Independence Day in America means cookouts, which means lots of meat. Right now it also means humidity and highs nearing 100 in this small area of the world. And honestly, I can’t do it. My stomach cannot look at meat in 100-degree weather and think, “Yum.” No, my stomach wants something light and crisp. Which is why I chose a quinoa salad (adapted from a wild rice salad recipe from Breathe) to bring to a family cookout this year.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is one of those touted super grains, supposedly having the highest protein content of any grain (P.S. It’s gluten-free). It’s also super versatile. And I say that like I know all about its versatility when really this is the first time I’ve cooked it. And I’m kicking myself that I haven’t been utilizing this grain more in our meals. Really, it’s super simple, flavorful, and can easily be cooked in larger batches so you have plenty leftover to use throughout the coming days. It has the kind of nutty flavor that would marry well with either a savory or sweet dish. I opted for savory.
I went with a quick soak to remove the bitter saponins that coat the grain. (Some information here if you’re a big food nerd like me.) It’s only five minutes of your time, so I’d just go for the soak. To cook the quinoa, just follow the instructions provided here (which also breaks down the benefits of soaking or not soaking the grain).
2 c. quinoa, cooked
1 c. red cabbage, shredded
1 c. carrot, shredded
1/4 c. red onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 c. assortment of veggies (I used red bell pepper and cucumber, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. You could use tomato or another soft-textured vegetable, but I think veggies with some crunch really shine here and perfectly complement the fluffiness of the quinoa when it’s cooked.)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Stir the quinoa and veggies together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and lemon. Pour over the quinoa mixture, stir, and season with salt and pepper.