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:

Grilled Octopus Salad

After a quick lunch at one of my favorite taco joints in Milwaukee, I decided I would shop around. I was really only looking for some tortillas for my kids, and an avocado for my wife, but I decided I would browse. Browsing typically gets me into trouble when I am at a grocery store. Go figure. This time around I checked into the seafood section and found an octopus. I have been thinking of octopus for some time now and wanted my family to experience it. I grew up trying octopus from time to time, along with conch and snails. My parents were good like that so I figured I would make attempts to let my kids experience that as well. The first thing that came to mind was a grilled octopus salad, and that is what I stuck with.

Grilled Octopus Salad
Grilled Octopus Salad

This octopus salad is not only really easy to make, but it is super refreshing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs octopus, rinsed and cleaned
  • 2 cloves of garlic, rough chop
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, optional
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorn
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 lemons, 1 juiced
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with some salt, lemon, black peppercorn, and serrano chili. Place the octopus in the water and boil for 45 minutes.

Remove the octopus and place in a large boil and rinse it with cold water. Drain the water and then drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Let the octopus rest for about 30 minutes.

Grilled Octopus Salad
Grilled Octopus Salad

Chop into large pieces and heat up your grill.

Once your grill is heated, place the octopus parts onto the grill, and cook for about 5 minutes, turning along the way. Your goal is to get some of that grill char onto the octopus.

After 5 minutes, remove the octopus from the grill and place into a large bowl. Add the remaining oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, onions, parsley and bell pepper. Give that a good toss and get ready to serve.

Grilled Octopus Salad
Grilled Octopus Salad

I loved it. The texture of the octopus is spot on and the flavor from the great olive oil and lemon juice is super refreshing. Did my kids like it? Not sure but at least they tried! This grilled octopus salad would be really great during the summer months so I suspect I will return to that seafood aisle at my local Mexican grocery store and have them try it again. Have you tried octopus, and do you enjoy it?