Aside from all the craziness happening in the world, we’ve had a few things to celebrate over here! Birthdays, father’s day and graduations all within a few days apart. With my youngest graduating from middle school and my oldest turning 18 yesterday, it’s been a real wake up call. Life goes on. And it moves quickly to say the least.
My first born is officially an adult. Jeez… I feel old! But I’m ok with it. You know why? Because looking at that 18 year old makes me realize I’ve done a pretty damn good job. I think it’s my greatest accomplishment so far. And if there’s one thing I’m absolutely sure of, it’s that the hard work, blood, sweat and tears of parenting, definitely pays off.
So, about this salad.
I often start the day with a decent breakfast and end it with a well balanced dinner, but sometimes lunch time can get a little tricky. It’s tempting to go for the same old boring food like a basic sandwich. But it’s summer and there’s just so much amazing produce. That’s how this salad was born.
June strawberries are so sweet and juicy. They’re at their best right now. I’m adding them to everything, so I thought why not add them into some kind of healthy grain salad. I combined some multicolor quinoa with chickpeas, sunflower seeds, tomatoes and cucumbers for a protein packed meal with tons of vitamins and minerals. Tasty and definitely not boring.
For the salad dressing:
I dressed the salad with a store bought balsamic reduction/glaze (which is basically balsamic vinegar reduced down so it’s sweeter and thicker) and a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
But you could use anything to dress this salad. Suggestions would be:
a regular balsamic vinegar dressing,
or a simple lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper combo.
I think it’s just light and perfect enough for a hot day by the pool or to take with you to the beach. Top it with some crumbled feta or goat cheese if you like, or keep it vegan if you’re strictly plant-based.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup red or multicolor quinoa (rinsed)
- about 8 strawberries (quartered)
- 1 small cucumber (quartered and sliced)
- 1 cup chickpeas
- handful grape tomatoes (halved)
- ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
- fresh parsley
- balsamic dressing* see above
- coarse salt
- In a medium saucepan add quinoa and water and bring to a gentle boil.
- Simmer for about 10-15 min until water has evaporated and quinoa is cooked (seeds will begin to open and the quinoa will be softened).
- Set quinoa aside to coo to room temp in a medium sized bowl.
- Add strawberries, cucumbers, chickpeas, tomatoes and sunflower seeds.
- Toss with dressing as suggested above.
- Garnish with fresh parsley.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.