I have another UVA dietetic intern with me this week! Rachel dreamed up this delicious summery quinoa salad that I shared on Instagram earlier this week, and we made it together on Tuesday. It’s DEE-licious!! Here she is to tell you all about it…
As summer is approaching fast and 80+ degree days are becoming the new normal, I have been envisioning a dish that is cool and refreshing yet able to please my desire for a vast variety of flavors and textures. This vision had to capture my eye, awaken my taste buds, and provide the fuel to sustain me throughout the day. As a lover of food and soon to be Registered Dietitian, my philosophy is food should be enjoyable yet nourishing to our bodies. If it’s colorful, well, that’s just an added bonus to it all! What better way to do all this than by combining a bundle of fresh and unique flavors into a protein and fiber filled red quinoa? The bold color and nutty taste of red quinoa pairs well with a variety of colors and flavors. It is so versatile and essentially anything you are in the mood for will pair wonderfully with this ancient grain.
So what could I add that would be refreshing yet flavorful? My mind swirled with all kinds of ideas but, I came to one conclusion. A red quinoa salad that would encompass a sweet, citrusy, nutty, toasted, creamy and savory experience but would still be light and refreshing. Excited yet? Adding in avocado, strawberries, and fresh mint would scream summer yet be cool and refreshing; chickpeas would add another protein punch to the dish and toasted coconut and walnuts would provide a hint of toasted nutty appeal. All of this topped with crumbled goat cheese and fresh squeezed lime vinaigrette would capture everything that I wanted and more. The preparation was simple and the protein-packed nutritious dish was refreshing and satisfying. Pair this with your cold beverage of choice and what more could you want on a perfect summer day??
First collect all of your ingredients and get excited! Enjoy the colors and fragrance (especially the fresh mint, my favorite) because soon they are all about to become one and boy, is it going to be good.
Begin by cooking the red quinoa as instructed on the box or in a rice cooker. We chose to use a rice cooker and were contemplating whether that is considered cheating. You can decide.
While the quinoa is cooking, begin to prepare your other ingredients. Begin by chopping the strawberries, avocado, and fresh mint.
In the oven toast the coconut and walnuts being careful not to forget about it. Whisk together your ingredients for the Fresh Squeezed Lime Vinaigrette and set aside till your quinoa is done.
Once the quinoa is done, stir in the rest of your ingredients along with the vinaigrette.
Top it off with some extra toasted coconut and walnuts along with some creamy goat cheese! Eat it warm or allow it to cool to let the flavors sink in. Either way, you have a refreshing Summer Quinoa Salad tossed in a Fresh Squeezed Lime Vinaigrette to enjoy while basking in the beauty of summer.
Summer Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup dry red quinoa
- 1 chopped avocado
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- ½ can chickpeas rinsed
- 3 Tbsp. toasted shredded coconut
- 3 Tbsp. toasted walnuts
- 4-5 minced fresh mint leaves
- Crumbled goat cheese
- Lime Vinaigrette
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Juice of half a lime
- ½ teaspoon honey
- Zest of ½ lime
- Pinch of mint
- 1. Cook 1 cup of red quinoa following directions on the package
- 2. Chop avocado, strawberries, and mint to be stirred in the quinoa.
- 3. Toast the coconut and walnuts in a 350 degree oven for 2-4 minutes.
- 4. Whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette.
- 5. Stir in ingredients and vinaigrette into the quinoa.
- 6. Top with extra toasted coconut and walnuts along with crumbled goat cheese.
Serve cold and enjoy!