My friend Meagan introduced me to quinoa during college, and I’ve loved this wonder grain ever since. Quinoa was something quick and healthy that we could make, but it was also filling without making us feel heavy. We would crack open a bottle of wine (or three), cook, eat, laugh, and then head out to a party. It was fun, and we definitely did it often haha. Nowadays she’s off in Paraguay for the Peace Corps. I miss her a lot, so I thought I’d use some of our remaining apples to make a quick quinoa salad packed with fresh flavors.
Whenever I do a recipe like this one, I use locally grown and organic produce. Seriously – this salad shines due to fresh ingredients. The apples are sweetly tart while the red pepper gives you a cooling snap. Those diced veggies contrast so nicely against the leafy, spicy baby arugula. The, the quinoa is soft and delicate, and it’s truly the perfect grain for a lunchtime salad or dinnertime side dish. Especially since it’s tossed with a lemony garlic dressing that brightens all the flavors and makes you lick you lips. You don’t even know how good this salad is until it’s all gone!
**Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts for an added crunch. It’s tasty either way…clearly I prefer it nut free though haha!**
2 cups water (or broth)
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups baby arugula
1 1/2 cups apple (diced)
1 cup red bell pepper (1 pepper, diced)
1 shallot (minced)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Salt/pepper to taste
In a small saucepan bring the water and quinoa to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked. Remove from heat and cool.
Juice the lemon into a small bowl (be careful with the seeds). Grate the garlic clove into this bowl. Add the oil and hot sauce (if using). Whisk together. This is the dressing.
Put the arugula, apple, red pepper, and shallot in a large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa with a large pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
Serve room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!