Kathleen Nutter

Young adult fantasy author: Light Changers series. This goal of this blog is embrace my love of writing, cooking and painting.

Red Quinoa Veg-taculous Salad

I am trying to eat healthier and cleaner.

“I am trying to eat healthier and cleaner.”

“I am trying to eat healthier and cleaner.”

While on a quest for fabulous, satisfying food options, I muttered this to myself over and over. Then, I discovered the grain of the gods….or, rather, Incas.

******RED QUINOA******

Red quinoa

At first, I read the container as glutten-free.  Turns out it is GLUTEN-free (big difference)–good for those with wheat and gluten sensitivities; bad for those gluttens who want a calorie-free carb (heh, heh).  This particular brand is grown in the Andean Plateau, and although I have no clue where the heck that it, it sounds nutritive.

To start our recipe, begin by adding 1 cup of the red quinoa to two cups of water. 

Bring them to a boil on medium-low with a lid, and set your timer for about 15 minutes (or until the water is absorbed.)

While the quinoa is cooking, let’s create the dressing. Combine:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • lime juice to taste (up to the juice of two limes)
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Making the dressing.

There is a fake lime in my photo because my bag of real limes are grainy, juiceless duds that make me mad and don’t deserve stardom. Stupid grainy rejects—–> You. Will. Be. Compost.
Whisk it all together.

Now, I know I am a little wishy-washy on the amount of lime juice part, but my kids hated the salad with the acid.  I personally like the juice of two limes in the salad.  My kids like the juice of NO limes in the salad, so we compromise and I remove some salad for them adding only olive oil and salt.   Regardless, you can always add more lime later in your individual bowl.

I would like to take a moment away from my lime-induced anger to comment on how much I love sea salt and cumin as a couple.  Here is a tribute to their compatibility.  They are perfect ❤

Setting the dressing aside to gel, I think it is time to prep the veggies, cilantro and black beans. I often add avocado to this as well, but not today because I wasn’t feeling it.

I add:

  •     1 can of drained black beans
  •     1 cup of baby spinach
  •     1 diced up cucumber
  •      1/4 cup of chopped cilantro (or to taste)
  •      1 pint of organic cherry tomatoes (cut in half)

Look at these delicious cherry tomatoes:

Georgeous organic tomatoes

 I didn’t used to buy organic tomatoes, but having read an article in Mother Earth News, I learned that tomatoes are amongst the dirtiest non- organic foods. These guys are from Safeway and are scrumptious.

Keep in mind, during this process, YOU are the quinoa salad ARTIST. I am merely your quinoa salad muse. You can subtract any of these ingredients and add others like diced red onion, garlic, chick peas, or corn. Dig deep, my pattawans, dig deep.

*DING*

Lucky us, I think the quinoa is DONE!  The first time I cooked quinoa, I was appalled to open the lid to the pan and see little squiggles bursting out of the grain.  Turns out, this is normal and the grain is done.  You will need to chill the grain in the fridge, seeing how our salad is intended to be a cold one. Since I am used to this recipe, I often chill the grain during the veggie chopping.

See, the squiggles could psych you out, if you let them.

The squiggles could psych you out, if you let them. DON”T LET THEM!

Now, for my favorite part.  The putting-it-all-together-to-eat-it part.

Add the vegetables, beans, cilantro, chilled quinoa, and dressing.

Add everything together!

Here it is!  I love this salad so much, I can hardly stop eating it.  I eat it for lunch and sometimes add tuna or chicken for some lean protein. It also keeps for several days. 

I hope you are able to unleash your inner quinoa salad artist and create a scrumptious and healthy masterpiece of your own!

❤ Kathleen

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