Quinoa Salad with Corn, Avocado, Green Beans and Lime Dressing

I love summer! Summer means no classes, just work, lots of free time, and summer produce! Fresh corn is so sweet and cheap during the summer (or if you grow it in your own backyard, it’s free!), and green beans are in season (also free if you can grow them). That’s one thing that I miss about being home for the summer: our backyard produce. Our peach tree just started producing deliciously sweet peaches, and we have humongous zucchini, but unfortunately, since I’m in LA all summer, I don’t get to benefit from our wonderful garden. However, I can still cook with summer ingredients! I put together this quinoa salad as a nice, filling, hot weather meal that I could bring to work for lunch. It can be served chilled or room temperature, so I’m not eating hot food in the middle of the day.

The bite of the green onions pairs well with the sweet corn and green beans, and the creamy avocado adds a nice texture to the mix with the crisp, juicy corn kernels and fluffy quinoa. I had a lime to use, and I’m getting a little bored with my traditional balsamic vinaigrette and my honey mustard vinaigrette, so I decided to spice things up a bit with this sweet citrus. I also had some vegetable broth to use up, so I used that to cook the quinoa instead of water, yielding a softer, more savory quinoa. Overall, this is one of my favorite quinoa salads I’ve made so far, right up there with my all time favorite quinoa salad with swiss chard and roasted sweet potatoes. This makes a great summer meal, and is both delicious and healthy! Here’s the recipe!

Quinoa Salad with Corn, Avocado, and Green Beans with Lime Dressing

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

1.5 cups quinoa, uncooked

3 cups water or vegetable broth

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp olive oil

12oz green beans, trimmed and snapped in half

2 ears fresh corn

2 avocados, cubed

3 green onions, sliced

Dressing

Juice of 1 lime (about 1 oz)

Dash of Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Place the quinoa and water or vegetable broth (I had some to use up, so I used it, but water is just fine, it’ll just be a little less flavorful) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, then fluff and set aside to cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, sauté the green beans with the garlic and olive oil over medium heat. Add a dash of water, cover, and allow to steam-cook until tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Break the ears of corn in half and place in a microwave-safe dish. Add about an inch of water to the dish, cover, and microwave for about 5 minutes, until the kernels are cooked. Allow to cool, then slice the kernels off the cob.

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk together or shake in a container.

To assemble the salad, toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to distribute. Serve room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!

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Sorry for the yellow light, the sun went down as I let my vegetables and quinoa cool.

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Curried Chickpea Salad

Here’s the second post I wrote at nationals, along with a great curry salad recipe!

Nationals Day 2 Recap: I just got back from College Ultimate D1 Nationals this past weekend, and it was like coming back from a mini vacation. It was a blast, five straight days playing and watching ultimate with the best team I could ask for. We came into the tournament seeded sixteenth and left tied for ninth, so we are stoked about that. I’m sad that the season is over, but I’m so glad that we got the opportunity to play at nationals together, and extend our season past regionals for a few weeks. I love this team so much, and I’m already looking forward to the 2015 season!

Anyway, onto the food. Last week we had a little heat wave in LA, so I was looking for cool foods to eat in the hot weather. There was a curry chicken salad they serve in the dining halls that I really enjoyed before I stopped eating chicken, so I looked around for something like it, but vegetarian. I decided to try this curried chickpea salad, and I’m so glad I did! Something interesting that I never would have thought of is using hummus to get the creamy texture of the curry salad. It worked wonderfully, just by adding curry powder to plain hummus, then adding some water to thin it out a bit. It was delicious, and I think I might just make curry hummus in the future to dip vegetables in. I love curry flavor, and the raisins add a little pop of sweetness to this salad, which is great. I also love the crisp crunch of all the fresh vegetables in this salad. This takes about 10 minutes to whip together, and doesn’t require turning on the stove or oven at all! This is a great summer recipe, which I will be making again this summer, maybe with some vegetable variations. Here’s the recipe!

