Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

With spring here and summer just around the corner, lighter dishes are always a preferred meal for my family. I have recently started cooking a lot of quinoa as an alternative to rice and pasta,  and my family loves it! I guess I'm a little behind on the 'quinoa' bandwagon since it's been around for a long time, but to tell you the God's honest truth….I really hadn't tried it myself until a friend made it for me a couple years back and I loved it. Now with BBQ season approaching as well, I have made this salad several times. Also a great alternative to higher calorie potato and macaroni salad, and it was a big hit. My kids also love chickpeas so I added them in. The goat/feta gives it a kick too! Experiment though on the veggies! You can't go wrong. I have had hits and misses with quinoa, but I have figured out, as long as I don't add TOO MUCH water/broth to the boiling quinoa, I'm golden! Many recipes will call for 2parts broth/water to 1 part quinoa. I do 1 3/4 part broth to 1 part quinoa and it works like a charm, especially if you are adding any other marinade after you cook it. INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 red peppers, cut in 2 inch pieces (I have used orange, red and yellow peppers before)
  • 12 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut to bite size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup white quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 cup red quinoa, well rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 -1 cup feta/goat cheese, crumbled ( I LOVE Bulgarian feta if using feta)
  • 1 cup of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Good Seasons Italian Dressing mixed (I mix with EVOO and red wine vinegar)
Directions (Serves 8, great for party platter)
  1. Mix both quinoa together and rinse. Place quinoa in a pan and add the broth. Bring to a boil on high and then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until all broth is mostly absorbed. Once cooked, open lid slightly and let sit. Meanwhile prep the veggies below.
  2. Place the red peppers on a baking sheet skin side up, broil/roast until the skins are blackened, about 8-10 minutes.  Then place in container and let them steam for about 15 minutes. When skin has puckered a bit, peel it off of each piece and set aside.
  3. Mix the beans in thyme, salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Place them on baking sheet and roast them for about 20 minutes, flipping 1/2 way through. If you do the peppers first, the oven should be hot enough. I roasted/baked them at about 375 degrees.
  4. Once the peppers and beans are done, place in a mixing bowl and add the chickpeas, feta and spinach. Mix together throughly and add the italian dressing, mix again to coat.
  5. Once quinoa is ready, mix everything together in serving tray. Making sure to coat the quinoa with the vege mixture and dressing.
  Like I said, Experiment with the vegetables! I think the peppers go great, but you can also swap out the green beans for squash or zucchini and both work nicely. Roasted or sautéed onion tastes amazing as well. Just thinly slice or chop (as in image), and roast in oven with the oil and seasoning. The chickpeas are optional. I have taken them out and replaced with roasted pecans and it tastes wonderful! ENJOY!    
Photo Credit: The Talking Kitchen

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