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Q is or Quinoa -Zesty Quinoa Salad

Q is for Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)! Quinoa is a delicious, richly-flavored grain that has both protein and meaningful amounts of iron and calcium. This zesty, lemony quinoa salad recipe comes courtesy of one of my heroes, Bertrand Weber, Director of the Culinary and Nutrition Services team at the Minneapolis Public Schools. Yes, they serve this in school lunch in Minneapolis. Yes, the kids love it. Yours will too!

The first time I made quinoa I made the mistake of not rinsing it. It was bitter. I later learned the bitter, sometimes soapy taste comes from saponin, a natural coating that keeps insects away. There are about 120 different of varieties of quinoa, but commercially they grow black, red, and white. Each has a slightly different flavor, so it's worth trying different varieties to see which your family likes. Most boxed quinoa you buy is pre-rinsed, but it's still a good ideas to give it an extra wash. Give your little ones the job of measuring the dry quinoa into small mesh strainer and rinsing it under water for a full minute.

Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup uncooked red quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 1 cup diced yellow pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped kale (or spinach)
  • 1/8 cup fresh basil (cut into thin strips

Lemon Herb Dressing

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp italian seasoning

GARNISHES

(Optional)

  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives

PREPARATION

Dressing:

  1. Put all ingredients into a small bowl.
  2. Whisk together until thoroughly combined
  3. Set aside

Quinoa:

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking.
  2. Chop kale or spinach
  3. Cut basil leaves into thin strips.
  4. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add raw quinoa. Cook at a low boil for 15 minutes. Rinse cooked quinoa with cool water; drain.
  5. Pour cold quinoa into large mixing bowl. Mix in carrots, peppers, tomatoes, kale & basil.
  6. Add dressing to quinoa mixture.
  7. Store in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
  8. Top with sunflower seeds & chives (optional)

You can also try this recipe served on top of spring mix or salad greens.

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