‘Tis the season for lighter, healthier cooking and what better healthy summer fare than a delicious salad. At your typical backyard barbeque you’ll find lots of salad options other than the leafy green variety, and despite the healthy connotation, they’re not all good for you or your waistline. Potato salad, egg salad, and pasta salad are often full of fattening mayonnaise and dressings that may make you think twice about putting on that skimpy swimsuit. I’ve created a delicious and healthy alternative to your typical summer salads. Here, I will share with you my Strawberry Citrus Summer Quinoa Salad recipe which is sweet and savory all at once. You’ll love this refreshing cold quinoa fruit salad.
Summer Quinoa Salad With Fruit:
Strawberry Citrus Quinoa Salad was inspired by an afternoon visit to a friend’s house. She had just picked strawberries from a local farm and on a whim, decided to serve them up as an appetizer with chopped scallions, basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I never would have combined those ingredients together, and I was shocked at how well the flavors complimented each other. I used this idea in my quest to find a great pasta salad alternative.
Quinoa is a great choice in place of pasta, because it’s so healthy. It is a complete protein, and you can incorporate just about any ingredient or flavor into it, making it an extremely versatile staple in your pantry. I also decided to add two of my favorite things: goat cheese and citrus. The result is a dish I’m really excited about. Whip up a dish of this Strawberry Citrus Summer Quinoa Salad and bring it to your next cook-out. Your family and friends will be begging you for the recipe!
Summer Quinoa Salad Ingredients:
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
- ½ cup scallions, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Juice of half a lemon
- Juice of half a lime
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper
How To Make Quinoa Salad
Cook quinoa according to the instructions on the package and allow to cool. Prepare the strawberries, scallions, basil, goat cheese and sesame seeds and toss into quinoa when cooled. Combine lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a dish and drizzle over salad, gently tossing to combine. Or if you prefer, you could use this strawberry balsamic vinaigrette recipe.
Printable Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe
More Spring and Summer Meal Ideas:
Here are some more delicious summer meal ideas and spring cooking tips you may want to try.
While the winter months are full of thick sauces and goopy casseroles, spring is known for lighter entrees that take advantage of fresh spring flavors. To help make the transition from thick and hearty to fresh and light, use the following spring cooking tips to take full advantage of all spring has to offer food-wise.
Use your grill
You don’t need to wait until the sweltering middle of summer to break out your grill; grilling is acceptable as long as there’s sunshine and warm weather! Take advantage of a pretty day and grill chicken, fish, veggies and even fruit for easy meals you weren’t able to have during the winter.
Between the holidays and cravings for foods that are cheesy and creamy, it can be hard to eat healthy during the winter. So when fresh foods start popping up in the spring, make sure you’re using them! Salads and fresh fruit make great entrees and side dishes during the warmer months as opposed to heavier, heartier options.
Update winter favorites
Just because it’s warmer out doesn’t mean you still can’t eat the foods you enjoyed in the winter, though—just lighten them up to match the season! Instead of heavy cream sauces on pasta, try dressing spaghetti with pesto or sautéed garlic and olive oil. Or, make a cool gazpacho instead of thick chowder if you’re craving soup.
So many foods come into season beginning in April, so make sure you get them at their freshest! Shopping for seasonal foods is a great way to introduce kids to produce they might not have ever tried, from asparagus and avocados to fennel and apricots. Other seasonal spring foods include new potatoes, peas, strawberries, arugula, artichokes, green onions and maple syrup.
Try new cooking techniques
Use seasonal shopping as an opportunity to learn new cooking techniques that involve spring ingredients! Learning things like what to look for in fresh strawberries (they should be firm, fully red and with a cap stem) and how to get brightly colored peas (add ½ tsp. white sugar to water when cooking frozen peas) can turn cooking into a fun and educational activity. Enjoy some new no bake recipes!
This cold quinoa salad is light and refreshing, and the perfect compliment to a summer meal. Do you think you will try this summer quinoa salad? Let us know what you think @familyfocusblog and show us pictures of your quinoa salads!