Guest post by Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen
Normally by this time of year we’re in the midst of warm spring weather. By now my sandals have usually made their way to the front of my closet, I’ve taken my quilted blanket (aka my park blanket) down from the shelf at the very tippy-top of my closet, and by now my weekend days normally include picnicking in Central Park. Even though my sandals are still hibernating and the picnic blanket remains tucked away in the closet, my mind (and stomach) are in complete picnic mode.
Instead of the pasta salads and orzo salads that have been delicious highlights of picnics past, I’m swapping them out for healthier, protein-packed quinoa salads this year. It’s no secret I’m obsessed with quinoa – whether it’s for breakfast or dinner, served hot or served cold, I love including this nutty seed into my meals. Lately I’ve been all about tri-color quinoa – a mix of golden, red and black quinoa. Red and black quinoa have an earthier, nutty taste than their golden counterpart, and hold their shape better when cooked, making it perfect for salads.
This salad, best served at room temperature or chilled, mixes a trio of quinoa colors with vibrant spring herbs, like parsley, basil, mint & thyme, toasted pine nuts and a touch of olive oil and sea salt. Crumbled feta also makes a great addition to this spring and summer staple.
Spring Herb Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8, as a side
1 1/2 cup quinoa
3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh parlsey, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh thyme
1/2 pine nuts, toasted
fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa thoroughly with cool water, and drain.
Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan, over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until all water has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the quinoa cool completely.
Once the quinoa is cooled, pour it in to a large bowl. Stir in olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, pine nuts, salt and pepper.
Garnish with fresh herbs and crumbled feta.
Served chilled or at room temperature.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Keeps up to 1 week.
About the author: Kelli is a New York City recipe developer & food blogger, and writes The Corner Kitchen Blog. She strives to find a balance between clean eating and indulging her sweet tooth, while cooking up a storm in her tiny (think 20 sq. ft.!) kitchen. When she’s not thinking up new recipes, you can find Kelli cycling or running around Central Park.