Curried Chickpea Salad

Adapted from The Simple Veganista

Ingredients

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained

1-1 1/2 cups carrots or baby carrots, sliced

4 green onions, sliced

2 bell peppers, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

6 oz hummus

3-4 tbsp water

juice of one lemon, about 2-3 tbsp

1 tbsp curry powder

Mixed greens

Directions

Thin the hummus by adding 3-4 tablespoons of water. Stir in the curry powder until completely combined. Toss together the garbanzo beans, carrots, green onions, bell peppers, and raisins. Add the curry sauce and toss to coat. Serve chilled over greens. Enjoy!

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This makes a great summer meal for those hot days when you don’t want to turn on the stove or oven

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Look at all those delicious fresh veggies!

Quinoa Salad with Beans, Cauliflower, and Caramelized Onions with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Guess what? BLU is going to Nationals!!!!! This last weekend, our team competed in D1 Southwest Regionals, and we secured the third bid to Nationals, so we’re headed to Mason, Ohio! Our whole team is SUPER stoked to have three more weeks of practice together, and compete in Natties 2014!

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My rookie class after winning the game to go to nationals!

Other highlight photos can be seen here.

On the food front, I haven’t been particularly active in the kitchen, but the weather has been hot, hot, hot, so I’ve been making cooling foods. This quinoa salad can be eaten warm or cool, and it’s a healthy, filling meal that’s super quick to pull together, and quite tasty! I used leftover cauliflower and caramelized onions from my pasta with sweet potato cauliflower sauce, so I used that, then I threw in some frozen green beans (although you could use fresh) and some canned kidney beans, whisked together a honey mustard vinaigrette and I was done! The final product was a nice, colorful dish, which I enjoyed for many lunches throughout the week. Here’s the recipe!

Quinoa Salad with Beans, Cauliflower, and Caramelized Onions with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Makes 6 servings

Salad

Olive oil

1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 onion, sliced

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 15oz can kidney beans

1 lb frozen or fresh green beans, cut and trimmed

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Toss the cauliflower florets in olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the garlic and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are brown and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.

While the onions and cauliflower are cooking, make the quinoa according to package instructions. Once the quinoa is cooked, stir in the green beans and kidney beans, and stir to combine.

To make the vinaigrette, stir or shake together all the ingredients. You can add more or less of the ingredients to taste. Toss all salad ingredients together, then drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve warm or chilled. Enjoy!

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Asian Bulgur Wheat Confetti Salad

Happy Friday! TGIF. I’m ready for the weekend, and by weekend, I mean sleep. With some studying thrown in. However, before I bury my head in the books, I want to share another salad recipe I made last week. The sauce for this salad is inspired by my family’s recipe for liang mian, which translates to “cool noodles.” It’s basically noodles, cucumbers, and shredded chicken tossed in a creamy tahini-peanut sauce. For this salad, I used a similar sauce and tossed it with a colorful salad of veggies, tofu, and bulgur wheat. The sauce is delicious. Creamy, peanut-y, and a bit sweet, it complements all the ingredients of this salad perfectly. I love how the bright peppers add a pop of color, and the shredded cabbage looks like confetti strips, hence the name. Here’s the recipe!

Asian Bulgur Wheat Confetti Salad

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

Salad

3/4 cup bulgur wheat

1 1/2 cups water

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

Olive oil

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

2 sweet bell peppers, diced

1 14oz package firm tofu, cubed

4 cups shredded cabbage

Peanuts, for garnish

Sauce

3 tbsp tahini sauce

1 tbsp creamy peanut butter

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp sugar

Hot water, to thin to desired consistency (I used about 1/4 cup)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Toss the broccoli in olive oil and roast for 20-30 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, bring the bulgur wheat and water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. While the bulgur wheat is cooking, saute the green onions and onion in olive oil until fragrant and tender. Add the onions and broccoli to the bulgur wheat and set aside to cool.

Once cooled, add the peppers, tofu, and cabbage. Toss to combine.

To make the sauce, mix together all sauce ingredients, then add water until the desired consistency is reached. You may add more sugar if you like a sweeter sauce, or you could add some hot sauce for a little kick. Pour the sauce over the salad and toss to combine. Garnish with peanuts. Serve room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!

