Summer is the most active time of year, and not just for physical activity. Our social calendars fill up with camping trips, family visits, and friendly potlucks – all events centered around the food! The struggle to decide what to provide that will simultaneously be delicious, be easy to make, fill you up, and keep you (and all your friends who are gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan/etc.) healthy and happy can be overwhelming. This quinoa salad hits the target for each of those categories so well, I even made it to serve at my wedding! The best part about making salads is that the “recipe” can always change – quantities can be fudged, ingredients can be substituted or eliminated… Don’t be afraid to add something you think sounds good!
SUMMER QUINOA SALAD – Serves 8-10
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible. Definitely choose organic for the corn.
– 2 C uncooked quinoa (you’re supposed to soak it for 2-3 hours and then rinse it, but seriously… ain’t nobody got time for that! Admittedly, I have NEVER done this.)
– 4 C water (I use at least ½ of this as veggie broth to add more flavor to the quinoa.)
– 2 C organic, non-GMO frozen corn (if you are fancy you can cut it off of a couple ears of fresh corn) (If you do not eat corn, substitute finely diced nectarines. You won’t believe me, but it is delicious.)
– 1 small red onion, finely diced
– Juice of 2-3 limes
– Two 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed well
– 2 T minced jalapeño pepper (Do it! Without the seeds, they are just for flavor. Leave a few seeds in there if you want a little spice. Be sure to wash your hands after immediately after handling hot peppers… Trust me, you will forget and then rub your eyes and you will be sad.)
– 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
– 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
– 6 T avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil if you don’t have avocado oil)
– Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.
– 1 large avocado, chopped
- 1 cucumber, finely diced??? (Honestly, I have never done this but I just thought of it and it sounds nice. If not in the salad, you should definitely slice some and put them in your water glass.)
- Combine the quinoa and the liquid in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, stir in the corn, and remove from heat. (I like to put the pot in an ice bath so the quinoa does not continue to cook and get mushy, but this is not necessary.)
- While the quinoa is cooking, combine all the rest of the ingredients in a large serving bowl. Add the quinoa and corn once it has cooled if you did not cool it in an ice bath and stir everything to combine well.
- Add the avocado at the very end and gently mix in.
*This dish can be served room temperature or chilled.