May 28

Easy Quinoa Summer Salad

After a few days of escaping reality over the holiday weekend, it’s time for this girl to crack down and get back to work.

The term “cutting corners” typically has a negative connotation, but I will say that when it comes to cooking, I definitely like to cut corners – and I think it’s a great thing. It’s what helps make recipes accessible to anyone from the mother of three to the single dude just wanting to clean up his diet.  It also helps us stay on track when we are tempted to dial up pizza delivery again because #ohmygoshmusteatnoworiwilldie mode strikes.

because-pizza-3

This is eerily close to my real life.

Typically, I like to make one big batch of a salad (more of my favorites to come), early in the week, and then I have it to munch on for most lunchtimes through out the week. This dish is also great to throw together to take to a potluck or dinner party.

This quinoa salad is a cinch to make, plus it really gives you an opportunity to incorporate whatever fresh ingredients you may have on hand. Being the dork that I am, I love to see what is in bloom at the farmers markets, and weave it in.  As summer progresses, I can’t wait to add some heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil to this salad.

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Hello, gorgeous.

 

But for now, I’ll share with you the basic version.

Keep in mind that you can use any kind of quinoa for this. I prefer red quinoa for it’s earthy, gritty texture (that sounds gross, but I like it). White quinoa is a bit more fluffy, and black quinoa has more of a slightly sweet flavor. You could get crazy and do a rainbow blend quinoa. Stranger things have happened. Get down w/your bad self.

EASY QUINOA SUMMER SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup red quinoa

2 cups water

1 cucumber, diced

1/2 large red onion, diced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3-4 sprigs of fresh mint, roughly chopped

1-2 pinches of dried oregano

Salt & Pepper to taste

**Great variations I have tried: adding fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, diced heirloom tomatoes, finely diced baby spinach, minced jalapeño, etc – I could go on forever! Whatever is fresh in your garden, throw it in!

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Fresh mint is my fave.

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Combine your quinoa & 2 cups of water in a small pot, and bring to a rolling boil. Once it’s come to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover.  Let the quinoa cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa has sucked up all of the water.

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Red quinoa is earthy and nutty in taste.

 

2.  While your quinoa is cooking, go ahead and chop all of your vegetables if you haven’t already. Combine all of the other ingredients (veggies, herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, spices) in a large tupperware (this is my trick for not having to wash mixing bowls at the end).

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Beautiful summer coloring.

 

3.  Once the quinoa is finished cooking and cools, add the quinoa into the tupperware and mix well with your other ingredients. My favorite way to do this? Put the lid to the tupperware on and shake, shake, shake honey!

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Stir it up.

 

4.  You can serve immediately, or store and save for later.

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Garnishes make everything look more beautiful.

 

Come on, how EASY was that!!!