You guys all know how much I love a delicious quinoa salad (Exhibits A, B, C and D right here) – but this one just might be the all-time winner. Since it was 73°F / 23°C (!!!) in Boston yesterday, I figured I’d whip up this warm weather favorite – bright, refreshing and super flavorful – perfect for the first GORGEOUS day of the year! It combines a lot of my favorite summer flavors into one filling-without-being-heavy dish, perfect for your dinner dance party while listening to George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album with the windows open, bringing to a summer BBQ (and simultaneously becoming the most popular person there because this dish is the fan fave) or just because you want something SUPER tasty. High in protein, fiber and veggies, it’s filling enough for a full meal. And it’s just really, really good – it’s that simple. Don’t be discouraged by the long list of ingredients – once the farmer’s market’s opens up and local produce arrives on the scene, you will probably already have a lot of these ingredients on hand. It’s a great way to use up extra fresh herbs, and you can tailor the ingredients to what you have available (make it easy on yourself, yo!). And, of course, it’s vegetarian and gluten free to please the masses (it’s easily vegan, as well – just substitute this awesome Mock Feta Cheese recipe I found for the feta). Here we go!! *~*~*Insert Summer Vibes*~*~*
Mediterranean Quinoa Power UP Salad
- 1 cup of dry quinoa
- 2 cups of veggie broth
- 2 handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped (~2 cups)
- 1 16-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1 handful of kalamata olives, halved
- 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese*
- 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
- Several shakes of dried oregano (or substitute 2 – 3 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano)
- 1/4 cup of hemp seeds, heaping
- 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 – 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
*Ok, truth time – I added about 1/3 of a pound of feta, which is closer to 1 1/2 cups. 🙂
Step One: Start your quinoa. Bring the veggie broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir in the quinoa. Allow the quinoa to simmer, covered, on low for about 20 minutes, or until all the broth is absorbed.
Step Two: While the quinoa is simmering away, prep your veggies. Combine the beans, tomatoes, pepper, onion, olives, cheese, herbs and spinach into a very large bowl (it’s really a lot of stuff – use the biggest one you’ve got!).
Step Three: Once the quinoa is finished, you can set it aside and let it cool completely. Or if you’re Impatient Annie like I am, let it cool for about 5 minutes and then dump the quinoa into the bowl with the veggies.
Step Four: Whip up the dressing. Whisk together the vinegar and mustard, then slowly add the olive oil to form an emulsion. Pour over salad, sprinkle the hemp seeds on top and toss well to mix.
Step Five: Taste, season with salt and pepper and enjoy! 😀
SERIOUSLY – SO FRIGGIN GOOD! You guys are going to love this. It’s just really tasty. Okay, and I have some packed for my lunch today, and I totally broke into my lunch pack before 10 am to sneak a few bites. Shhhh, don’t tell. 😉 This salad will be responsible for powering my long run after work tonight – it’s full of all the good stuff. Nomssss. 😀
I hope that you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I did – it’s deeeeeeeeelicious. YUM.
Happy Tuesday, all!! 😀