Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A "Boot-e-full" Quinoa Lunch Salad

This salad is the product of a special request from my one and only Momo,
a.k.a. the one who wears these:
I love my Momo, despite her rather peculiar sense of style.

Style aside, my mom is my idol. Her dedication to her work and health inspire me and those around her to live healthfully. A request for a lunch salad could not go unheard. Easily prepared ahead of time (in fact I recommend doing so in order to allow for maximum flavor enhancement), and extremely versatile (use whatever veggies, proteins, beans, or cheeses you may have on hand), you have almost no excuse (other than pure laziness) not to trust me on this one and give this salad a try. If you don't like it, don't write me off; I promise that I still have more grainy salad ideas up my sleeve to keep your lunches spiced up and healthful.
The Stuff:
  • medium saucepan
  • small sauté pan
  • a fork, whisk, or blender
The Edibles:
  • 1/2 c. quinoa
  • 1 & 1/2 T. olive oil, divided
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • non-stick olive oil spray
  • about 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 T. white wine vinegar
  • 1 T. dijon mustard
  • dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • 1/2 c. cherry/grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 oz. cannelloni beans (1/2 of one 8 oz. can)
  • 6 oz. cooked chicken breast, shredded (the equivalent of two breasts)*
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp. parsley (garnish)
*see step 4 for vegetarian substitution suggestions

The Making:
  1. Bring 1 and 1/4 cups water to a boil. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, a generous sprinkle of garlic and onion powders, and quinoa. Bring back to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, place a small saute pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add mushrooms and a light sprinkle of garlic powder. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the shrooms are dark. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, dill, and generous shakes of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
  4. Once quinoa is cooked, add to a large mixing bowl with prepared dressing and carrots through chicken. If you choose to make this vegetarian you can omit the chicken and replace with albacore tuna or firm tofu and have fabulous results. Stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with feta and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.


  1. those shoes are great! Where did she get them? Ok, and yes! The salad looks awesome as well!

  2. I can't completely duplicate your recipes to save my life (who has quinoa, but no cucumbers???), but this was really lovely! Sort of tabouli, but the quinoa was more delicate than bulgar and the dressing--ok, I used balsamic vinegar instead of white wine--was lighter and tastier than that in my tabouli recipe. Just for the record, I still love my tabouli!