Summer Quinoa Salad

This recipe is adapted from the easy NY Times receipe found here. It is a helpful starting point to an easy, healthy, delicious summer salad. I enjoy making this for potlucks because it tastes even better the next day after chilling.

This salad is filling enough to be served on its own, but it can also make an excellent side dish to your summer picnics.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cups diced cucumber
1 cups finely diced tomatoes or quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro (whatever herbs you like can work here, parsley has a more subtle flavor)
1 can drained garbanzo beans
1 can artichoke hearts quartered
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 avocado, sliced, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package. This usually involves a lot of rinsing to ensure that the grains are clean. My quinoa is pre-washed so it just requires mixing the one cup of quinoa with the two cups of water and bringing it to a boil.

Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and translucent. Drain off the water in the pan through a strainer, and return the quinoa to the pan with the lid for about ten minutes or so. At this point, remove the quinoa from the pot and add to a bowl. Place in the fridge (or freezer if you are pressed for time) to bring the temperature of the quinoa down.

While the quinoa is chilling, prep the vegetables, starting with the cucumber. After dicing, salt the cucumber in a colander and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse the cucumber with cold water.

Combine the tomatoes, herb of choice, garbanzo beans, and artichoke hearts in a bowl and add the salted/rinsed cucumbers. In a smaller bowl or a small food processor (I use my immersion blender for this task) whisk the vinegar, lime juice and olive oil together. Add the chilled quinoa to the vegetable mixture and the dressing and mix well.

Toss together, and taste and adjust seasonings. If you have time, chill for a few hours or overnight, and serve garnished with the sliced avocado. (If you need to serve right away, make sure the quinoa is at least room temperature.)