When the weather gets hot, I find we like to eat lighter meals. Trying to find meals that aren’t too heavy, but still pack a lot of nutrition can be harder, especially when we’d rather be playing in the backyard or park with the kids than cooking. Quinoa is such a healthy grain, full of vitamins, minerals and protein and so versatile. You can eat it hot or cold and add so many different ingredients to it. The weather here this week is like an early blast of summer, so grilled chicken on the bbq was on the menu for last night. I had a day off and had been working on moving a garden all day, so a fast dinner was in order. What better side to grilled chicken than a light, fresh, citrusy summer salad full of nutrients!
This salad can be made in the morning, or right before you’re ready to eat. It’s quick and easy enough you can bring it to a potluck or make a bigger batch to have for lunch throughout the week.
1C Uncooked Quinoa (Cook using the instructions below)
1 medium size bell pepper (red, orange or yellow
1/3 cucumber cut into circles then 1/8’s
1 plum tomato, diced
Chives and cilantro to taste
1/8 C white vinegar
1/8 C Lime juice
1/4 C Olive Oil
2 Cloves of garlic, diced fine
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pepper to taste
Start by cooking the quinoa. The easiest way for this salad is boiling on the stovetop. Start by rinsing 1 cup of uncooked quinoa for about 30 seconds until well rinsed and the water runs clear. Place into a small to medium pot with 1C of water. You may need just under 1C, but can drain the excess if the quinoa doesn’t absorb all of the water. Turn the element on to med-high and bring the pot, uncovered, to a soft rolling boil. Keep the water at a slow boil until the water looks absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, cover the pot and let sit for 5 minutes. The remainder of the water should absorb and the quinoa become fluffy. Remove the lid, take a fork and fluff the quinoa. Put into a fine colander and rinse in cold water to cool. Place the quinoa into a bowl.
As the quinoa cools, start by combining all the ingredients to make the dressing. Whisk together and let it sit so the flavours infuse into each other. Put the dressing aside.
Cut the cucumber into circles about 1cm thick, then cut the circles into 1/8’s. Dice the tomato into small cubes. Cut the top off the pepper, remove the seeds and slice into small squares. Add the diced veggies to the cooled quinoa.
Finely chop a small handful of cilantro and about 6 chives. Add to the quinoa and vegetables. Pour the dressing over the mixture and stir until all the ingredients are combined.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This will last up to 5 days fresh in the fridge. You can pair with chicken, fish or other light meats to make a full meal.