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Look how pretty it is! Lots of colors

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Peanuts make a nice garnish (I used honey-roasted since that’s all I had)

Apple, Date, and Fresh Mozzarella Spinach Salad

First Sand Volleyball game today, and UCLA came out with the win over CSU Northridge! It was the first time I’ve been to the beach since the first weekend this quarter, and it was a beautiful day. To match the lovely day, I have this delicious, refreshing salad recipe for you! I love mixing sweet and savory in salads, and this recipe had a great blend of flavors. I always love apples and cheese, and the sweet dates added a great touch. I also threw in some bulgur wheat, which absorbs the flavor of the honey balsamic vinaigrette quite nicely. Here’s the recipe!

Apple, Date, and Fresh Mozzarella Spinach Salad

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients

Salad

1/2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat

1 cup water

2 small apples, cored and diced

1/2 cup Medjool dates, chopped

8 oz fresh mozzarella, diced

4 cups baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Vinaigrette

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp honey

Directions

Bring the bulgur wheat and water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the chopped dates at the end and allow them to soften. Set aside to cool. Add the chopped apples and mozzarella and toss to combine.

To make the vinaigrette, mix together all the vinaigrette ingredients.

To assemble the salad, lay down a bed of spinach leaves, then top with the bulgur wheat mixture, and sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top, if using. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Enjoy!

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So pretty!

 

Corn, Cucumber, and Avocado Quinoa Salad with Tzatziki Dressing and a Swim Workout

Today was another very long day. I didn’t even get to check my email until after 10 pm. Sigh. However, the end of my day involved dinner and dessert with three of my lovely ultimate frisbee teammates! It was a great pick-me-up after three very long days at work, and it put me in a much better mood. Great food and even better company tends to do that. 🙂 Also, I discovered that my favorite pool has extended summer hours, so I even got a swim in before work!

Today I’m sharing a recipe which I made Tuesday night after work, and it is the perfect summer meal, as it is served chilled. It has been EXTREMELY hot here in LA, especially in our apartment, and even after taking a cold shower, I still sweat until the late hours of the night. I’ve always said I prefer being hot to being cold, but I’m currently rethinking that statement. Anyway, this quinoasalad is a breeze to pull together and keeps well for several days in the fridge! The tzatziki sauce is simple and delicious, and the flavors meld together after a day in the fridge, so it’s even better after a day or two! When I was making this salad the first night, my brain was so fried from work that I forgot to add the garbanzo beans. However, it was still great as a side dish. They do provide protein, however, so I added them the next day and ate this dish as my meal. It was fantastic both ways! If you’re sensitive to raw onion taste, I suggest cooking the green onions with the corn, but if you like lots of green onion flavor, leave them raw. Sorry again for the dark pictures, but I do what I can with the lighting I have.

Corn, Cucumber, and Avocado Quinoa Salad with Tzatziki Dressing

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

and Food.com

Ingredients

For the salad:

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa

Pinch of salt

1 tsp olive oil

2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed

3 green onions, chopped

2 avocados, diced

1 cucumber, diced

1 15oz can of garbanzo beans, drained

For the dressing:

1 cucumber, peeled and grated

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp dill weed

Directions

First, make the dressing so the flavors have a chance to mingle. In a colander, sprinkle the grated zucchini with salt and pepper, toss with your fingers, then press to drain as much water as possible. Mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, and dill. Add the drained cucumber and stir well to distribute the cucumber throughout the sauce. Allow to sit in the refrigerator while you make the rest of the salad.

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the corn kernels. Cook for 6-10 minutes, stirring the kernels often, until the kernels are lightly browned. Cook the onions in this step too, if you wish. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Combine the quinoa, corn, green onions, avocado, cucumber, and garbanzo beans in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the top. Serve room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!

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Now onto the swim for today! Today I decided to do a challenging threshold set, to keep up with my string of Threshold Thursday. Today I did the classic threshold set, just 10 100s on threshold interval. This is not easy. I started at one interval, then missed it and had to increase it by five seconds, and that’s ok. Just put your head down and keep going and this set is over before you know it. Here it is!

