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.
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!
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Once the red peppers are roasted and cooled, chop up halves into small pieces
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, cut roasted red peppers, crumbled feta and chopped spinach
- In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, lemon, salt and pepper and stir
- Mix in the dressing with the quinoa mixture until well combined. Serve immediately or place in fridge to cool (which I prefer) and enjoy!