Vegetable Quinoa Salad

This salad is quick, quite inexpensive, healthy and most importantly, delicious! Quinoa is a grain-like seed that cooks up in 10 minutes and is healthy and chock full of protein, vitamins and minerals. I’ve been eating it for a while but more as a plain base for meat or sauces and not really mixed into a whole dish on its own until this past week. I went to Padova to hang out with some girl friends and they had the genius idea to make a quinoa pasta dish of sorts, basically substituting it in a dish where you could usually put pasta. Simple, yet brilliant in my opinion. I highly recommend this and you can substitute the zucchini and bell peppers for any veggies. I think today for lunch I will put brussels sprouts and fava beans to mix it up.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

serves 3-4 (serves 3 generously)

1 cup dry white quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, thin strips
1 small zucchini, thin half moons
1 cup of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmiggiano (or any hard cheese such as pecorino or grana padano)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Put the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pot, cover and bring it to boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat, leave it covered and set a timer (or just watch a clock) for 10 minutes. The water should be mostly evaporated after 10 minutes and you will see little holes in the surface. Turn the heat off and leave it covered for 5-10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, saute the onion in the olive oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick).

3. When the onions become translucent add the bell peppers and a good pinch of salt.

4. When the red peppers start to soften up, add the zucchini with another pinch of salt and some black pepper. Saute the veggies until the zucchini start to caramelize just a bit.

5. Add the chickpeas and stir to heat through.

6. Add the cooked quinoa and toss to combine. Add salt to taste at this point.

7. Serve and top with grated parmiggiano.

Buon appetito!

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