Saturday, May 31, 2014

Quinoa Salad Variation #1 - Summer Quinoa Salad (GF, Vegan)

As the weather has been getting warmer, I have been obsessed with making quinoa salads.  Inspired by a bean salad recipe I found, I soon found myself playing around with different ingredients to add into my quinoa salads.  Over the past couple months, I've come up with countless variations, but wasn't able to get a good picture until the most recent one I made yesterday.

I love making a big batch of this so that I can take it with me to class or work throughout the week.  Since it's a cold salad and has a great balance of proteins, carbs, and fats, these are one of my favorite foods to make in advance.

Paired with some salmon, this was the perfect dinner!

To see what's in here, keep reading:

I wanted to focus this salad on having really fresh ingredients with a variety of flavors.  Since quinoa has such a mild flavor, I really love using other flavors with it.  This time, I added as much color as possible, as well as texture with the peppers, tomatoes, and chickpeas (not pictured!).

I also mixed up a little bit of dressing to the salad to add some tartness and extra flavor to the salad.  The garlic in the dressing really works to add some extra kick to the whole salad.

Here's what I used:

Serves 4-6 as sides

1 c. uncooked quinoa
1 large tomato
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas
1/4 c. fresh basil
1 stalk of green onions

2 cloves garlic
Juice of a 1/4 lemon (about 2 T)
2 T olive oil
red chili flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1. Pour the dry quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water.  Once the water comes to a boil, simmer and cover for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked.  After it is cooked, let the quinoa cool for about 10 minutes.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, dice the tomato, peppers, basil, and onions.  Combine them in a large mixing (or serving) bowl.
3. Add the chickpeas and cooked quinoa to the bowl.  Mix Well.
4.  Finely mince the garlic and put it in a small bowl.
5. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, chili flakes, and salt and pepper to the small bowl.  Mix all the ingredients so that the lemon juice and oil are combined.
6.  Add the dressing to the salad and mix well to combine.  Refrigerate for about 20 minute or until chilled.

Enjoy your salad!  If the weather is as nice for all of you as it is here (perfect, sunny, and not too hot), I hope you're soaking that up as well!

As for me, I've spending my school-and-homeworkless days reading and eating tons of fruit and green smoothies.  Today's selections? A big bowl of watermelon (that I did not finish, FYI), a spinach, watermelon, and pineapple green smoothie, and Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

What are your favorite ways to relax?  Let me know below, and stay tuned for more quinoa recipes!

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