Balsamic Quinoa Salad

A few years ago, when I heard about quinoa the first time, I was dubious.  A habitual low-carb dieter, it just didn’t seem to jive with my nutritional goals.

Then I started dating a vegetarian.

I recognized that incorporating hearty, unprocessed grains into our meals was important, and the added bonus with quinoa — as opposed to other carby goodness — is that it packs a mega protein punch.

Enter my Balsamic Quinoa Salad.  I dreamed it up as a way to fill in gaps in a few of our meals as a side dish.  It’s worth noting that the key to great quinoa is seasoning it properly.  I’ve written on this blog before about my efforts to decrease the amount of sodium we consume, so you can bet that salt isn’t my first choice.  In this recipe, I’ve relied on fresh dill and balsamic vinegar.

Added bonus?  This isn’t just a side dish.  I warmed it up and tossed it with some spinach, and hello delicious.  I prefer this as a main course, but my boyfriend loves it alongside veggie burgers.

I say eat it any way you like.

BalBalsamic Quinoa Salad

Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 12 oz. baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package.  You can use broth instead of water, but I generally just use water unless I have broth to use up.
  2. While that’s cooking, slice your mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes, until they are in a somewhat uniform size.
  3. Heat your olive oil over medium heat in a very large skillet.  Add the vegetables, and cook until the onions are translucent, being sure not to overcook anything.  Remove from heat.
  4. When the quinoa has finished, pour it into the skillet with your vegetables.  Pour in half of the balsamic vinegar, and mix everything around.  Taste to see if you want to use the rest of the vinegar.  If so, have at it.
  5. Add in the fresh dill, and allow the dish to cool.  I like to toss it with spinach as a main course, but this also makes an excellent side.  Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serves 4 as a main dish | Calories: 274 | Carbs: 43 g | Fat: 10 g | Protein: 10 g | Fiber: 6 g

 

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