Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad

My wife and I go through this dilemma, probably like most of you, about once every couple of weeks and that is that we really consider eating ‘more healthy’ and incorporate more fresh vegetables and ‘good’ stuff into our weekly dinner plans. This is not to say that we do not eat healthy. In my opinion we do really well and rarely go out to eat, limit our intake on junk foods, and eat fairly well balanced meals throughout the week. Granted, we are eating more meat than we probably should but I think that defaults to my kids as if it were just my wife and I eating we would most likely be very content eating a nice salad on a daily basis. So not too long ago my wife had mentioned this idea and stated that she would really like to eat more quinoa. I listen to that stuff, and felt it was my duty to turn her on to a nice fresh garden salad. A quinoa salad that was packed full of crunch vegetables, and loaded with flavor.

Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad Recipe
Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad Recipe

This quinoa salad is simple to make and is perfect as a main meal, or side dish. It’s got great crunch and an awesome citrus kick to boot.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup skillet fried chick peas, optional
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste

If you have never cooked quinoa, it could not be easier. It is as simple as rice (without the rice cooker). Simply add water, add quinoa, stir, wait, and fluff.

Let’s begin by bringing 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 15 minutes.  The water should be absorbed and the quinoa should be translucent. Taste so that it is tender. Once tender, remove from the heat, dump it into a mixing bowl, and let it cool.

Quinoa Salad Ingredients
Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Next, prepare all of your diced ingredients. I will leave it up to you if you want to leave the skin on your cucumber or not. I’m a fan on skin on with my vegetables whether that be cucumbers, potatoes, or carrots. Again, I will leave it up to you. Just make sure you get rid of the seeds. Once you have all of your veggies chopped and diced, add them to the bowl of quinoa.  If you are going with a bit more protein, add the skillet fried chickpeas (great for texture).

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with a generous pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. Give this a good stir to mix everything, and then give it a taste. Does it need more salt, pepper, or oil? If so, go for it and adjust to your liking.

Now you are ready to serve. This quinoa salad is not only super healthy for you, but darn it is delicious. A perfect side dish for a family night meal, or a great leftover to pack for your daily lunch. Enjoy!

Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup skillet fried chick peas, optional
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Let’s begin by bringing 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 15 minutes. The water should be absorbed and the quinoa should be translucent. Taste so that it is tender. Once tender, remove from the heat, dump it into a mixing bowl, and let it cool.
  2. Next, prepare all of your diced ingredients. I will leave it up to you if you want to leave the skin on your cucumber or not. I’m a fan on skin on with my vegetables whether that be cucumbers, potatoes, or carrots. Again, I will leave it up to you. Just make sure you get rid of the seeds. Once you have all of your veggies chopped and diced, add them to the bowl of quinoa. If you are going with a bit more protein, add the skillet fried chickpeas (great for texture).
  3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with a generous pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. Give this a good stir to mix everything, and then give it a taste. Does it need more salt, pepper, or oil? If so, go for it and adjust to your liking.
  4. Now you are ready to serve.

More Quinoa Recipes:

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots

Summertime is finally here, and sometimes that is s a great thing or a bad thing. The bad only being that it has been a scorcher in Wisconsin. The temperature has been in the upper to mid 90’s lately with a high percentage of humidity. I don’t perform well in humidity, and as I normally run hot to begin with, when you add humidity that only means I’m a walking puddle.  The great thing is that all of the wonderful produce that my wife and family love is in full harvest, and one of them being corn. I’ve always related corn and tomatoes to summertime while living in the midwest, and as we grow a lot of tomatoes in our garden, corn is pretty much on our lunch or dinner table several times a week.

While living in Dallas, I was first introduced to Mexican corn (Elotes), and I fell in love. It was addicting. Grilled or steamed corn smothered in mayonnaise, sprinkled with chili powder and cotija cheese, what was not to love? I had elotes on my mind after buying a handful of corn on the cob, and after rummaging through my freezer (trying to purge frozen items), I located some nice tater tots. I love tater tots, and after looking at both the corn and the tater tots, I knew I could only do justice my making some loaded Mexican Elotes Tater Tots.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Forget the nachos. These are a game changer.

Let’s get started.

