Plainly put – life is busy. There are many days I’m just worn down and don’t feel like cooking. Those days I’m thankful to keep a pot of cooked quinoa in the fridge, nuts in the cupboard and vinaigrette ingredients for easy fixing. Quinoa is a great substitution for rice or any grain really. Toss in a few extra vegetables, a little dressing, serve it on warm on a bed of fresh lettuce, and you have a fancy salad.

I’ve boasted about the benefits of protein-packed quinoa numerous times on this blog before so I’ll spare you all that dribble again. Quinoa makes for a nutritious meals and is versatile for every day.

It comes in a variety of colors too: red, black, orange, purple or ivory. There is no nutritional difference in the various colors though some say the red quinoa has a chewier texture.

In this salad I used black, red and ivory quinoa just because whole foods had them mixed in a dry goods bin at a great price. Using a mixture of colors just gives a little definition to the salad.

This is one of those creations you can add anything to and it will taste great. Serve as a main entree salad or as a side salad to burgers, chicken or fish. Having a pot of cooked quinoa in your fridge can be a fat and happy relief on those nights you arrive home late and don’t have the energy to do more than toss a few ingredients together. It’s good to enjoy the simple side of life from time to time.

Quinoa Salad with Orange Mustard Dressing

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli with stems
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Handful of walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoon dried cherries
  • 1/8 cup goat cheese
  • 1 cup field greens

Orange Dressing

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon champagne citrus vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam or marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Make the dressing in the meantime by whisking all the ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold the final salad.

Cut the vegetables, the broccoli, onion, avocado and tomato and toss with the dressing. Once the quinoa is done, cool slightly then toss with the dressing.Toss in the walnuts, sesame seeds, dried cherries and goat cheese.

If you pre-cooked the quinoa, simply toss with the ingredients or warm slighty before tossing.

Serve on a plate of field greens. Can be served warm, room temperature or as a chilled salad.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: Cook a pot of quinoa on Sunday and use as the base to various salads throughout the week.

For more recipes, go to Monique’s blog:

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