I am a big believer in quinoa. As someone who focuses on a mainly plant based diet, this complete protein grain is a terrific addition. Plus it tastes great and I like the little squiggly grains.
I use quinoa a number of ways, but by far my favorite is in salads. You can use virtually any vegetables you have on hand and create a delicious, healthy, and quick dinner.
For this salad I used organic red quinoa. I also use the regular white/yellow variety, but I think the red looks better in salad. I also used arugula, sun gold cherry tomatoes, scallions, eggplants, zucchini, and parsley. All of the produce was local and organic.
I chopped the scallions (about 4), parsley (1/2 a bunch), and tomatoes (1 pint) and put them in the bottom of my bowl. Next I filled it with washed arugula (4 heaping handfuls) and sprinkled it with goat cheese (1/2 a small pack). I wanted the arugula and goat cheese on top so they would wilt/melt when I added the hot ingredients.
I chopped up the eggplants (4 minis) and zucchini (2), seasoned them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put them on the grill. We have a new snazzy grill tool that allows you to grill smaller pieces of vegetables and makes sure you get good grill flavor on all sides. These looked delicious when they came off the grill!
I added the hot vegetables and the cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry quinoa cooked with 1 1/2 cups of water) to my bowl. Be sure to remember to rinse your quinoa before cooking. Rinse it with cold water at least three times (or until the water runs clear). It really makes a difference in how it tastes!
As planned, the heat wilted the arugula and melted the goat cheese, which really pulled the whole dish together. I added some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste and we had an amazing, seasonal, and healthy meal.
In addition to oil and vinegar, I also often use lemon juice, garlic, and mustard to make the dressing.
Feta also works well in place of goat cheese and creates the same melty goodness.