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Holidays are a great time to share food with friends.  This year I decided to make a quinoa salad celebrating the theme for the Fourth of July. So I chose to make a Red and White Quinoa Salad and serve it in a big blue bowl.  This salad is large enough to feed 35  people during a progressive dinner so you might want to scale it down for a family or small gathering of friends.

Red and White Quinoa Salad in a Big Blue Bowl

Ingredients:

12 ounces white quinoa, cooked

12 ounces red quinoa, cooked

2 large red peppers, chopped

8 ounces of crimini mushrooms, diced

6 scallions, sliced

½ of a large red onion, thinly sliced

Generous handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 jars of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

15 ounces garbanzo beans

(I make big batches of beans and freeze them so I measured, defrosted and allowed these to dry a bit.  If you use canned beans, rinse them thoroughly and allow them to dry a bit.)

8 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 cup slivered almonds

Lemon Vinaigrette (recipes follows)

 

Lemon Vinaigrette:

3 large lemons (about ½ cup)

1 ½ cups olive oil

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (adjust to taste)

Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in a small food processor or use a whisk to emulsify the vinaigrette.

Begin by cooking the quinoa.  While the quinoa cooks, begin chopping your vegetables.  Your quinoa will finish cooking before you finish chopping so when the quinoa is done, remove it from the heat, fluff with a fork and let it rest covered for another 10 minutes or so.  Then remove the cover and allow the quinoa to cool while you finish chopping.

When all your vegetables are chopped, fold them into the quinoa along with the feta cheese crumbles and almonds.

Add the vinaigrette in increments of about ½ cup at a time until you are satisfied that your salad is seasoned properly to your liking.  Leftover dressing can keep in the refrigerator for several days and can be used for green salads and pastas salads too.

Cover the salad and set it in the refrigerator to chill.  This salad is best served chilled or at room temperature.  It makes a great potluck side dish because it travels well.  In fact, I take containers of this salad with me when I travel so I get my protein and vegetables, i.e. a complete meal, in flight and I don’t have to worry about spoilage or bringing a cooler as carry-on luggage.

 

 

 

 

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Quinoa is such a versatile ingredient.  Serve it warm, serve it hot or serve it chilled and the results are pleasing.  I love my old tried-and-true Quinoa Tabbouleh that I serve over the summer months.  True too, that I love my winter Quinoa Vegetable Salad with pumpkin and winter squash.  It only makes sense that I needed a Springtime Quinoa.  So here we are!

The early crops are coming up strong in our gardens so they dictated the ingredients for my new Springtime Quinoa Salad.  It’s so simple that writing a recipe isn’t necessary.  I’m going to tell it as my grandmother would have said it.

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Make a batch of quinoa.  While it’s cooking, rinse about two cups of black beans.  I make mine from dried beans but canned will work if you rinse them well and drain off the water.  Chop about a palm-full of red onion.  Chop another palm-full of red bell pepper.  Grab a bunch of cilantro and chop well.  Grab some flat leaf parsley and chop it well too.  One large garden scallion from our garden is enough but if you use store-bought, chop at least 3.  Chop one large seeded tomato into small dice sized pieces.

Season it all with a good couple of grinds of sea salt and black pepper.  Combine lemon and olive oil at a ratio of 1:3.  Whisk until it is emulsified and toss with the salad ingredients.  You can also enhance this with a garnish of Feta Cheese or some toasted almond slivers.  Serve at room temperature, warmed or chilled.  It’s up to you!  Any which way, it’s good.

Unfortunately our quinoa crop was destroyed by local construction so I purchased the quinoa.  However, the onion, scallion, parsley, cilantro and lemon all came from our garden. Soon I will be able to use the tomatoes too.  Homegrown makes it better if you can do it.

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