Every time the weather warms up, some version of this salad becomes a staple in my meal rotation. It’s super simple to throw together and extremely easy to change around based on the veggies, beans, and grains you already have in your kitchen, which makes me love it even more. A lot of times I’ll make this exact dish with couscous instead, but this time I went with quinoa so there was a double dose of protein. It would work great with millet, wheat berries, or pretty much any other grain you can think of – literally, any grain goes.
Any Grain Goes Salad
Printable recipe here. Entire recipe (as it is here) yields 7 1-cup servings, at 4 pts+ each. 28 pts+ for full recipe.
To start, prepare 1 cup of whatever dried grain you are working with. Since I went with quinoa this time, I rinsed it, then combined it with 2 cups of water and simmered it for 15-20 minutes until all the water was absorbed.
It’s best to let your grain cool a bit, so you can make it in advance if that’s easier for you. The rest of the recipe is easy peasy, and it really takes no time at all.
I got together all the veggies I wanted to use and got them ready for the salad.
Green pepper, red onion, Italian parsley, English cucumber, tomato, and spinach chiffonade. Here’s a quick video (my FIRST one!!) with a cooking tip on how to cut the spinach:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E389S8YGRGk%5D
I also added 1 cup of kidney beans for an extra protein kick and 1/4 cup of golden raisins for a little something sweet.
Combine the quinoa with all your veggies with the beans and raisins, plus:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- generous amount of salt and pepper
Mix it together.
And it’s done! This is a beautiful salad that is easy on the eyes as well as the taste buds.
If you’re not a fan of raisins, you can do craisins, dried apricots, mango or grapes instead, or omit the sweet component completely. You can also use chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, or any other kind of bean in place of the kidney beans, but I thought those added some nice color to the dish. When you’re picking out your veggies, try to have a few different colors in there, since we eat with our eyes first. And, it’s great to use a fresh herb if you can! I used parsley this time, but you can experiment with basil or anything else you can think of.
This salad gets better with time, which is one of the best things about it. The flavors mesh together overnight and it is very delicious as leftovers. You can combine it with some feta or goat cheese and have it in a wrap, or do like I did last night and mix it with egg and bread crumbs, form it into patties, and cook it in a pan for a delicious veggie burger. Anything goes!
What’s your favorite recipe or food for the spring/summer time?