There are two main things that symbolize summer to me: fresh, ripe tomatoes and corn. I could eat these two vegetables (fruits?) from June-August and never get sick of them. This salad incorporates both and includes a lemony dressing over top to really solidify the “summer” feel. Quinoa is of course included since I think it is the perfect grain to tie flavors like this together. And some chopped spinach as well in an effort to eat my “real” vegetables.
To make the dressing for this, you’re going to need a zester. It’s one of my very favorite kitchen products and I use it to zest lemons, limes and oranges as well as to grate ginger and garlic. It’s great!
Start off by pulsing a few cups of spinach in the food processor to get a nice chop. You could do this by hand too, but the food processor just makes things so much easier and faster. Add the chopped spinach to a bowl…
And then throw your freshly cooked quinoa on top while it’s still warm. This helps to wilt the spinach just slightly–I prefer the spinach a little softer rather than with the slight crunch it has straight out of the refrigerator.
Next, add your chopped cherry or grape tomatoes, the corn and your dressing. The dressing is just balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt + pepper.
Mix it all up and you have one beautiful salad that epitomizes summer and the amazing produce that comes along with it. This was excellent served along a grilled pork tenderloin, and it also tasted great the next few days as lunch with some grilled chicken thrown into the mix.
This is one of many quinoa salads that I’ve posted in the past few months and the main point I’m always trying to get across to you guys is to BE CREATIVE. Quinoa is one of the most versatile grains out there and you can add any combination of fruits, vegetables or protein to it and mix it up with a basic dressing and it will almost always turn out delicious. This recipe is a great place to start
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups of diced cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 cups of spinach
- 1 cup of fresh corn
- 1 T of balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon of freshly minced garlic
- zest of one small lemon
- salt + pepper
- Cook quinoa according to instructions
- Make the dressing by combining the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper and whisking thoroughly.
- Finely chop the spinach by hand or in a food processor and place into large bowl with cooked quinoa
- Add in diced tomatoes and corn and stir to combine
- Pour dressing over top and mix thoroughly. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired