Confetti Quinoa Salad
When we’re stuck dead center in a Winnipeg winter—what do we do? How about make colorful summery salads? This quinoa salad won my heart over. I’m a pesto fanatic so I was happy when the Fresh Juice magazine featured a quinoa recipe that was all dressed in a basil dressing and could be assembled with minimal cooking. I've adapted the recipe a bit from the original (which, I couldn't seem to find online)!
Why do I often recommend giving quinoa a try? Well, it’s a whole grain that boasts itself as a great source of protein, making it perfect to include in a plant-based diet. For those with a gluten sensitivity, this grain is a dream come true as it’s naturally gluten-free. Quinoa can be purchased in different forms— whole grain or as ground flour. You’ll even find it offered in an array of colors: white, black, red—but really, they’re all the same. We typically consume quinoa 2-3x a week in our households as a hearty salad like this one, as a side dish or in the form of patties. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
Confetti Quinoa Salad
PREP TIME: 10 mins
COOK TIME: 20 mins
TOTAL TIME: 30 mins
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced (optional, great especially if you want to increase your veggie intake)
1 cup diced English cucumber
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 can (19 oz) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Toasted pine nuts for garnish (optional)
2 tbsp prepared pesto (I love the Classico Pesto)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
In saucepan, add quinoa and water (if quinoa isn't the pre-rinsed type, first rinse and drain well). Bring to a boil, reduce heat then cover and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Transfer to large bowl. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together pesto, vinegar, oil and pepper.
In a large bowl, add quinoa, yellow pepper, cucumber, onion, and chickpeas. Add dressing and toss gently to coat. Fold in feta and tomatoes. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if desired.
Feel free to add in other veggies you may enjoy, or sun dried tomatoes for additional flavor.
This recipe makes a large batch so you may want to cut the ingredients in half if you’re just feeding yourself or a small group.
This salad keeps well for a few days in the fridge so it’s great as leftovers!