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Author Notes: I created this flavorful year-round dish with my vegetarian friends in mind, but it can also be served as a side to chicken and fish. Quinoa is the only plant food that is a complete protein, delivering a full day's requirement in each 2 cup serving. The tahini in the dressing adds a huge amount of flavor as well as even more protein and iron! You can make all the components of this salad up to 2 days ahead and just toss it together an hour before serving. Choose vegetables straight from the Farmer's Market or your garden: Asparagus in the Spring, Zucchini and Corn in the Summer and Butternut Squash in the Fall. Enjoy! —Lynda Marren
Serves 6-8 people
Vinaigrette and Salad Ingredients
- Juice from 2 lemons
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
- 1 teaspoon basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups grilled vegetables (see directions below)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup thyme, chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- To Make Vinaigrette: In a food processor, blend lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, ground pepper, tahini, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, oregano, basil, parsley and crushed red pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil to emulsify. Set aside.
- To Make Salad: Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the rinsed quinoa. Salute for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and chicken stock.
- Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
- In a large serving bowl, combine cooked quinoa with salt, onions, almonds, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, basil, thyme, parsley and marinated grilled vegetables. Toss with dressing and serve hot or cold. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Grilled Marinated Vegetables
- 2 red bell peppers, seeds and pulp removed
- 2 yellow bell peppers, seeds and pulp removed
- 2 zucchinis
- 2 large Portobello mushrooms
- 2 yellow onions
- The above are suggested vegetables. Please substitute with your choice of seasonal vegetables.
- Slice bell peppers and Portobello mushrooms in equal size wedges, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Slice zucchini diagonally, about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Mix to combine. Add vegetables to the marinade and toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a baking dish, cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 3 hours or refrigerate up to 1 day.
- Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Remove vegetables from marinade and pat with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill in batches, letting vegetables rest on the grill for about 3 minutes at the start to caramelize and create grill marks. Grill until they are crisp-tender and brown, about 6-8 minutes. Brush with the reserved marinade as the vegetables grill and put in a bowl.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Lettuce-Free Salad