Salads & Sides

The Best Quinoa Salad, EVER

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Ok, I know what you’re thinking….”Really, Gina, the best?  I mean, come on, how could it be the best?!”.  Let me preface this post by telling you that ever since I was a young girl I have been obsessed  with olives (black, green, I don’t care) and anything pickled (I can only imagine what I will crave when I’m pregnant. I have this feeling I will be making Nick go for grocery runs to get me some pickled beets. Seriously, I just know it).  Last year around this time our neighbor Katie came over with an amazing quinoa salad.  I took one bite and instantly fell in love.  I realized it was the combination of cucumber and dill that really grabbed hold of my taste buds, and sent me to heaven on Earth (haha, like that?!). When I asked her for the recipe she basically just gave me the list of ingredients and told me she just adds everything together, without measuring. Well, as strange as that sounds, when I tried it for the first time last year, it worked! And of course, when I tried it again this year, it worked again (who doesn’t love a recipe that involves zero measurings?!).  Of course, I know there are a handful of people who get some anxiety when a recipe doesn’t tell you exactly how much of each ingredient to use, therefore I’ll provide some measurements for you (and I will use these to come up for an estimate for the nutrition facts).

The Best Quinoa Salad, Ever

Serves ~5

Ingredients

Quinoa (~ 2 cups cooked)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (~ 2 Tbsp)

Carrot (~1 large)

Cherry tomatoes, halved (~5-6)

Reduced-Fat Feta cheese (~1/2 cup)

Cucumber, chopped (~1-cup)

Dill (~3 loose Tbsp)

** When you make this recipe yourself be sure to add more or less of certain ingredients, based on your own preferences. **

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, allow to sit for about an hour so the flavors all blend together, then devour and thank me   Actually no, thank my neighbor who introduced this salad to me a couple of years ago.  I’ll never forget it.  It was a moment of pure bliss.  There is something about the dill and the cucumber (pickle, hello!) plus the feta and olive oil that really got me hooked.

NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, you’ll be pleased to know this is low FODMAPs.  Enjoy!

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/5th of recipe
Source: CalorieCount.com

Nutrition Highlights:  Good source of protein, iron, and fiber, and an excellent source of vitamin A

Other Nutrition Highlights

– Quinoa is a gluten-free whole grain

– The olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which may help reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol

– The tomatoes contain lycopene, which promotes skin, heart and prostate health

– The carrots and tomato contain beta carotene, which promotes skin and heart health and may play a role in cancer prevention

– The fats from the olive oil help you absorb both the lycopene and beta carotene. Do you ever eat tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. by themselves? You should always include a few healthy fats to help promote the bioavailability (absorption) of their disease-fighting nutrients! Another way to promote bioavailability is to cook these foods.

I really love how salads, of all types, are basically a blank canvas.  You can do just about anything to a salad to make it fit your own taste preferences.  I’ve got a couple more whole-grain salads coming your way soon, so get excited.

Question:  Which ingredient would you add more or less of, to make this recipe fit your unique taste preferences?

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

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