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Citrus Basil Quinoa Salad

Posted Apr 15 2013 8:00am

This cold quinoa dish has become a favorite make-ahead meal in my home.

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Freshly squeezed orange juice pairs perfectly with fragrant basil in this easy dressing, and when tossed over quinoa and crunchy vegetables, it creates a tasty and refreshing dish.

Despite it’s reputation as a “super grain,” quinoa is not technically a grain–> it’s a seed! Quinoa is an easily digested source of complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, making it the perfect base for a filling packed lunch or quick dinner. It’s also a great source of iron, magnesium, vitamin B2, and manganese, which are all necessary for healthy brain function.

This cold salad can be easily modified to feature any fresh vegetables you like, so feel free to add any seasonal vegetables that you have on hand.


serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Quinoa Salad:

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
3 cups water
1 cup Orange Basil Dressing (recipe below)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cucumber, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
1 red bell pepper, chopped
salt and pepper

For the Orange Basil Dressing:

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Combine the dry quinoa and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat, allowing the quinoa to cook for 15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, and fluff with a fork.

To prepare the Orange Basil Dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until completely smooth and emulsified. Adjust the flavor to taste, if desired.

Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and toss with one cup of the Orange Basil Dressing and all of the chopped vegetables. (Don’t be surprised if the spinach wilts from the heat of the freshly cooked quinoa.) Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Serve chilled, or at room temperature.

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This dish will last for up to a week in the fridge, when stored in a sealed container. The flavor gets better as it marinates!

Note: The leftover Orange Basil dressing makes a delicious addition to any leafy green salad, and will last for up to a week in the fridge.

Citrus Basil Quinoa
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

A refreshing, protein-rich salad, perfect for a packed lunch or quick dinner.
Ingredients
For the Quinoa Salad:
  • 1½ cups dry quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup Orange Basil Dressing (recipe below)
  • ½ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • freshly chopped basil, to taste
  • salt and pepper
For the Orange Basil Dressing:
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup tightly packed fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

Notes
Note: The leftover Orange Basil dressing makes a delicious addition to any leafy green salad, and will last for up to a week in the fridge.

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Enjoy!

: What are your favorite make-ahead meals?

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