I’ve recently started to really appreciate whole grains, especially quinoa. Sure, I’ve always been a fan of baking with whole wheat flour, and that’s all fine and great. But, I’m talking about cooking and eating whole grains that aren’t incorporated into baked goods.
It all started when I discovered salads made with whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur wheat. On their own, I’ve always found the grains to be somewhat dull. Given the choice between a potato or rice as a side with my dinner, I’d take the potato every time (slathered with butter or topped with bacon and cheese, preferably, but that’s a recipe for another day). When the grains stop being a side dish and become the base for a flavorful salad, though, everything changes.
I fell in love with quinoa salads a few summers ago when I attended the Big Summer Potluck where all of the food was gluten-free. The usual summer pasta salad was off the table, but it was replaced with an assortment of gorgeous salads made with quinoa (which, happens to be gluten-free). The flavorful salads were hearty enough to eat as a main dish, but still felt light and summery.
Afterwards, I set out to make my own quinoa salads at home. I came across a great salad formula in Pam Anderson’s Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals (yes, that’s an Amazon affiliate link) cookbook, and I’ve been happily whipping up my own salad creations ever since.
This summer, I am finding that I keep going back to the quinoa salads more than ever. Trying to cook my way through our weekly CSA share while also chasing Miss Maddie around the house has proved to be a bit of a challenge. I love that I can make a batch of quinoa the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight. Then, all I have to do is chop a few veggies, make a quick vinaigrette and stir it all together the next day. This particular version, loaded with Mediterranean flavors like marinated artichokes, olives, spinach, and feta cheese is my new favorite for a quick meal. Lunch is served! Continue Reading