Carrot Noodle Quinoa Salad

‘Tis the season of not using the oven!

I’ve likely said this before, but when it’s 85+ degrees outside in a humid D.C. summer, the last thing ANYONE wants to do is turn on their oven to prepare a meal. Now while I love the idea of subsisting on a strict 15 servings a day of watermelon, this is not exactly sustainable for my wallet or refrigerator size.

Now a crunchy, protein-filled salad chock full of refreshing vegetables? That is something I can get on board with!

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This quinoa salad packs a bunch in the flavor AND nutrient departments. It’s pretty flexible to whatever veggies you have on hand (even frozen are great once defrosted).

Cooking the quinoa is the most time-intensive step here, so it’s even better when you are able to just use some from leftover earlier in the week. Brown rice or another small grain would totally work!

This meal is done in less than 30 minutes and tastes even better once it has the chance to sit overnight and let flavors marinate. It works equally well as a side for BBQs or a standalone packed lunch.

Want to keep with the thai-inspired theme for dessert? Try out my Tropical Coconut “Rice” Pudding!

INGREDIENTS:

For salad:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled with a vegetable peeler into “noodles”
  • 2 -3 cups kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  •  1/2 cup cilantro or basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, optional
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashew pieces
  • More cashew pieces or green onion to garnish, optional

For dressing:

  • 1/4 cup drippy almond or peanut butter
  • 1 TBS freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 TBS rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 TBS coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • Water to thin

Method:

  1. Heat a saucepan with 1 and 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook until all water has been absorbed, about 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork. Let cool while you prepare your other ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pepper, carrots, kale, broccoli, cilantro, cucumber, and cashew pieces.
  3. Add all dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously to blend. You may need to add a little water to make the sauce pourable. Drizzle 1/2 of the dressing over the quinoa and stir to coat.
  4. Now add your quinoa to the larger salad bowl and combine all ingredients. At this stage you can choose how much more of the dressing you’d like to add. I normally do all of it because it helps to soften the kale! Feel free to serve with additional cashew pieces or green onions.

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9 thoughts on “Carrot Noodle Quinoa Salad

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