Pasta salad is my go to side dish for any outdoor celebration. With the 4th of July right around the corner, I thought I'd show you my new found "pasta" salad recipe. While pasta isn't necessarily bad for you it doesn't pack the same nutrient dense punch as quinoa. Quinoa is a source of complete protein! I've started to replace pasta with quinoa whenever possible.
Quinoa Salad Recipe: I use the term recipe loosely here because I make it a little bit differently every time!
Make the quinoa first so it has time to cool. Start with a cup of uncooked quinoa. Every package I pick up seems to have slightly different directions in preparation so, just follow whatever directions given. You should end up with close to 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
While the quinoa is cooling you can prepare the vegetables. Just choose a bunch of your favorites. I usually do bell peppers (red, green,and yellow), cucumber, celery, and tomato. Other good possibilities are onion, zucchini, carrots...
Chop up all the veggies and combine in a large container. With cucumber I find its better if you remove the seeds. I usually keep a little bit of larger pieces in a separate container so I also have some healthy snacks that are easy to grab in the refrigerator.
Finally, combine the chopped veggies and cooled quinoa and season to taste. I added balsamic vinegar this time but you can really choose any. Rice vinegar tastes great in pasta salads. You don't need to add any oil ; quiona already has a bunch of healthy fats. The dry seasoning I usually add is: garlic salt, celery salt, onion powder. Oregano and basil work well too. Finally, if you like a little spice, you can top it off with a few dashes of hot sauce (just a little goes a long way). Put on the cover and shake, shake, shake. This is my sons favorite part; although it sounds more like "s*@t, s*@t, s*@t" when he says it. Let it sit together in the refrigerator for at least a few hours for the flavors to come together. Yum!
I usually get a couple of lunches out of this or use it for a side for dinner one night then lunch the next day. If you prefer your pasta salad to look more like pasta, they also sell pasta made from quinoa.
Happy 4th of July!
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