Quinoa salads have been a staple lately. I make a big batch of quinoa, roast up some veggies (it's been extra hot here, so I quite literally carry our toaster oven into the garage and roast them in there so that the house doesn't take all that extra heat), allow everything to cool, and then toss it all with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, feta, toasted pine nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette.
The combo is light but satisfying, summery and fresh. And just look at that rainbow of colors:
Another perk when it comes to quinoa salads is that you can very easily adapt them. Recently I added chickpeas in place of feta (a good vegan option, if you're into that), made a red wine, garlic and herb vinaigrette lemon, and served it all over butterhead lettuce instead of baby greens. Voila! A totally different experience, but the same exact method.
The point is, you can swap whatever the heck is in season into this recipe. This particular recipe uses peak-of-summer crops. Some other combos to tantalize your tastebuds with:
Cherry tomatoes, bite-sized fresh mozzarella pieces, and basil with balsamic vinaigrette
Fresh tomato, cucumber, parsley, kalamata olives and chickpeas for a greek version
Bell peppers, broccoli florets, cilantro, bean sprouts, and a sesame soy dressing
Sugar snap peas, roasted asparagus, radishes, and sprouts for a cheery spring edition
Roasted butternut squash cubes, goat cheese, black beans, and walnuts for a late summer or fall version
But for now, onward to this summery rainbow of a recipe!
Serves: 6 | Active Time: 60 minutes
For the dressing:
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Dice eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Slice summer squash into half moons, and slice red onion into medium-large wedges. Spread all of them out on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil, tossing them in the oil to coat. Roast veggies for 30-40 minutes, until onions are brown on the edges and eggplant is very soft the whole way through, and starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
- In a large salad bowl, combine: cooled quinoa and cooled roasted veggies, sliced grape tomatoes, minced parsley, feta, pine nuts, and baby greens.
- In a small jar, combine ingredients for dressing. Close jar and shake to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss until everything is combined. Serve.