For those of you who have checked out my blog on blogspace before, this recipe is a repeat but frankly, I think it is worth repeating so stay with me here! This past weekend I had a table set up at an Open House at Go Figure Gym and I brought along a few examples of really tasty, healthy, real food salads that are easy to make. If there is one thing that I most stress with coaching clients that are trying to lose weight or just eat healthier in general, it is to KEEP IT REAL. Getting away from processed foods can and will make a huge difference in meeting both weight loss and general health and wellness goals. I plan to share all three recipe's in the coming week, starting with this one because there may be a few people out there about to be hooked on it. I created this recipe for Dilly Quinoa Salad over two years ago and it remains a house favorite to this day. This makes a perfect summer side dish or a light lunch all on it's own.
Start with 1 cup of quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah). For those of you new to the quinoa scene, it is a pretty amazing food. It does come from a grain crop but these are actually the seeds of the grain. Quinoa has been deemed a superfood, it has a high protein content as well as an impressive array of vitamins and dietary minerals, is gluten-free and easy to digest. It's a nutritional gold mine for Pete's sake. Quinoa is cooked just like rice. Bring this one cup of quinoa and two cups of water to a boil, cover, lower the temp to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a for and set it aside to cool.
While that's cooking, chop up some cucumbers.
Chop a medium tomato or a handful of grape tomatoes halved or quartered.
Don't forget the scallions.
The dressing is pretty basic, you whisk a 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice (or the juice of one lemon) and 1 1/2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar. Then add in about 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill and a little salt and pepper. Done.
Put the quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers and scallions in a bowl and toss. Add the dressing and give it another quick toss. Add about 1/4 cup of crumbled feta and gently toss one last time.
Now grab a fork because you're going to love this! This is my go to recipe for Food Day at work (on the rare occasion that I decide to participate). Food Day is basically a barrage of junk food ranging from a variety of flavored chips to donuts and processed dessert concoctions. I bring something I'd like to eat and as it turns out other people like to eat it too! It's always a hit. If you struggle with the temptations of a food day at work, I highly recommend bringing something healthy so you have at least something that's good for you and then you can have a little taste of those junk food items that you like without going overboard.
Dilly Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
1/4 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice (or juice of 1 whole lemon)
1 1/2 Teaspoon red wine vinager
1/2 Teaspoon salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 Cup diced cucumber
1 Medium tomato diced
1/2 Cup sliced scallions
1/4 Cup crumbled feta
Boil 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Add quinoa and reduce to a simmer, cook covered for 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and dill. Whisk until well combined.
When quinoa is cool add CUCUMBER, TOMATO, SCALLION AND DRESSING. TOSS LIGHTLY TO COMBINE. ADD THE FETA AND TOSS AGAIN. REFRIGERATE UNTIL READY TO SERVE, CAN BE MADE A DAY AHEAD. SERVE CHILLED OR AT ROOM TEMP.
I hope you enjoy it and add it to your summer salad repertoire. Let me know how it goes!