Red quinoa salad

I read a lot of food blogs. It’s one of my greatest sources of inspiration, and it means I hardly ever have to crack open a cookbook anymore. If you want a recipe, it’s usually out there somewhere, beautifully photographed and spelled out step-by-step.

But there’s one thing I’ve noticed about all the food blogs I read. You almost can’t buy a healthy recipe. There’s so much butter and heavy cream in these recipes you’d think Paula Deen was masquerading as 20 different food bloggers. It has not been good for my butt these last few months.

So I decided that I would make a better effort to seek out healthier recipes, and try to post more of them here. There’s no reason I can’t challenge myself to cook a little lighter, and make those Pioneer Woman recipes a once-in-a-while treat.

So here’s one of my first efforts. It’s similar to a tabbouleh salad, but I used red quinoa instead of bulgur (which is packed full of protein). I found it at our farmers market, so I’m not sure how difficult it will be for you to find. You can always substitute regular quinoa.

This recipe makes a very potent salad, so dial down the garlic if you like it more mellow.

Red Quinoa Salad

1 cup (uncooked) red quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for cooking veggies
Juice of a large lemon
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cucumber, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Start by rinsing the quinoa. Then boil it, covered, with two cups of water for about 12 minutes, or until the water is evaporated and the little spirals start separating from the grain.

This is optional, but I like to saute the red pepper and green onions in a little olive oil before I toss them in, just to soften them a little.

After those have finished cooking and cooled a little, toss them in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients.

I just grabbed some fresh herbs from the garden – a little basil and thyme. But you can use what you have on hand. Basil and mint is a great combination. Oregano would be good, too.

This tastes even better after it has soaked overnight. Serve it with the hummus I posted yesterday.