Grain or pasta salads are one of my favorite things to have for lunch. Today, I made a quinoa salad. I make different versions of this throughout the year. Of course, summer salads are the best with everything picked straight from the garden, and fresh basil makes it so flavorful. Even though the season is still way off, thank goodness… I still have a lot of exercise to do, this was really a great treat and almost as good as summer.
Yesterday, I had intended on having quinoa with dinner, so I had 1 cup quinoa soaking a few hours. I find it digests best when rinsed really well several times, then soaked a few hours before cooking. Since it was ready to be cooked, and dinner plans changed, I decided to cook it, refrigerate it and use it for a quinoa salad lunch.
I cooked the one cup in 1.5 cups water for about 10 minutes until light, fluffy and still chewy. I do not like mushy quinoa. I also added a no salt vegetable bouillon cube to my cooking water. That flavors the quinoa without needing to add salt to it. Once it was cooked, I poured it in a bowl, wrapped it, and stored it in the fridge overnight.
After my workout this morning, I prepared my veggies that I put in the salad, then I diced and marinated 1/4 of block of tofu, and blended the all the ingredients with my dressing to marinate in the fridge until lunch. I was so happy with how delicious it was. The veggies stay crisp and the quinoa is such a nice healthy base of protein and carbs. I just love having super foods for lunch. They make you feel energetic the rest of the day. So, here is my recipe for quinoa salad.
The whole serving bowl above is 4 servings. About 1 full bowl each. Each bowl is 298 calories, 10 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fiber.
- 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked and refrigerated (equals about 4 cups cooked quinoa)
- 6 tbsp. of your favorite vinaigrette ( I used Wegman’s Tarragon Vinaigrette)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
- 4 small colorful sweet peppers, diced
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced small
- 1 cup cucumber, diced (leave skin on, it is good for you!)
- 6 Kalamata olives, halved
- 10 small green olives with pimento
- 1/4 block tofu drained, diced small
- Sea Salt
- Mrs. Dash Original (Any no salt seasoning you like)
In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp. of vinaigrette with the dice tofu and let it marinate. While that is soaking, dice up all the veggies listed above. Make sure you keep that cucumber skin on, Dr. Oz says it keeps you from getting wrinkles! In a large bowl, pour in 1/2 of your quinoa, then half of your vegetables, 1/2 tofu, and 1/2 of your remaining vinaigrette. Mix them together, adding a little salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash. Stir well. Add the rest of the ingredients, including dressing, then season them with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash also. Mix well, so everything is well distributed.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to let flavors combine. To make this a bigger meal, you can also shred mixed baby greens into the salad for more volume and nutrition. I was so hungry when I ate, I forgot to do this. I will for my next serving. If you are looking for more calories and protein, Gardein chicken cooked can be diced in as well, 1 piece per serving. That would add 90 calories and 14 grams of protein to each serving.