I don’t know about you, but sometimes I completely forget about certain ingredients that I love. I know, I know. It doesn’t really make sense to forget about something you love, but I did. I guess with cooking there are just so many different ingredients that I want to experiment with that I get excited about a certain cuisine or ingredient and then others get forgotten for a while.
This happened with quinoa. Ever since I was introduced to quinoa I loved it. It’s so easy to cook and you can go any which way with the flavor by using different seasonings. You can use it as a side dish or make it the main course by adding in some veggies and beans.
This past week Brett and I were at my parent’s house in Virginia. On Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day at Great Falls National Park with my parents and my brother and sister-in-law. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. It was warm with a nice breeze and we got to the park early enough to scope out a good spot. The only unfortunate thing that happened was that the water in the bathrooms stopped working and there were only two porta potties for the whole park. It took about 30 minutes to wait in line. Other than that we had a great time together as a family! I got to go on a trail run earlier in the morning and the rest of the time I spent reading, walking around the park, people watching and talking with my family.
The week before Mother’s Day, Brett and I were super busy meeting with people in the area for work. We ate most of our meals out so by Sunday I was aching to cook. I asked my parents if I could be in charge of the Mother’s Day meal and they gladly let me take over. I decided to go with something that would be easy to make the day before and that didn’t have to be served hot. This Cilantro Lemon Quinoa Salad was the main course which I paired with Homemade Grilled Flat Bread and hummus. For dessert we had Vegan Strawberry Shortcake with Coconut Whipped Cream (recipe coming soon!) My brother and sister-in-law also picked up a roast chicken. Everyone said everything tasted great which was encouraging. I’m always a little nervous cooking dairy-free and meat-free meals for others.
I’m also thankful that quinoa is now back in my life.
Cilantro Lemon Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas)
- 2 avocados, chopped
- large handful of cilantro, chopped
For the Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- juice of 2 small lemons
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper
- For the quinoa: In a medium-sized sauce pan bring the vegetable broth and quinoa to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let the quinoa cook for 10-15 minutes until all of the broth is absorbed. After the broth is absorbed, remove the sauce pan from the heat, still covered, and let the quinoa sit for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool. While the quinoa is cooking prepare you veggies and dressing.
- For the Dressing: In a bowl whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- For the Salad: Once the quinoa is done cooking and your tomatoes, avocados and cilantro are all prepped, stir together the quinoa, tomatoes, chickpeas, avocado and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. If possible let the salad sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving to allow all the flavors to meld. Enjoy!