Loaded Quinoa Salad

As I mentioned yesterday, I randomly threw together a quinoa salad that ended up coming out good enough to share! In the summer, I love light and refreshing meals (similar to this zoodle recipe) because they pair so nicely with the hot weather ūüėČ Winter time? Sure, I love being in the kitchen for hours with the stove going, whipping up a bunch of delicious things, but when it’s hot, the last thing I want to do is start my stove.

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Our plan last Friday was to grill up some burgers and when I asked what RM wanted to go with them, he just said “veggies. you pick what kind”. Since I am not one to go boring or basic with side dishes, I spent some time thinking about what I could make that would be quick, easy and veggie-filled.

Thinking about what I had in my fridge helped get things going:

  • cucumbers from my dad’s garden
  • tomatoes from the fresh garden section at Whole Foods
  • mozzarella cheese
  • avocado

From there, I thought about how I could throw those together, while coming up with something different than the Caprese Orzo Salad I made when my parents were here. Enter: Loaded Quinoa Salad. In addition to the ingredients above, I picked up an ear of corn and can of black beans… and frozen microwaveable quinoa! Have you guys heard of this? It’s amazing- in three and a half minutes I had some delicious quinoa ready for my use. Normally I’d just make it on the stovetop, but I had already packed all of my pots and pans so I needed to figure something else out. This worked perfectly.

Loaded quinoa salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of frozen quinoa, cooked according to the package
  • 1 ear of corn, steamed and kernels shaved off
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 4 small garden cucumbers, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 big handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2-1 cup mozzarella, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • S&P, garlic & basil

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa according to the package and steam the corn. Chop up the veggies & cheese and drain the beans and add to a big bowl.

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2. Once the quinoa has cooked, let it cool. Once the corn has cooked, take a knife and shave the kernels off.

3. While the corn and quinoa are cooling, assemble the dressing by combining the EVOO, white wine vinegar, lime juice and herbs/seasonings in a small container or glass.

4. Once the corn and quinoa have cooled, add them to the chopped veggies, beans and cheese and mix well.

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5. Drizzle the dressing over everything and continue to mix until it looks as though everything has been coated with the dressing.

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We just ate this as a side dish with our burgers, but there are so many other ways to enjoy it, too!

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The other night I topped a bed of spinach with this and it was such a nice change up to my normal, boring salads!

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The colors and various textures/flavors in the dish created a little party in my mouth and I found myself continuing to go back for more spoonfuls!

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Not only is this great for weekly dinner sides and lunches, but this is also a great dish to bring to a party as it’s different than most salads you’ll see. I highly suggest giving this a try!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite summer salad? What do you make when you don’t want to start the stove?