Threshold Thursday

300 free, 300 pull

6×100 @1:30 odds sprint first 15m of odd laps, evens sprint first 15m of even laps

12×75 @1:10, 4x(fast stroke/free/free, free/fast stroke/free, free/free/fast stroke) change the stroke by round, IM order

Main set:

10×100 @threshold interval

12×100 free with paddles 3x(3 fast @1:20, 1 easy @1:40)

200 easy choice

200 breathe 3-5-7-9 by 50

Total: 4700 yards

Time: 1 hr, 20 min

Quinoa Salad with Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, and Sweet Potatoes

I love quinoa. It’s like pasta, except healthier. It also absorbs sauces, a bit like rice, so I can add an Asian flair to some quinoa recipes as well. I cooked dinner for my family again, and I decided to make another quinoa dish. This dish is adapted from one I made last summer, Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Dried Cranberries, and Red Onion from Two Peas and Their Pod. My family doesn’t like kale, so I used swiss chard from one of our friend’s gardens instead. I also had a squash from their garden, and several huge zucchinis from our own garden, so I threw those in as well. We didn’t have a red onion, and white onion has a milder flavor anyway, so I used that instead. The dried cranberries in this salad give it a nice touch of sweetness and a bit of chewy texture with every bite. I also crumbled some goat cheese on top for an extra kick of flavor. To round out the meal, I still have buttermilk to use up, so I made whole-wheat buttermilk biscuits (trying to be a little healthier) to accompany this dish. Everything was delicious, and earned the approval of my sister, something that I strive for. Here’s the recipe with my adaptations!

Quinoa Salad with Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, and Sweet Potatoes

adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

1 ¾ cup water

2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped

½ medium white onion, sliced

1 medium yellow squash, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

3 cups swiss chard leaves, chopped

5 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided

½ cup dried cranberries

goat cheese, for serving

Directions

Rinse the quinoa and put in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Place the sweet potatoes and onion in a baking pan, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with half the olive oil and toss to coat. Bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the squash and zucchini, drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and toss to coat. Bake for 12 more minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Spread the swiss chard on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Place in the oven for 7-10 minutes, until the swiss chard is wilted.

Let all vegetables come to room temperature, then combine with the quinoa. Add in the dried cranberries and the rest of the balsamic vinegar, toss to combine. Crumble goat cheese on top and serve. Enjoy!

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Shared on Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy’s Recipe Box.

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Quinoa Salad with Sesame Soy Dressing

Quinoa Salad with Sesame Soy Dressing

I discovered quinoa last summer when I started cooking a lot, and I fell in love with it. It’s a wonderful, nutty, healthy grain which is a complete protein, meaning you can get all the essential amino acids from it. Here’s a random fun fact I learned in one of my Life Science classes at UCLA: you can get all the essential amino acids by eating chips and salsa.

Last summer my favorite recipe with quinoa was this one from Two Peas and Their Pod. This summer, I decided to try another of their quinoa recipes, which popped up on my Facebook feed. I modified some of the ingredients according to what I had on hand and what vegetables I did and didn’t like. The original recipe had cabbage and soybeans, which I switched for broccoli and corn, since I didn’t have cabbage and I don’t like soybeans. The original recipe calls for red bell pepper, but we only had green ones in the garden. However, I do prefer red bell pepper, since it is sweeter. I  added a bit of sugar to the dressing, since when I tasted it it was extremely salty. I also left the cilantro out, since no one in my family likes it. After my modifications, the result was a delicious, refreshing quinoa salad, perfect for a summer night meal. My entire family enjoyed this recipe, and my mom got a break from cooking!

Quinoa Salad with Sesame Soy Dressing

adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients

Salad

1 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup water

1 cup broccoli, chopped

2 ears of corn, cut off the cob

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 medium carrots, shredded

1 medium cucumber, diced

Dressing

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp chopped green onions

2 tsp sugar (or agave, or honey)

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1/4 tsp grated ginger

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions, adjusting the amount of water if necessary.

In another saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the broccoli. Add the water and cover to steam the broccoli for about 3-4 minutes, then add the corn and cover again until all the water has been absorbed, stirring occasionally.

While the quinoa, broccoli, and corn are cooking, combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and add the broccoli, corn, bell pepper, carrots, and cucumber. Pour 2/3 of the dressing on top, mix it up, and taste. This may be all the dressing you need, depending on your preference. If you want more dressing, pour the rest on. Enjoy!

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These are the vegetables I used, but this would be great with several other variations!

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Mmmm, light and refreshing!

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For dinner, we had the quinoa salad as our main dish. I also baked sweet potatoes and made some zucchini fritters, recipe to come soon!