Although I’ve been getting more daring with my grains lately, quinoa probably takes the cake for my fave. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s gluten-free, super versatile, a good source of protein, and contains all nine essential amino acids (not to mention a whole slew of nutrients – zinc, magnesium, iron, calcium, etc.). Or maybe it’s just the word. KEEEN-WA. When we first heard of the stuff back in college, Ben decided it was one of his most favorite words.
In any case, I’ve been addicted to this quinoa and roasted veggie salad for years now. I never get tired of it. I like to grill/roast a bunch of veggies, make a pot of quinoa (in my rice cooker) and eat nothing but quinoa and roasted veggie salad for days. Over the years we’ve tried quite a few combinations (different dressing, different veggies, etc.). I like to cook my veggies with the smallest amount of oil possible (because I use a dressing that has olive oil in it), place it on a bed of greens, add some cilantro/goat cheese/avocado, and sometimes add shrimp for an extra source of protein. It’s my potluck staple and I’ll have it as a meal or as a starter. Overall this recipe is so easy and versatile, you can’t go wrong.
Quinoa + Roasted Veggie Salad
- 2-3 c cooked quinoa (prepare as directed)
- Thickly sliced vegetables to taste (this day I used 1 large red onion, 1 yellow pepper, 2 medium eggplant, and 2 medium zucchini but I also recommend tomatoes and/or mushrooms (especially portabella)
- olive oil to coat veggies (I use a spritzer to keep it to a minimum)
["Inspired" Dressing (a.k.a. the best dressing ever created)]
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup
Place oiled veggies onto grill, skillet, or frying pan on medium-high heat (grill is my first choice, but I’ll take whatever I can get ;) ) until brown on both sides. Be patient and allow them to cook uninterrupted–usually at least 5 minutes on each side–until they sweat, before flipping them over (rather than flipping them over multiple times, just flip them once).
Cut the veggies into bite-sized pieces to your liking.
In a large bowl, mix the veggies with quinoa and add spices if desired.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
If you’re like me and will be eating this for the next few days, you can cover both the salad and the dressing separately and store them both in the fridge. When ready to serve, add toppings (avocado and cilantro) and drizzle on some dressing.
Enjoy! Makes 6-8 servings.