As I was typing out the title of this post, I was singing “So Fresh, So Clean” by Outkast in my head. When you’re in a relationship with Frank, I think this sorta thing just comes with the territory!! With that said, “So fresh and so clean clean,” really does have a nice ring to it and this Balsamic Roasted Vegetable & Quinoa Salad is perfectly described by one of Frank’s go-to bands. Ahh, thank you, Andre 3000.
Alright, back to the recipe. For the last few weeks I have been playing around with a variety of quinoa dishes. Many of these recipes have been focused on fresh chopped veggies, but this new twist was a roasting experiment that turned out to be a winner. Quinoa is such a versatile ingredient that can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner recipes. It’s packed with protein and it’s gluten-free; a nice substitute to rice or pasta. Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is not a whole grain, but a seed. Did you know it’s also called goosefoot?? Follow the link for details from the Whole Grains Council.
This particular recipe turned out to be a hit in our household (ahem, the barn) and I think it’ll be a great go-to meal especially since spring has sprung (minus the complete downpour last night and this morning…April showers bring May flowers!) and summer will be here before we know it! Fresh roasted vegetables paired with quinoa, a splash of lemon and fresh basil leaves…what more could you ask for??
Balsamic Roasted Vegetable & Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup of dried quinoa (To cook: Mix 1/2 cup dry quinoa with 1 cup of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let sit for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed)
1 large portabello mushroom, chopped into 1-inch pieces (Remember to remove the stem as well as the black gills on the underside of the mushroom cap. If you omit this step, your beautiful and bright roasted vegetables will turn a dark brown color–not so appetizing)
1/2 large red onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 red pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 green pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup of basil ribbons
Optional garnishes: Kalamata olives, goat cheese or feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Place chopped veggies on a greased/non-stick pan and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
4. Place veggies in the oven and let them roast for 10 minutes. Flip them over and stir them around, then cook for another 5-7 minutes until tender. Mmmmm, so good.
5. Once the veggies have cooled for a couple of minutes, toss with the cooked quinoa.
6. Add lemon juice and basil ribbons, followed by additional salt and pepper to taste.
7. Eat as is or top with olives and/or you choice of cheese.
*We had this salad as a side dish to a piece of baked salmon and roasted broccoli! The salmon was marinated with dill and lemon, baked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.
*You can also enjoy this salad as a main dish topped with chicken or on its own for a great protein-filled lunch!