Vegetable quinoa salad is packed with fresh garden vegetables, loads of protein, and a lot of flavor. It would make a great side dish or even a stand-alone lunch.
In my combined effort to eat healthier and clean out my fridge, I put together this fresh vegetable quinoa salad. It was the perfect way to use those little bits of fresh veggies that seem to hang out in my refrigerator produce drawer until they rot.
I have to ask: Is it just me that forgets about the delicious produce hiding in my refrigerator, or does that happen to you too? I really need to sharpen my long term memory skills.
Anyway, if you’re not familiar with quinoa, allow me to fill your brain with some food fuel.
FOOD FACTS – Quinoa
- Quinoa is pronounced KEEN-WAH
- Quinoa is 100% whole grain, and is as close to being a perfect food source as a grain can get because of the balance of nutrition it provides.
- Technically it’s not a grain, though. It’s the seed of a leafy plant related to spinach. (Ooo, that makes me crave steakhouse style creamed spinach.)
- Quinoa is an excellent source of protein at 12% to 18% protein content per serving! According to The National Academy of Sciences, quinoa is “one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom”. Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine, which helps the body produce protein. The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent to or better than the protein found in milk products.
- Quinoa is a great source of B vitamins, as it contains niacin, thiamin and B6. It contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin, too. It’s also a good source of zinc, copper, manganese, and magnesium. It contains folic acid and vitamin E. See what I mean? Quinoa is packed with nutrients!
- Quinoa is a great food choice for people who follow a wheat free, grain free, or gluten free lifestyle, because Quinoa doesn’t contain any gluten.
- Quinoa can be substituted for almost any other grain.
- Quinoa has sort of a nutty flavor and is much less filling than other grains and pastas.
- Most quinoa is grown in the Andes, located in South America. Some quinoa is now being grown in the Colorado Rockies, too. The fact that quinoa will grow in extremely poor soil, along with its great nutritional value, makes it a true super grain to feed the world.
Because of its health benefits, you’re likely to see me using quinoa in more recipes this year.
I hope you’ll give this vegetable quinoa salad a try!
If you do try the vegetable quinoa salad, please leave me a comment to let me know what you think of it. I love to see pictures of what you make, too. Come on over and share photos on my Facebook page of what you’ve made!
Vegetable Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 medium sized cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 large carrot, diced
- 1 zucchini or yellow squash, diced
- 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
For the vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Scrape the cooked quinoa into a large bowl and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
- Place the vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and mustard into a blender or food processor. Drizzle in the oil while blending at high speed until the dressing is thick.
- Add the veggies to the bowl with the quinoa. Pour the dressing over the top of the salad and gently fold until evenly mixed. For best flavor, chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
If you’re looking for more delicious quinoa recipes to try, you should also check out these: