No-Fail Quinoa Salad

Alright folks, here we go: my first recipe.  Grilled vegetable and quinoa salad.  You really can’t go wrong with this one.  It’s super easy to make, wicked healthy, it makes like a billion storable servings (perfect for those of us who live alone), and it can be eaten hot or cold.  Oh, and if you happen to be vegetarian it’s great because quinoa is a grain that’s also a complete protein.  I think.  Maybe it’s a pulse.  I don’t actually know the difference between grains and pulses…or legumes.  But it’s definitely a complete protein!

You can put pretty much whatever you want in this, but this is the recipe I use.  There’s not a whole lot of extra sauce or seasoning added, so you really get the beautiful flavors of the veggies.  These measurements are of course discretionary as well, but mine makes 4-5 servings.

Grilled Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups white quinoa
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 5 or 6 crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup (or so) sliced carrots
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne to taste

First start by boiling the vegetable broth or water in a large pot.  When it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, add the quinoa, and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, rough chop your veggies (I like mine in about 1-inch pieces).  Heat oil to taste in a large skillet or grill pan and add the onions and red peppers.  After a few minutes add the mushrooms and garlic, and when everything starts to soften add the carrots and squash.  I like to roast my carrots in my toaster oven beforehand so they’re just tender, since they take longer to cook.

When the veggies begin to brown and soften, add the tomatoes and spinach and continue cooking till they just break down.  I like my veggies a little al dente to retain flavor and I hate overcooked tomatoes, but you’ll have to work out your preferred timing yourself.

When the veggies are done to your liking, your quinoa should also be done.  Take everything off the heat and dump those vegetables in the quinoa pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste, plus a generous drizzle of olive oil.  I also like to add some cumin and cayenne pepper, but really you have free range here.  Stir stir stir it up and serve.  Put the rest in airtight containers when mostly cooled.

There you have it folks: dinner for the next five days, high in fiber, protein and nutrients.  Genius.  Easy.  Delicious.  Enjoy.

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