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!
This colorful, full-of-summer-flavor salad is a sure win for the hot weather season. Served chilled is becomes the perfect partner for grilled foods, picnics and outings. Packed with protein too!
- ¾ cups Corn Kernels, fresh or frozen; cooked in boiling water for 1 minute, rinsed in cold water, drained and chilled*
- ¾ cups Edamame (shelled), fresh or frozen; cooked in boiling water for 1 minute, rinsed in cold water, drained and chilled*
- 2 cups cooked Quinoa (_I used Rainbow Quinoa which blends all three colors but any quinoa will work_), chilled
- 1-15 ounce can Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (_I use organic_)
- ½ cup Red Onion, finely diced
- 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved (_about 20 if small cherry tomatoes; 15 if large cherry tomatoes_)
- ½ cup baby Carrots, sliced horizontally into rounds
- ¼ cup fresh Basil, thinly sliced then diced
- ½ cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 2-3 tablespoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a large bowl or if storing before serving a container with lid, combine the all ingredients except the lemon juice, olive oil, rice vinegar, and salt and pepper. Stir to fully combine the ingredients.
- In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and rice vinegar. Pour over the salad and stir well to fully combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill in the refrigerator, in a closed container until serving.
*corn kernels and edamame may be cooked together and chilled in the same container.