I love color in my food. I note exuberance in my outlook when presented with colorful, textured food versus a more subdued visual palette. I’m sure you’ve heard about ‘eating the rainbow’, a school of thought providing that the more varied color in one’s diet, the better the overall nutritional value due to the different nutrients in the spectrum of colored foods.
Summer is such an easy time to include lots of color and robust flavors in food. With my sights on the upcoming long, start-to-summer weekend when grilling seems a national requirement; I began to ponder a light, chilled salad, full of flavor and color. Some favorite ingredients sprang to mind I felt sure would deliver an interested visual and flavorful salad which would be quick to whip up.
You may have noted the growing popularity of Quinoa (keen-wah), a South American grain which is lightly flavored, a complete protein with a great texture. It’s similar in structure to bulgur wheat you may have tried in Tabouleh salad. Quinoa is a perfect grain for gluten-free diners as a substitute for bulgur. Quinoa cooks in 20 minutes and is available in three colors (red, black and white) offering an easy side dish for dinners on the run, which is also light and nourishing.
Another ingredient I love is Edamame (soybeans). Ten years ago the only place you may have encountered them would be if going out for Japanese food where the they are a standard appetizer, cooked and served in their pod for diners to squeeze into their mouths. Now they have become a star ingredient, being packed with protein and great nutrition in the most gorgeous shade of lime green.
Tossing quinoa and edamame into a chilled salad with seasonal vegetables and herbs, some salty Feta cheese, and freshly squeezed lemon juice seemed a perfect, light (and quick) partner to outdoor grilling. It can be prepared in less than an hour (with the bulk of the time being comprised of ingredient chilling). The colorful visual of this salad, paired with fantastic textures, begs to be gobbled up by vegetable lovers and will enchant those who are more vegetable averse as well with its sunny appearance!