  • 2 ears of corn, steamed or grilled, then cut off the cob
  • 1/2 a bag or about 15 oz of frozen tater tots, cooked by directions on bag
  • 2 cups of Supremo 3 Cheese Mexican blend cheese (Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Cotija)
  • 1/3 cup of Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/2 lime, optional

Start by preheating your oven by directions, or fry the tots if you desire. I baked mine on a cast iron fajita skillet (love), and during this time steam or grill your corn.

Once the corn is cooked to your liking (I like mine a bit al dente), cut it off the cob and place it into a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, chili powder, and a bit of salt and pepper. Those tater tots need some salt and pepper.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients

Once the tots are close to being done (and to your liking), and some like them a bit tender and some like them nice and crispy like myself, remove the skillet or baking sheet from the oven. Top all of the tater tots with the Mexican shredded cheeses and place back into the oven and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.

Once the cheese is nicely melted, remove it from the oven and slide onto your serving plate. I keep mine on the cast iron skillet and place it on top of the wooden board that came with the fajita skillet.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Top with the corn mixture, shower with fresh cilantro, and serve with a lime wedge for additional acidity.

Now block yourself from others, just kidding, and dig in. You talk about everything you can love about Mexican Elotes, these Mexican Elotes Tater Tots just bring it over the top. Simple, quick, and delicious. This is a perfect Summertime snack. Enjoy.

If you are looking for other takes on Mexican elotes, or other corn ideas this summer, give these a try:

Thai Steak

It has been awhile since we have had beef, so I figured since the weather has finally been improving that I would fire up the grill, splurge on some steaks and get to town. This time instead of just salt and peppering the steak, I decided to go with a Thai steak. It was a great decision on my part. This marinade would be fantastic with any protein, but it goes really well with beef.

If you want to use leftovers, try making my Thai steak McMuffin sandwich, that is if you have any leftovers (I’m surprised I did).

Grilled Thai Steak
Grilled Thai Steak

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 New York strip steaks, or t-bone steaks
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1 shallot, minced

Combine all of the ingredients, excluding the meat, in a large bowl.

Grilled Thai Steak
Grilled Thai Steak

Add in the steak, mixing to coat all of the beef. Let this marinate for 1-4 hours. When you are ready to cook, heat up your grill and grill to your liking. We go medium for the most part on the steaks. Serve with rice and vegetables. Enjoy!

Thai Steak McMuffin

The weather was so nice this past weekend in the Milwaukee area. When I say nice, let’s just say it around 60 degrees. You don’t know what that did to us. It lifted us up, we opened windows, we were smiling, and I could probably keep going on and on. It’s funny what a change in weather can do for you to lift the spirits. With that said, my first instinct, instead of going (or making) a Friday night fish fry was to fire up the grill, and with beef being on sale, I decided to splurge and buy some steaks for the family. I knew exactly what I was going to do with it, and that was to make some Thai beef.

I was surprised to say the least that we had leftover beef after dinner, but that actually drew some excitement within me because I knew that was going nowhere to waste. So the following morning I figured I would make a Thai steak mcmuffin. I know that mcmuffin is trademarked and all, but anything I put on a n English muffin becomes a ‘mc’ something!

Thai Steak McMuffin Recipe
Thai Steak McMuffin Recipe

You can make this easy breakfast sandwich without going Thai style, and that recipe will be coming shortly, but the combination of tender steak with creamy eggs and cheese really makes a great weekend morning.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole eggs, beaten until frothy
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • steak, cooked medium, thinly sliced
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • English muffin, sliced and toasted
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Start by heating a skillet on medium-low heat. Add the butter and let it come to a bubble. Swirl that butter around. Season your eggs with salt, pepper, and water. Mix that up.

Add the sliced steak to warm it up (or warm it through via a microwave). Remove the steak from the skillet and set it aside.

Add the eggs to the skillet, and using a spatula, move it around. Swirling if you will.

Thai Steak McMuffin Ingredients
Thai Steak McMuffin Ingredients

Once the eggs are nice and fluffy, add the steak back into the skillet and top it with a slice of cheddar cheese.

Toast your English muffin, and once toasted, slide the egg, steak and cheese onto the base of the English muffin. Top with the remaining muffin, push down a bit (get excited) and dig in.

The result is a great, and subtle punch of the Thai steak along with the creaminess of the egg and cheese as well as the crunch from that toasted muffin. I could probably eat one of these every day (or week), and is something that should be made by all of you. Yes, it’s that good.  Enjoy, and have an amazing week!