This recipe is a clean out the fridge one…you know, the type where you went crazy at the farmers market, spent $60 on gorgeous tomatoes, scallions, peppers, zucchini, and then ate out for the next 2 days. This is where you get to throw all of those veggies together into a dish that is so delicious that no one will ever guess that it is a last-ditch attempt to save the contents of the fridge. Instead of using pasta, quinoa is a high fiber, protein filled grain that is not only healthier but..dare I say it…delicious? The beauty of this is that it can be made ahead of time, served cold, and has a million variations. This is a jumping off point – think of this as a guideline, not a hard-and-fast recipe.
Clean Out The Fridge Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1.5 cups your favorite vinaigrette
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 peppers, diced
1. Combine the quinoa and broth in a large pot, and set over high heat. When it boils, turn the heat down to medium high, let it boil for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is al dente, then turn off the heat. THEN, cover for at least 10 minutes or until the little white tails appear. That is a very important part of the cooking process…that means that the quinoa is really tender. I have never actually overcooked quinoa, but undercooked quinoa is akin to eating gravel. Take that as a warning.
3. When the quinoa has cooled to just above room temperature, add it to the bowl with the vegetables. Combine until well incorporated. You don’t want the quinoa to be totally cool because some heat helps it absorb the dressing.
So fresh and bright. After it has sat for a few hours, the flavors all marry and meld into one symphony of taste. The juicy tomatoes, sweet peppers, sharp scallions, and bright vinaigrette all combine with the wheaty taste of the quinoa. If the dressing is seasoned properly, it won’t even need any additional seasonings or spices! It is filling but not at all hearty or heavy – light enough to bring to a picnic but elegant enough to serve as a first course at a dinner party.
And no one has to know you were cleaning out the fridge. Unless, of course, they read this blog.