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Quinoa Salad with Mixed Vegetables Recipe

by AI Chef
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quinoa salad with mixed vegetables recipe

Quinoa salad is a versatile and wholesome dish that’s both satisfying and delicious. It’s made by mixing cooked quinoa with an assortment of vegetables and often enhanced with a dressing. Quinoa, a grain that’s been a staple in South American cuisine for thousands of years, is known for its nutty flavor and slightly crunchy texture. Its ability to absorb flavors makes it an excellent base for salads.

Lunch is a crucial meal that re-energizes your body and can affect your performance for the rest of the day. A light and nutritious lunch, like quinoa salad with mixed vegetables, ensures that you are consuming essential nutrients without feeling overly full or sluggish. It’s the perfect balance that keeps you alert and focused, while also contributing to your daily nutritional needs.

Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s also rich in fiber, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and various antioxidants. Mixed vegetables add a plethora of vitamins and minerals to the dish.

A dynamic shot of hands mixing the quinoa with the vegetables in a large salad bowl

Including a variety of vegetables ensures you’re getting a broader range of nutrients. Together, quinoa and vegetables create a synergy of nutrition that’s not only beneficial for your health but also pleasing to your palate.

Equipment/Tools Needed

List of kitchen equipment and tools required for making quinoa salad:

  • Medium saucepan
  • Strainer
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spoon for mixing

Quinoa Salad with Mixed Vegetables

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 3 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 500 calories 18g fat

Ingredients

  • Quinoa: 1 cup
  • Mixed vegetables (such as bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, corn): 2 cups, chopped
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon juice: 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh parsley: 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Salt: to taste
  • Black pepper: to taste

Quantity for each ingredient

The quantities mentioned above are suitable for making quinoa salad with mixed vegetables that can serve 2-3 people.

Optional ingredients for added flavor or nutrition

  • Feta cheese: 1/4 cup, crumbled
  • Avocado: 1, diced
  • Toasted almonds: 2 tablespoons
  • Dried cranberries: 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh mint leaves: a handful, chopped

Instructions

  1. Begin by rinsing the quinoa under cold water in a fine-mesh strainer to remove any bitterness.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the saucepan, and let the quinoa simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and is tender.
  4. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove it from heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes. Then, fluff it with a fork.

Instructions for preparing the mixed vegetables

  1. While the quinoa is cooking, wash and chop the mixed vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
  2. If using vegetables like corn or peas that are better cooked, you can steam them briefly.

Combining and seasoning the salad

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa and chopped vegetables.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to create a dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and vegetables, and toss the salad to combine.
  4. Add the chopped parsley and any optional ingredients like feta cheese, avocado, toasted almonds, or dried cranberries, and gently mix them into the salad.

Serving suggestions

  1. You can serve the quinoa salad immediately as a light and refreshing dish.
  2. Alternatively, you can refrigerate it for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld together, and serve it chilled.
  3. It pairs well with a slice of crusty bread or can be used as a filling for wraps.
  4. Garnish with additional fresh herbs or a sprinkle of cheese before serving, if desired.

Expert Tips

Quinoa is a versatile grain that pairs well with a variety of vegetables. Some great options include:

  • Cherry tomatoes: Add a burst of flavor and juiciness.
  • Cucumbers: Provide a refreshing crunch.
  • Bell peppers: Add color and a mild sweetness.
  • Avocado: Gives a creamy texture and richness.
  • Spinach or arugula: Add some greens for extra nutrients.
  • Carrots: Add a sweet crunch and vibrant color.
  • Broccoli or cauliflower: For a heartier salad, steam them lightly before adding.

Tips for cooking quinoa perfectly:

  • Always rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove its natural coating, called saponin, which can be bitter.
  • Use a ratio of 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of quinoa for a fluffier texture.
  • Cook quinoa on low heat to avoid it becoming mushy.
  • Let the quinoa sit covered for 5 minutes after cooking to allow it to steam and become fluffier.

Ideas for additional dressings or toppings:

  • Experiment with different dressings like balsamic vinaigrette, honey-mustard dressing, or a tahini-based dressing for varied flavors.
  • Add nuts and seeds (such as sunflower seeds or almonds) for an extra crunch.
  • Toss in some dried fruits like cranberries or apricots for a touch of sweetness.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 500 kcal
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 70 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 10 g
  • Sugars: 4 g
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
  • Sodium: 200 mg
  • Vitamin A: 120% DV
  • Vitamin C: 80% DV
  • Calcium: 8% DV
  • Iron: 28% DV

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Can I make quinoa salad ahead of time?
    • A: Yes, quinoa salad can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. It actually tastes better after the flavors have had a chance to meld together.
  • Q: Can I use frozen vegetables?
    • A: Yes, you can use frozen vegetables. Just make sure to thaw and drain them well before adding them to the salad.
  • Q: How long can I store quinoa salad in the refrigerator?
    • A: Quinoa salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Conclusion

This Quinoa Salad with Mixed Vegetables is a nutritious and refreshing dish perfect for a light lunch. It combines the goodness of quinoa with a medley of colorful vegetables, all tossed in a simple dressing.

Enjoy this delectable quinoa salad as a fueling and wholesome lunch option. It’s packed with nutrients and flavors that will keep you satisfied and energized for the day. Don’t hesitate to get creative with the ingredients and make it your own!

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