Simple Summer Quinoa Salad

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Summer time is here! Lazy days at the park, pool or in your backyard call for some simple meal-planning for the family. As a teacher, I am off during the summer so my meals tend to reflect a laid-back, basic yet healthy vibe.

My Simple Summer Quinoa Salad recipe is perfect for picnics at the park or a great dish to bring to summer BBQs. I love the sweetness that the roasted red peppers bring to this salad and the salty feta cheese is the perfect balance.

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I serve this salad cold and my daughters adore it and by adding spinach, they get some extra nutrients.  Sometimes I even serve it sans dressing – a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon would suffice.

The thing I love most about throwing this easy salad together is that there are so many shortcuts available. No time to roast the red peppers? No problem! Unico has a great prepared product that I use often that you can grab at your local grocery store. And instead of sautéing the spinach, you can opt for frozen, pre-chopped. Simply defrost and add it to the salad!

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Simple Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe

Prep time:  20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes for quinoa, 25 minutes for roasted red peppers (if desired)

Total time: About 30 minutes

Servings: 6-8

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INGREDIENTS:

QUINOA SALAD

  • 5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach or 1 block frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1.5 cups crumbled, low fat feta cheese

DRESSING:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • A squeeze from a fresh lemon wedge

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook quinoa as per directions. For added flavor, use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water during cooking. Let cooked quinoa cool before adding other ingredients and fluff with a fork
  2. While quinoa is cooking, wash and cut peppers into halves. Place the peppers cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the peppers in the pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred/blackened, rotating the sheet if needed more a more even roast
  3. Sauté the spinach in a non-stick pan with some olive oil or simply defrost the frozen, chopped spinach. Drain any excess moisture from the spinach and chop it finely
  4. Once the red peppers are roasted and cooled, chop up halves into small pieces
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, cut roasted red peppers, crumbled feta and chopped spinach
  6. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, lemon, salt and pepper and stir
  7. Mix in the dressing with the quinoa mixture until well combined. Serve immediately or place in fridge to cool (which I prefer) and enjoy!

 

 

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Author: Jill Campbell

A mother and lover of all things practical, Jill is a 30-something, former educator, world traveler and self-proclaimed pragmatist trying to navigate this journey called life. She currently works as a freelance writer, part-time teacher/tutor and full-time mom to two fabulous daughters. Her blog www.pragmamamma.net features simple and family-friendly recipes, original photography and hot parenting topics. Jill loves getting creative in the kitchen, reading, spending time with her family and snapping photos around her neighbourhood in Burlington, Ontario.

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