Ohh January.. the month of new diets, cleanses, and gym memberships. It’s always great to start a new year off with the intentions of making it a happier and healthier one, but it doesn’t mean you have to eat nothing but rice cakes and water! If you haven’t tried out quinoa yet, you need to get on it! It’s a great alternative to starchy rice or other pastas and it cooks in 15 minutes. One cup will swell up and give you about 4 servings, so it’s perfect to make ahead of time and take for lunch throughout the week! Try my spin on it by adding red wine vinaigrette, fresh vegetables, and crumbled feta for a delicious and hearty Greek ‘pasta’ salad!
Recipe adapted from MyRecipes.com
1 cup uncooked red quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced (1-2 tsp)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp coarse seat salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 vine ripe tomato, chopped
Half of a cucumber, sliced, then quartered
¼ cup kalamata olives, halved
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
4 lemon wedges (optional)
(1.) In a medium sized sauce pan, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. (2.) Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Transfer to a large bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour. Stir occasionally to help it cool faster. (3.) In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Set aside until ready to use. (4.) When quinoa is completely cooled, add chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and olives. Pour vinaigrette in and stir until evenly mixed. Add crumbled feta and gently toss.
Squeeze the juice from a lemon wedge over each serving to bring out the flavors. Serve right away or make ahead and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.