So when I was working on this Chicken Souvlaki Arugula Quinoa Bowls with Lemon Vinaigrette recipe, I was thinking about the meal prep bowls I made years ago before the world turned upside down. My children loved things like chicken souvlaki and bourbon chicken, both in already prepared bowls and just cooked and waiting for their own creative uses.

And that brings me to this dish: Chicken Souvlaki Arugula Quinoa Bowls with Lemon Vinaigrette.

Make-Ahead Bowls

These bowls begin with a bed of quinoa cooked in a mixture of white wine and water, which renders the grain (actually, it’s a seed, but it is often treated as a grain) a bit more fragrant than usual. Fresh arugula, tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta cheese come next. And then there’s the tender, vibrant souvlaki chicken. A light lemon vinaigrette finishes off the dish.

A word to the wise: mix the bowl really well before eating. You want that vinaigrette to get everywhere.

Eat this dish cold (or at least at room temperature). It’s perfect for packing for lunch at work or school.

Healthy, satisfying, easy. This dish is a wonderful summer lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken Souvlaki Arugula Quinoa Bowls with Lemon Vinaigrette

Chicken Souvlaki Arugula Quinoa Bowls with Lemon Vinaigrette

A sweet-tart lemon vinaigrette brings together the salty, meaty, rich flavors of these Chicken Souvlaki Arugula Quinoa Bowls. This dish, best served cold, can be made ahead and transported for lunches away from home.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


Chicken Souvlaki

  • 1 1/4 lbs raw, boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

White Wine Quinoa

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dry quinoa

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (more to taste)

Other Bowl Ingredients

  • 2 cups baby arugula, torn
  • 1 medium tomato, quartered and sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. First, you'll need to marinate the chicken tenders. Place the raw tenders in a resealable container. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper (listed in the Chicken Souvlaki ingredients list). Pour over the chicken. Seal the container and shake it vigorously. Then, place in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, immediately make the quinoa. Combine the white wine and water in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the burner temperature to medium-low and stir in the dry, rinsed quinoa. Cover and cook without disturbing for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir (the liquid should have been almost entirely absorbed), and then cover again. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then, vent the cover and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  3. To cook the chicken, you can either use the oven or the grill. To cook in the oven: Heat the oven to 375 degrees with a grill pan in the oven. Once hot, add the chicken and cook, turning once, for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven carefully. To cook on the grill: Heat the grill up to its medium setting (or prepare the charcoal for grilling). Lay the marinated chicken tenders across the grates. Cook for about 3-5 minutes per side, flipping once until cooked through. Remove from the grill and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. Next, make the vinaigrette. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, oregano, salt, dijon mustard and ground black pepper until fully combined. Set aside.
  5. Finally, prepare the bowls. Divide the quinoa evenly among four bowls or four containers with airtight seals. Add 1/4 of the arugula, tomato, kalamata olives and feta cheese to each bowl, arranging them in an artful presentation. Top each with 1/4 of the sliced chicken (about two tenders per bowl). If making the bowls ahead, divide the vinaigrette into small four, airtight containers and fit them into the quinoa bowl containers. Seal. If serving immediately, divide the dressing into four small bowls and serve together, allowing eaters to drizzle and mix on their own.
  6. Enjoy!

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