I first heard about quinoa as a superfood back in college when the graduate student teaching my 100 level biology class was conducting breeding experiments on the grain as part of her doctoral thesis. I quickly dismissed the food as some strange hippy thing and didn’t really give it a second thought. Fast forward 15 years and the grain is becoming a mainstream staple. It’s a fast cooking and gluten-free whole grain food that can be served hot like rice, cold in salads, or even pureed with veggies and fruit for baby food.
A few months ago after giving birth to my little Ladybug, one of my neighbors graciously offered to bring dinner for us. I was suffering from a slew of dietary restrictions due to some protein sensitivities the baby was experiencing, but my friend came through for me with this delicious salad that was free of gluten, egg, dairy, soy, nuts and pretty much everything else I was avoiding at the time. I’ve made various versions of this several times since then and most recently added some feta cheese since I’m no longer dairy-free and it continues to be a lunch time staple for me. What I love about this recipe is that it’s easy to prepare using whatever I have on hand and it keeps for several days in the refrigerator which is perfect for a quick lunch that I can just grab and eat. It’s blueberry season now so that was the inspiration for this version.
Use your favorite vinaigrette to dress this salad, or try my recipe for Honey Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- 3 Cups chopped romaine lettuce
- ¼ Cup sunflower seeds
- 1 Cup rinsed and cooked quinoa (follow package instructions)
- ¾ Cup canned black beans, rinsed
- ¼ Cup dried cranberries
- 1 Cup fresh blueberries
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 2 Tablespoons feta cheese crumbles (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate, or eat immediately with your favorite dressing (try my favorite balsamic vinaigrette).
For some more interesting facts about Quinoa check out Seven Reasons Quinoa is the New Health Food Superstar in the Huffington Post.
This post is linked at: Homestead Barn Hop, Fat Tuesday, Creative Ways, Real Food Wednesday, DIY Linky, Thank Your Body Thursday and Thrifty Thursday.