Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad

4 Aug

In the summer, I am almost always tasked with the dreaded “Can you bring the side dish” question when planning Family Sunday dinners. I tend to spaz out – there are so many options and directions to go. And I want to try new things – but I want to ensure it is fresh and healthy.

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I love quinoa….actually, I love MOST healthy grains – farro, quinoa, barley, wheatberry….That reminds me, I have a great wheatberry recipe to post. Stay tuned on that one.

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What is quinoa? Quinoa is not really a grain – it’s more of a seed. It is also a superfood – it has a crazy amount of protein, fiber, and it is gluten-free. And it’s pretty darn delicious and versatile. I have a favorite quinoa recipe that I posted last year that I love to make for quinoa-newbies.

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This recipe is a bit more refined than my favorite punchy southwestern recipe. And the real stars of this recipe are the squash and the parmesan.IMG_1488

The dressing is so delicate and bright. I love lemon-based dressings and marinades so I gravitated towards it.

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The real recipe says to use fresh, raw summer squash. However, I knew we would be grilling meat and I decided immediately that I would also grill the squash a smidge to get it softened and boost the flavor. I am thrilled that I did that – the taste levels soared!

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Other than grilling the squash, this recipe was a cinch to put together! I grated my own fresh parm and shaved some slices as well to put on top. It looked beautiful and tasted even better. I believe my family adored it – this recipe will be making an appearance again before the end of the summer!

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Now you know what you can bring to a get-together when you get stuck with the dreaded side dish 🙂

Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red (or other) quinoa, rinsed in a sieve and drained
  • 2 tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1-1.5 lb assorted summer squash
  • 4 Tblsp finely grated Parmesan, plus ¼ cup shaved with a peeler
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tblsp Sherry vinegar
  • 8-10 Tblsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

 Directions:

Bring quinoa and 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season with salt, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, but not mushy – 12-15 minutes. Drain. Return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and let cool.

Cut squash into 1/8” thick slices – some lengthwise and some crosswise. Transfer to a large bowl, season with 2 tsp salt, and toss to coat. Let sit until slightly wilted – about 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pat dry and set aside. (Here is where I differed – I cut them lengthwise, basted with olive oil/salt/pepper, and grilled them for just a couple minutes).

Whisk grated parmesan, zest, juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Combine squash, quinoa, parsley, walnuts, and basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over, toss to coat. Garnish with shaved parmesan.

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2 Responses to “Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad”

  1. Liz August 6, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Stuffing the squash with the quinoa is also awesome if you are ever looking for a twist.

    • lmullane August 7, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      oooo that sounds good, liz!

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