Garden Fresh Quinoa Salad
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If you’re looking for a light, refreshing salad that makes use of fresh, summery ingredients this is the one.
It’s easy, healthy, ready in 30 minutes, and packed with texture and flavors galore.
There’s lightly caramelized sweet yellow onions and fresh green onions to boost the savory flavor while nectarines and fresh sweet corn add a sweeter touch. I love salty-and-sweet desserts so why not do the same with my salads.
You can substitute peaches, plums, apricots or similar stone fruits for the nectarines based on what you have. I don’t bother cooking the corn and just slice it in right off the cob.
There’s English cucumber for crunch, basil for a burst of summery freshness, and cherry tomatoes for juiciness. If you want to add chickpeas for extra protein, bell peppers or zucchini for more veggies, or get creative with your ingredients, go for it because it’s a flexible recipe.
Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice really brighten up the dish up and perfectly complement all the veggies and fruit.
The salad is great right away but it’s a perfect make-ahead recipe because the flavors develop over time and I think it tastes better a day or two after making it. You can either serve it warm or cold and since there’s no mayo it’s a great salad for lunch boxes, picnics, potlucks, and parties. It’s accidentally gluten-free and vegan, too. Make it before summer disappears.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- one large sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and diced small
- 1 cup quinoa (I used white but you can use tri-colored)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning fruit and vegetables in bowl
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning fruit and vegetables in bowl
- 5 or 6 green onions, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds (use green and white parts)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh nectarines, diced small (from about 2 medium nectarines, I didn’t peel)
- 3/4 cup fresh sweet corn (from about 1 small ear, frozen may be substituted)
- 3/4 cup English cucumber, diced small (regular cucumbers will release more water and seeds)
- 3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (stems discarded), finely chopped
- pinch granulated sugar, optional and to taste
- To a large skillet or saucepan, add the olive oil, sweet Vidalia onions, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened and just begin to lightly caramelize, about 7 minutes.
- Add the quinoa and stir it into the onions and let it toast for about 30 seconds.
- Add the water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stir to combine, reduce the heat to low, cover pan, and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed. While quinoa cooks, chop the remaining ingredients.
- To a very large bowl, add the green onions, nectarines, corn (I don’t cook it and slice it into the bowl directly from the cob), cucumber, tomatoes, basil, season with salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon of each), and stir to combine.
- Add the quinoa and stir to combine. Taste and check for seasoning balance, adding salt, pepper, and an optional pinch of sugar to taste. Dish can be served warm and immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavors develop over time and tastes better a day or two after making it, and it can either be served cold, at room temp, or gently reheated.
Adapted from Lemon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Almond Quinoa Salad
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 500mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 6gSugar: 17gProtein: 5g
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