I have been trying to branch out a bit with trying some new salads with quinoa and this one turned out to be really great! I knew I wouldn't have time in the evening to do much preparation for dinner, so I made this in the morning while our oatmeal was cooking for breakfast. It only took about 5 minutes to cut up the vegetables, and the rest was pretty simple! Then I just tossed it in the fridge to marinate until dinner time.
This would be good as a light dinner, lunch or snack on its own, or is also a great side dish with burgers, grilled chicken or fish.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
2 cups organic quinoa, uncooked
4 cups water
Large bunch of asparagus
1 organic orange pepper
2 organic zucchini squash
2 cups grape tomatoes
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt, divided
Black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Chop asparagus, pepper and zucchini into 1-inch pieces and combine in large mixing bowl with grape tomatoes
3. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and half of salt and pepper to bowl and mix until vegetables are evenly coated
4. Place in oven to roast for 20-25 minutes, until softened
5. While vegetables are roasting, bring water to a boil, add quinoa, and simmer for 14 minutes. Strain quinoa to remove excess water
6. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining olive oil, salt and pepper as well as balsamic vinegar
7. Add vegetables and quinoa to dressing and mix until evenly combined
8. Serve at desired temperature (hot or cold - I think the flavor is best at room temperature) and enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from shrinkingkitchen.com)
What are the nutritional benefits of this salad? Quinoa is a whole grain and is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Quinoa is also a great source if fiber, iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin and manganese. Asparagus is high in vitamin K and is also a great source of vitamin A, folate and iron. Bell peppers are one of the best food sources of vitamins A and C. Zucchini is a good source of fiber and vitamins A, C and folate. Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene and vitamin C. Balsamic vinegar is rich in polyphenols - a type of antioxidant. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), raise good cholesterol (HDL), and aid in blood sugar control.