The movement for gluten free side dishes is sweeping the nation, and with it has come an amazing grain that has become quite popular, and we have jumped on the wagon, not because we need a gluten free option, but because we love quinoa and the extra protein and nutrition it offers! I have to admit I was a little hesitant at first considering the huge aversion everyone had to couscous. But you don’t know if you don’t try…ahhhh success! Funny enough I think the texture is similar but who am I but the mom chef?
I call this ‘everyday’ quinoa salad for this simple reason…it’s easy enough to make everyday…and it’s good enough to eat everyday…and it’s flavors are simple and clean so you can add it to other things, say like your green salad or your wrap or whatever else you’re eating that just needs a little something else added on top. I used red quinoa today, but you can use any you like for this recipe, just prepare it to package directions until you get about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. Another reason for the ‘everyday’ title is I use everyday items that I have in the crisper or freezer – fresh is best but sometimes I use a frozen veggie for the convenience, or blanch something like asparagus or broccoli so it isn’t completely raw, in this instance frozen chopped spinach, edamame beans and corn – so more frozen then fresh for this one but you wouldn’t have known it eating it – you can use whatever mixture of veggies just have about 2 cups.
I cooked the beans and corn then tossed them into the colander with the frozen spinach and just ran it under cool water to defrost the spinach, added the other veggies and set it aside as I waited on the quinoa to cool. Then I started on the vinaigrette. I make it right in the bottom of the bowl I am going to mix and serve it in – since it’s the ‘everyday’ version and it was going straight to the table. Squeeze the lemon, add the mustard and whisk…slowly add the olive oil while whisking (helps it to blend and keep from separating longer), then I toss in the chopped basil, salt and pepper. Dump the quinoa and veggies into the bowl and stir it all together.