light, fresh, nutritious. everything a summer meal should be, right? this salad reminds me a lot of my last recipe (chicken & orzo salad with herb lemon vinaigrette or orzo stuffed peppers) but it’s meat free and packed with protein. it’s equally customizable, though. if i had a vegetable garden out back, i imagine i’d throw together whatever i picked fresh (zucchini, peppers, squash, tomatoes, peas, etc.) with whatever whole grain i had on hand at the time.
i cooked up a big batch of this salad and ate it a different way almost every day - once as a side with dinner, once as a quick snack from the fridge, another time for lunch on a bed of spinach (GBG = greens, beans & grains!).
1/2 c. quinoa (uncooked)
one can cannelini beans (15.5 oz)
1 small summer squash, shredded
2 plum tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 large cucumber, diced
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
kosher salt & ground black pepper to taste
3-4 fresh basil leaves
done with the collecting? time for the doing!
first thing’s first: get your quinoa cooking and wash those veggies.
follow the instructions on your box of quinoa, but in case you bought in bulk or want to know the quick rule of thumb with this great grain, just remember this: 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. dump it all in a pot, bring to a boil and then let it simmer until all of the water is absorbed. easy peasy!
next up, rinse your beans (until there’s no white foamy bubbles - that’s how you’ll know you’ve gotten rid of some of the salt!) and chop/grate/dice/slice those veggies. i shredded the zucchini because i like the texture and vinaigrette-soaking abilities. i diced up the tomatoes/pepper/cuke, as well, and did a quick chiffonade (rolling and slicing into a ribbon) with the fresh basil.
throw all that into a big mixing bowl and in a smaller bowl, whisk together your oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. pour it on top of the veggies and quinoa in the big bowl and toss everything together.
and just. like. that. you’re done! enjoy it and soak up the last month of summer :)
click here for a printable version of the recipe!