Pesto Quinoa Salad

This is the best week ever.

Today was my Monday and tomorrow my Friday! Oh how lovely to have a long holiday weekend. I am so grateful for vacation days! Throw in seeing family members, and I’m kind of giddy with excitement.

Since I’ll be in vacation mode and the weather is supposed to be scorching, I’ve decided to make this the summeriest week ever…great place to start is with food!

What does summery food mean to you?

To me, it means light and flavorful, limited oven use, lots of colorful produce, and chilly treats like cold watermelon and drippy ice cream.

This recipe is made with oh-so-good-for-you quinoa, veggies, and flavorful pesto — fits the definition!

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Pesto Quinoa Salad
Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1.5 T prepared pesto
1 tomato, cubed or grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
2 T toasted pine nuts (or sunflower seeds, sliced almonds)
1 T lemon juice
2/3 cup diced cucumber
Dash red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

To cook quinoa:
Rinse and drain quinoa using fine mesh strainer. I don’t have one so I use a towel placed inside my colander.
Heat saucepan to medium-high and add quinoa.
Toast quinoa for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 2 cups water and chicken bullion cube.
Bring to a boil, stir once, and then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer untouched for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Uncover and fluff with fork.
This will make about 2.5 cups of quinoa.

To toast pine nuts:
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Toast pine nuts on baking sheet for 5-6 minutes, checking to make sure they don’t burn.

To assemble salad:
Combine all ingredients and feed yourself!

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We had this alongside some grilled chicken, which made a perfect pair!

Wondering what to do with your extra quinoa? Use as a salad topper, try quinoa cups, or create your own “pasta” salad combo. I like throwing together salads like this one:

Quinoa+red pepper+green chiles+lime+cumin+black beans+salsa+cheese= yummmy lunch for Amy!

Feel free to finish the meal with your own chilly treat — I recommend ice cream!

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