With summertime in full swing, backyard eating is all we do most nights! This means a lot of salads and cold sides for our grilled and smoked meats. We make lots of potato, pasta and green salads. But every so often I try to make something a little outside our wheelhouse. Maybe pick a different base or a different flavor profile. For this salad I wanted to build off of using quinoa in a cold preparation. Cucumber & Quinoa Salad is a light and vegetable packed salad that also has great protein – making it an awesome meal prep recipes.
If you are not familiar with quinoa, it is a protein packed seed that has a lot of fiber and vitamins in it as well. It is prepared similar to rice, but it is not a grain. I had to use the googles to confirm that one, lol. It reminds me of the texture of the small couscous (not Pearl/Israeli) but it has a sort of nutty flavor that goes great with a simple dressing of lemon juice.
When you prep the vegetables, try to get them to relatively the same sizes, it make serving and combining much easier. I went a little on the bigger size because that’s my personal preference, but you could go a little smaller if you like. You could also change them up too. I was considering red onions, zucchini, or even avocado. I didn’t want it to be kitchen sink type salad, so I reigned it in a little in the end. But you could swap things around. I would suggest refraining from anything too juicy, like tomatoes, as the quinoa will absorb it and get gummy.
This salad makes a great potluck dish too – as it keeps very well in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You could also make a batch and portion it out for a week’s worth of lunches. When I made this, I served it with some smoked chicken and it was a great compliment to the smoky flavor of the chicken with the bright light citrus.
Now Let’s Get Cookin’!
Cucumber & Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups Quinoa
- 1 qt Vegetable Broth
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 4 tbsp Lemon Juice divided
- 1 English Cucumber chopped
- 4 Green Onion chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper diced
- 1 cup Carrot chopped
- ½ cup Parsley
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- Add quinoa, garlic powder, half of lemon juice and vegetable broth to a sauce pan over medium heat, Cover with lid and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, but do not remove lid and let sit for 10 minutes more. Remove lid and fluff with fork. Let cool another 10 minutes.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and add cooled quinoa. Cover and place in refrigerator to cool for at least 1 hour. Serve or transfer to airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:
Estelle self-published a second cookbook – Burgers on a Weeknight – recently. It has over 60 delicious burger creations! You can purchase your own copy here:
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