Hi. I hate hot weather, which is not the best personality quirk in a location that climbs past 80 degrees every day from May through most of November. Did you know I live in a second-story apartment in a Victorian mansion built in 1884 without, you guessed it, air conditioning? ‘Tis the season to rub the cat with wet paper towels and transition to oven-free cooking.
This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite recipes to turn to when it’s 90 degrees at 7 p.m. As per my usual kitchen MO, this salad is gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free. I’m just over here spewing recipes to spread the gospel of how cooking without the top inflammation-causing ingredients is not a big deal, y’all.
Those who know me know that when it comes to salad, I’m a bit like the fearless feminist, full-time optimist, waffle-loving Lesley Knope from Parks and Recreation. “No, Anne, I don’t want to get a salad. I don’t hate myself.”
So I adapted this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad from a Detoxinista recipe to include a bit more fat and protein. These additions help transition the salad from “Cool, what’s the next course?” to “Wait. I’m fully satiated. Is this really happening?” (Answer: yes, it really is.)
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Makes 6 - 8 full meals
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & Pepper
1 1/4 cups quinoa
2 1/2 cups water
5 oz spinach
3 fully cooked chicken sausages, halved then sliced (I like the garlic and herb chicken sausages from Trader Joe’s)
Going full veg? Throw in a can of chickpeas
3 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
3 green onions, sliced (both green and white parts)
1 cucumber, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
SO MANY HERBS
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Combine the quinoa and water in a pot and turn the burner on high. When water reaches a boil, cover the pot, turn down the heat, and let the water simmer for 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when all the water is absorbed.
While the quinoa cooks, grab a GIANT bowl and whisk the ingredients for the dressing together. Chop the salad add-ins while you’re waiting for the quinoa to finish cooking.
Rachael Ray taught me two things. 1) EVOO is an acceptable alternative to saying extra virgin olive oil. 2) Make your dressing in the same bowl you plan to toss your salad.
Assemble! Throw the spinach on top of the dressing first; then pile on the quinoa. The heat from the quinoa will break down the spinach and cook it just enough for the spinach to better integrate into the salad. Load in the rest of the ingredients, toss it all together, give it a taste. Adjust seasoning or give it one more drizzle of olive oil if your taste buds so desire.