This easy quinoa salad is packed with summer fresh vegetables and flavor. Summer days call for easy meals and this one delivers!
I always look forward to summer. As a foodie, I get shamelessly excited about all of the fresh local produce that’s available. Okra, peppers, tomatoes, peaches, corn… I love it all! Summer opens the door for slower days, going to the beach and watching movies on the big screen in the park. I have images of lazy days sipping cold iced tea on the porch… I can’t say I’ve done much of that this summer. It’s been a really busy one but I won’t complain.
Recently, I was asked to do a segment with Fox 5 Atlanta on Healthy Summer Recipes. We taped yesterday and it should air next week. I featured this Summer Quinoa Salad recipe in the piece. The salad begins with a simple base of quinoa, olive oil and lemon juice and then you can freestyle it with whatever you have in the garden or fridge. It’s a filling yet light and refreshing summer meal that comes together in under 20 minutes!
The reporter asked about quinoa and whether or not it is within reach for most viewers. It’s a well warranted question. Not everyone has tried it. It can be pricey in the regular supermarket and many people just don’t know what to do with it. I think everyone should get to know quinoa because of the incredible health benefits.
If you’ve never heard of quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), here’s a quick rundown. Though we eat it like rice and call it a whole grain, quinoa is actually a seed native to South America. It’s one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein so it’s perfect for vegans and vegetarians. It’s nutrient rich and gluten-free. Quinoa can easily be substituted for rice as it has a rather neutral flavor profile.
I usually buy my quinoa at Trader Joe’s, get it in the bulk bins at Kroger or buy it at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market. It’s a bit pricey in the regular supermarket so shop around. You cook it in the same way you would rice but it tends to cook faster and stays nice and fluffy. I always make extra and keep it on hand in the fridge for quick salads, fried quinoa, quinoa burgers or patties and I’ve even enjoyed it with fruit and milk for breakfast. The options are endless!
Summer Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice from one fresh lemon
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup fresh sweet corn about 1 medium ear
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- ½ cup red bell pepper diced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- Any other summer vegetables you might have
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add pre-rinsed quinoa. Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, just until the quinoa is tender. Once done, fluff with a fork and set aside.
- While the quinoa cooks, peel and chop the vegetables.
- Add the cooked quinoa to a large bowl. Pour in the lemon juice, olive oil and garlic and stir just to combine. Add in the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and serve.
- This salad is perfect served at room temperature or cooled.