This week was the true marker of Spring, the week the cherry blossoms bloomed! With a picnic basket in hand, and some great girlfriends in tow, I headed down to High Park in Toronto’s west end to take in the picturesque trees. The park was buzzing with people, but we managed to find a little shady spot on the grass overlooking the park. The stunning backdrop was highlighted by one of the best healthy eating picnics to date.
This salad was so good I made it for myself and ate it almost everyday after that for lunch! It’s got tons of fiber, good fats, and veggie power to keep you going all day, and makes a great side to bring to that seasonal BBQ or picnic.
Perfect Picnic Quinoa Salad Difficulty: 2/5
1/2 cup dry adzuki beans (or use 1.5 cups cooked beans)*
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (makes 2.5 cups cooked)
1 cup packed fresh parsley, thick stems removed and minced
1/2 cup packed fresh Cilantro, thick stems removed and minced
2 small tomatoes, chopped (makes 1 & 1/4 cups)
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped fine
sea salt & black pepper, to taste
1 medium avocado smushed
1/3 cup + (1 tbsp, optional) red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt & ground pepper, to taste
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Step 1: Adzuki beans- Soak the dry beans overnight in water OR use the quick soak method like I did: Place beans in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it sit for 1-2 hours. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans and then place back into the pot with new water, covering the beans with water by about 2-3 inches. Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to low-medium, simmering for about 35-45 minutes. Watch closely and add more water if necessary. Alternatively, you can use canned beans for a time-saver.
Step 2: Quinoa-Add 3/4 cup of dry quinoa and about 1 & 1/4 cups water in a medium-sized pot. Stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover with lid, simmering for about 15-20 minutes and watching closely. Quinoa will be light and fluffy when ready and the water will be absorbed.
Step 3: Dressing- Whisk together all dressing ingredients and season to taste. Or feel free to use a mini processor if you have one.
Step 4: Combine the drained & cooked beans, quinoa, and chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Pour on the entire amount of dressing and stir well. Season to taste. Makes about 5.5-6 cups and should keep for at least a few days in the fridge.