At my recent Yoga retreat, quinoa was on the menu, but we ended up not making it. We had so many other delicious things, so it fell out of the rotation. I didn’t miss it, because I thought I didn’t really like it. Until now. You will, too, I bet. You could even take this to any Fourth of July festivities you might be celebrating this weekend. It’s easy to make and travels well.
Back to my quinoa breakthrough. Imagine, cooking quinoa according the package directions, and it turning out awesome? Who’d have known? Certainly not me, as I’m not always one for following directions. I can barely make my own recipe the same way twice, much less another person’s. Ha!
I stumbled upon this recipe the other night when “shopping in my cabinets.” I decided to do something novel for me and made the quinoa according to the package directions (fry a cup of quinoa for 20 seconds in butter or oil, add two cups of boiling water, cover, simmer for 20 minutes, covered, over a low heat).
As it cooked, I chopped up a bunch of veggies that were hanging around unused: some roasted red peppers, celery, a couple of artichoke hearts. I added a can of (drained) white beans. Then I mixed this all into the fluffy quinoa, along with a couple of drizzles of olive oil, some ground cumin, and some Trader Joe’s 21 Salute seasoning (salt-free and very versatile!) I threw in some nutritional yeast, too.
It was a hit, and a new summer staple was born. It tastes lovely hot, cold, or at room temp. It travels well, and it’s light yet filling. It’s a flexible recipe: vary the veggies and spices and come up with your own combos. Plus, quinoa is high in protein; along with the beans and veggies, you have a balanced one-dish meal or side.
Quinoa, I’m sorry for my past indifference and for leaving you out of the retreat festivities. I promise I’ll make it up to you somehow, someday!
Fluffy Summer Quinoa Salad
Ingredients to serve 4 as a side, 2 as a main dish:
- 1 cup quinoa
- oil or butter of choice
- veggies of choice (such as peas, peppers, onions, artichoke hearts, asparagus, olive chunks, scallions, whatever you desire/have on hand)
- 1 can of bean of choice, drained (I used white beans)
- salt and pepper to taste
- spice blend of choice (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
- ground cumin (couple of pinches)
- nutritional yeast or parmesean cheese, grated (optional)
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2. As quinoa cooks, chops up veggies, drain beans, and gather spices.
3. Once quinoa is done (takes about 20 minutes), remove from heat. Fluff with a fork, add spices. Lightly stir. Add oil. Fluff a bit again. Add veggies and beans and stir again. Taste and adjust seasoning, oil, and veggies amounts if needed. That’s IT!