Quinoa has quickly become one of my new favorite ingredients. I’ve known about it for a while because my family and I used to eat quinoa pasta when we all followed a gluten-free diet. However, I have started to see it everywhere and have become inspired to use it in new and refreshing ways.
I love how quickly it cooks up (it only takes 15 minutes!) and it serves as a nice alternative to rice or bread as a side. It has an interesting texture and color, making it a great base for all kinds of different flavors. Emily and I have enjoyed making big salads full of quinoa, summer produce, and fresh herbs that together create a delicious and filling side dish. Quinoa boasts an impressive 6-7 g of protein per serving (1/4 cup uncooked quinoa). If you pair it with other fresh ingredients, you can have a nutritious and delicious salad in just a few minutes. Plus, this one is vegetarian friendly, gluten-free, and dairy-free–you can’t really beat that!
I wish I could take credit for this salad, but I found the recipe in Bon Appétit’s August 2013 issue. I followed most of their Quinoa Salad with Peaches and Pickled Onions recipe, but changed a few things because I did not have all of the ingredients. Emily and I swapped plums for the peaches, red wine vinegar for apple cider vinegar, and modified the picked onions. The end result was a wonderful blend of sweet, tangy, and peppery flavors in a salad that was full of colors and therefore naturally full of nutrients. Emily always says to eat the rainbow, and this salad is pretty darn close. The tomatoes are high in lycopene (an anti-oxidant) and are a good source of Vitamins A and C. The plums are also rich with Vitamin C and add a natural sweetness to the salad. The peppery and bitter arugula provides the dish with a subtle bite and gives your body Vitamins A and K. This dish can be served warm or cold, so it’s a great make-ahead recipe. Give this salad a try and take advantage of the last few weeks of summer–enjoy!
Summer Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa (any color), rinsed well
- 1 red onion, julienned
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 plums, cut into small pieces
- 2 1/2-3 cups arugula
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup chives, chopped
- Salt & pepper
Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once sugar and salt have dissolved, pour mixture over the onion in a small bowl. Let sit for about 20 minutes. While the onion is pickling, bring quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender (about 15 minutes). In a large bowl, toss together drained pickled onion, plums, arugula, tomatoes, oil, chives, and 3 tablespoons of the pickling liquid. Fold in the quinoa and season with salt and pepper to taste.