Friday, June 12, 2015

Recipe: Quinoa Salad


I love finding new recipes, especially ones that everyone likes...SCORE! Last weekend we went to watch some soccer at a friends house. My friend brought out a Quinoa Salad she had made earlier. We had been snacking on fruit, crackers, cheese and salami. Her husband had told her not to bring out the salad because it really wasn't snack food...I'm so glad she didn't listen to him..lol. We loved it and I knew it was one I was going to make. I like quinoa, but have a bit of an issue with the texture, and I also seem to like it better cold than hot (unless it's in soup). I know, weird. 

Here is some great information on Quinoa. There seems to be mixed opinions about soaking quinoa, so honestly I'm not sure which is entirely correct or if it is simply a matter of opinion, and we all know there are a gazillion opinions floating around the world wide web. My friend soaks hers and so that is what I did. But there isn't much dispute over it's benefits. I like to mostly add it to soups or casseroles, but this salad will become a regular dish and it is one that can be changed up by adding different vegetables. I love versatile dishes.

It's been hot in our area of Washington State, yes, 80+ is hot to us. I much prefer mid to upper 70's. I wasn't in the mood for a fully hot cooked meal. This salad was perfect topped with a warm breaded chicken breast, which is what we did. A nice mix of hot and cold, and overall a light meal. Chicken breasts are pretty thick and so lately I have been slicing them in half, thus creating 2 "breasts" from one, a little thinner, quicker to cook, less calories, but perfectly filling and stretches the chicken further, which for me is important.

Ingredients:

1 c. dry quinoa
2 c. water
chopped cucumber, tomato, green onion and cilantro (amounts to taste)
1/2 can (or more) cooked black beans
1 garlic clove
2 to 1 ratio of olive oil and apple cider vinegar or vinegar of choice
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Soak quinoa overnight on counter. I simply poured quinoa in a covered container, filled it with water, put lid on and let it sit overnight. 

2. In the morning, drain through a fine sieve, give a quick rinse and place in pan with 2 c. water. Bring to a boil and cook approximately 10-15 minutes.  Mine didn't take long at all, maybe because it was soaked. Allow to cool completely. Place in a large bowl.

3. Chop vegetables into small pieces. Add to quinoa along with black beans. 

4. In a separate container, add ingredients for dressing. Adjust according to your liking. I had to add more vinegar and keep adding salt till it was the right flavor. Pour over quinoa mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

Honestly it's all about taste and adjust and your personal preference. You might want more liquid, or just a little. Play around with it, you really can't go wrong...well, maybe you can. LOL. I asked my youngest how it was and she said it was good, it just didn't taste like my friends, so we kept adjusting the flavor till it was "good enough". 

I totally loved this with the breaded chicken I made. Quick, simple, and light. Perfect on a hot day.


With Joy UNquenchable,

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