Quinoa Salad

Quick to put together and taking advantage of high-summer produce, a beautiful and tasty crowd-pleaser of a salad.  (If your quinoa is already cooked that is…)  Bonus though, this works well as a main course for a warm day: particularly if you add some roasted tempeh or tofu croutons and maybe a bit of pine nut or hemp seed sprinkle!

Yield: 2-3 as a main course, 4-6 as a side salad

What you need:

  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise & thinly sliced (2 cups sliced)
  • 3/4 cup fresh shelled peas (or defrosted frozen…)
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off (or about a cup of defrosted frozen…)
  • a handful of fresh dill and a few leaves of fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
  • olive oil (optional)
  • herb salt
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled in the fridge so it’s light and fluffy (measured cooked; leftovers from last night’s supper are perfect for this)
  • 1/2 cup pesto (this was made with a home-made garlic scape and lemon pesto; any pesto you make and love will work or in a pinch, the bottled stuff is fine too)

What you do:

  1. Mix the cooked and cooled quinoa with the pesto in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Heat a non-stick (read cast-iron) fry-pan over medium heat.  When hot, add a bit of olive oil if using.  Add the scallion and zucchini and either dry fry or stir and fry in the oil until the zucchini is bright and juicy.
  3. Add the peas and corn and stir to mix.  Sprinkle with a bit of herb salt and toss to mix.
  4. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and let everything cook for 4-5 minutes until the peas are done and the corn is cooked through.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh herbs if using.  Mix through the vegetables.    IMG_5041
  6. Transfer the vegetables to the quinoa and mix to distribute them evenly through the grains.
  7. Serve.

Variations:

  • No time to cook any quinoa?  If wheat isn’t an issue for you, make this salad with couscous.  By the time the couscous has absorbed the boiling water, the veggies will be cooked – and no need to refrigerate the get a separated texture!
  • A bit more time on your hands but not enough to cool quinoa?  You can either quick-cool in the freezer or use bulgur instead (again, if wheat isn’t an issue).
  • Swap the quinoa for cooked and cooled wild rice for a very different but lovely visual.  Top the wild rice salad with some grilled mushrooms.

 

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