I love eating whole-grain salads in the summertime. They are simple to put together — just cook your grain of choice, cut up some of your favorite vegetables, and you’re most of the way there. Dress your salad with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and you’re done.
Quinoa Summer Salad makes a great meal all to itself, and it’s also a great sidedish or potluck contribution. With lots of crunchy vegetables and a lemony dressing, it’s fresh and light, with a little bit of surprising zing from cilantro and jalapeno peppers. Summer veggies are all at their best, and leaving them raw in this salad shows off their great flavor. This recipe makes a big batch — feel free to halve it if you’re not serving a crowd.
Quinoa is an especially quick-cooking grain (well, technically it’s a pseudocereal), making it an ideal choice when its hot out and you don’t want to heat up your kitchen. It also happens to be delicious, with a mildly nutty flavor and a way of pleasantly popping in your mouth with every chew. As easy to cook as a pot of couscous, it’s easy to add this healthy food to your repertoire!
Quinoa Summer Salad
2 C. water
1 1/2 C. quinoa
kernels from 3 ears of white corn
1 large (1/2 lb) zucchini, diced
1/2 lb. mini sweet peppers (or one large orange bell pepper), diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
3 large jalapenos, veins and seeds removed, diced small
1 C. cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1. In a smallish (2 quart) saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa and bring back up to a simmer. Turn heat down to lowest setting, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, for another 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the warm quinoa with the rest of the ingredients. Stir until evenly mixed.