Summer Quinoa Salad

3:05:00 PM

The problem with the summer time is the heat.

The problem with the heat is that I live in PHOENIX. 

Phoenix is a place where 8 months out of the year the weather is absolutely amazing. The other four months...it's just HOT.  And since it's hot, and we are all trapped in our houses like little lab mice (don't let the images of gorgeously tanned bodies that you see on travel magazines fool you - natives are not sun worshippers.  Nope.  Most of us stay inside as much as possible during the hot months.  We prefer to keep our skin on, in tact, and of the non-melted variety.) anyway - lab mice...we prefer to find ways to nourish our bodies without using the modern inventions of fire, or microwaves, or convection.  We like to eat things cold.

*Disclaimer...I do not speak for all Phoenicians...but if you were to take a gallup poll, you'd find most of us share the same sentiments on the heat.*

This year, I've been looking for recipes that I can prepare for my family that meet the "cold" requirement, but also require as little energy as possible to prepare.  Our electric company, you see, charges us something like 7 times more per kwH during the hours of 3-6 PM than they do at any other time of day.

So - to that end, I've been researching different cold dishes, or dishes I can prepare earlier in the day (if they require cooking) and eat in the evening.  I have to be honest, the only things I have been finding are Raw food recipes (sorry!  I like my meat, and fish, and other foods that were once living.) While I don't mind trying those out once or twice a week - none of them seem super "kid" (husband) friendly; well,  not in my house at least, where the main protein for that group of people would be Hot Dogs.

I've found a bunch of Quinoa Salads that looked promising, but nothing that totally jumped out as something that my kids might eat.  After some trial and error, this is the one I came up with - and you know what?  They LOVE it.  We are going to have it tonight with a side of grilled rosemary chicken.




Summer Quinoa Salad

2 cups quinoa - uncooked, but rinsed.
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or some other acid.  Lemon juice would be a nice fresh touch too.)
3 green onions, chopped
2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup purple onion, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced and cut into quarters
1 cup feta cheese  (This can be omitted if your family doesn't like Feta.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

At least 2 hours prior to eating:

In 4 quart sauce pan, combine the chicken broth, water, and garlic and bring to a boil.  Add the quinoa (red, white, or brown will do), and bring back to boiling.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is translucent (about 15 minutes.) Remove from heat, and add the cider vinegar.  Fluff with a fork, and then add the green onions.  Chill.

Combine the tomatoes, purple onion, and cucumber in a separate bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste, and toss lightly.  Add the feta cheese, and gently toss once more.  Cover and chill.



To serve:

Combine chilled quinoa mixture and vegetable mixture.  Serve.

You can also put a cup of quinoa on a plate and top with the vegetable mixture.




Also very yummy when topped with grilled salmon pieces, albacore tuna, or chicken.

I hope you enjoy!





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