Perfect Quinoa Salad

Sometimes recipes just come together. I’ve been playing with quinoa salad variations for several months now and I think I’ve found the key to really excellent quinoa- salt. I’m always a bit light-handed with salt. This time I added salt to the salad and then decided to add both queso fresco and kalamata olives, which added what I was afraid would be too much salt. After a night marinating in the fridge, the amount of salt was perfect.

We’ll be making this salad over and over again for the rest of the summer, too. My husband and I have decided to try cutting out wheat for a month or two and see what happens, and this salad is perfectly gluten-free. It’s also an excellent way to use up those pesky zucchini.

Perfect Quinoa Salad

2 zucchini, shredded
1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced
1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 glug of olive oil
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley with small stems, chopped
2-3 Kirby cucumbers, chopped
1 yellow sweet pepper, chopped
1 red sweet pepper, chopped
1/4 c fresh thyme, chopped (no, really! it’s a handful of stripped leaves and soft stem ends before chopping)
2 c cooked and drained quinoa, cold
4 oz queso fresco, cut into small cubes
1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 c olive oil
2 tbl red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium and saute the garlic just until it’s warm and starts to turn translucent. Add the zucchini and italian herbs and saute until the zucchini just starts to turn golden around the edges. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate overnight. Taste and adjust salt and pepper again before serving.

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