When the warmer weather settles in — which it hasn't quite here, still raining — I start making lots of cold grain salads. My favorite grain to use is quinoa. The salads are a satisfying, yet light and cool, main dish and can boast of including virtually anything you've got on hand.
We attended a Memorial Day picnic on Monday and I hemmed and hawed all weekend about what to take. See, I usually always take a quinoa salad and I thought maybe I should take something different for a change. But by Sunday night, true to form, I was rinsing and soaking the quinoa anyway.
We arrived at the picnic on Monday, the quinoa salad in hand, and one friend commented that she thought about bringing a quinoa salad but didn't because she figured I was going to. Another friend said she had been looking forward to the quinoa salad I was sure to bring. They got me there. I guess I'll stop fighting it and always bring one. 😉 People depend on it, see?
Spring Quinoa Salad
- 4 cups quinoa soaked, cooked, and cooled *
- 1 to 2 cups pinto beans soaked, cooked, and cooled **
- 1 to 2 cups chicken cooked, cold, diced ***
- 1/4 red onion quartered and sliced thinly
- 1 to 2 cups spinach coarsely chopped ****
- 6 to 8 radishes sliced thinly (not pictured)
- handful fresh basil coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup raw cheese crumbled or diced *****
- 1/2 cup+ extra virgin olive oil
- 2 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, optional
- sea salt to taste
- pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a big bowl.
Use more or less of any of them.
Give the flavors some time to mingle, in the refrigerator or at cool room temperature.
*See grain soaking and cooking instructions here.
**See bean soaking and cooking instructions here.
***See how to cook whole chickens in a crockpot here.
****If eating on a regular basis, spinach should be lightly steamed to reduce oxalic acid. But occasionally, we eat it raw.
*****I used the no-tech Middle Eastern cheese in the Cultured Dairy & Basic Cheese eCourse.
Do you make cold grain salads? What do you put in them?
This post was featured in 33 Nourishing Main Dish Salads.
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