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I just realized that it’s already August 26. Wait, what? It’s Labor Day next weekend! I’m not sure where summer went, but we still have one more weekend of BBQ’s and outdoor parties before (as like to call it), go “back to school” and get back into our normal routines that include working again without all the summertime temptations! Sheez… I kinda really like summer. 🙂
Anyhoo, it seems that I always get asked for a side dish idea or another salad recipe. Well, this week, I am killing 2 birds with one stone! A Healthy Southwestern Quinoa Salad can either be served as a side dish or as a light and healthy vegetarian (or vegan, if you skip the cheese) meal. It’s packed with tons of crisp summer veggies and a bright and super flavorful Cilantro Vinaigrette. I don’t know about you but I’ll be firing up my Traeger this weekend and grilling up a few racks of either my Sticky Chinese BBQ Ribs or my Bourbon Whiskey Ribs and serving this beautiful salad alongside! I’m salivating already! Give this recipe a whirl. Your family and friends will love it and there is zero guilt when you devour it! Go ahead and eat the whole bowl… (wink, wink).
Enjoy and have a safe of fun Labor Day weekend!
I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the “foodie field trip” that we went on this week! One of my favorite friends, LeaAnn who writes Cooking On The Ranch, and I took our annual trip to Lulu’s Farm in Brighton to pick up our enormous stash of fresh produce. This year, we went a little overboard, but it’s all good. Check out all of my pictures and what I did with it all. It’s pretty impressive if I do say so myself! If you are in the Denver area, trust me, go out to Lulu’s. It’s what a true produce stand should be. The selection is fantastic and the prices are unbeatable! It’s well worth the drive for sure.
Healthy Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Healthy Southwestern Quinoa Salad is a fantastic side salad to make this Labor Day weekend. It's packed with tons of veggies, black beans, and queso fresco. It's super tasty and will go well with any grillable food and you won't feel guilty eating it!
For the Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa I Used Bob's Red Mill Tri-Color quinoa
- 2 cups water make sure to season the water with a pinch of salt
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup seeded and diced cucumber
- 1 cup fresh cooked corn from the cob or thawed frozen corn
- 1/4- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled optional
For the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves it's ok if there are stems mixed in
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons honey adjust according to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon both salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 3/4 cup olive oil
To Make the Quinoa Salad
Follow the instructions for making the quinoa from your favorite quinoa brand. I boiled 2 cups of salted water and added the quinoa. It took 12 minutes. It yields approximately 2 1/2 cups of quinoa. After cooking, set aside covered until completely cooled.
Once the quinoa is completely cooled, place it in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, corn, parsley, black beans, and cheese (if using). Toss to combine well. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To Make the Cilantro Vinaigrette
In a blender or food processor, add the cilantro, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, honey, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until it starts to smooth out. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it begins to thicken. This is a little looser dressing so it won't get too thick.
Transfer to an airtight jar (Mason jar) until ready to serve the salad.
To Assemble the Salad
Transfer the quinoa salad to a serving bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top. Start out slow, you won't need all the dressing. Just put on enough to gently coat the salad.
Reserve the additional dressing to use on another salad later in the week or try marinating some chicken in it!