meatless monday . #31 {summer quinoa salad w/dill vinaigrette}

After my training session this morning at the gym, I stayed to have lunch with my friends Jenny and Kirsten, who had also just finished workouts.  I was excited to sit down and chat with them and also to try a salad from the new line of prepared foods the gym just started carrying.  Organic, fresh, healthy and yummy-looking from a company called Molly’s Organics.  Sat down to eat my ‘Greens and Beans’ salad with dill dressing only to be disappointed.  The green beans were a little worse for wear and the lettuce, wow.  There were some huge honking pieces. When the lettuce is as long as your head that is never a good thing. I was the lucky one to be facing the mirror over lunch and as I watched myself eat I thought these three things, in order: 1] I look like a freaking goat with lettuce and curly greens hanging out of my mouth in all directions, 2] I’m so glad I’m eating with good friends and not at a business lunch or date night and, 3] this Molly is a little sloppy.  I’d say I just got the short stick but Kirsten’s salad was worse. I think she had some dandelions growing in there. Oh well, on the bright side, Jenny’s sandwich rocked.  The orzo salad that was on the menu got me thinking of what we would have for dinner tonight.  After some brief discussion the ladies inspired me to make a quinoa salad and I was intrigued with the dill vinaigrette on my salad so decided to make a version of that.  The original dressing was good but needed more depth.  That depth was dijon mustard.  The result? A quick, easy, inexpensive salad that was really flavorful.  A little bread, soft cheese, this salad and you’ve got a full meal. For a meal with a protein this salad would be great as a side for simply grilled salmon or chicken.  Also, it would be excellent with avocado slices.  I went to add it but was so disappointed when I cut mine open and it was rotten.  So, so sad.  If you add avocado, cut it into slices or 1″ cubes and gently toss in a couple tablespoons of lemon juice then add to the salad right before serving.  Trust me, the avocado would be awesome!

Summer Quinoa Salad w/Dill Vinaigrette
serves 6

1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. fresh dill, roughly chopped

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch radishes, ends trimmed, radishes quartered
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
¼ red onion, finely diced
1 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1″cubes
¼ lb. sugar snap peas, trimmed and finely sliced 
1 cup feta, crumbled

In a small bowl, add vinegar and slowly drizzle in oil while whisking to emulsify.  Add mustard and whisk to incorporate. Salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in dill.  Cover and set aside.

In a small pot, add quinoa and stock.  Bring to a boil then lower heat to a gentle simmer; cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and using a fine sieve, drain quinoa and rinse with cool water.  Let drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, add vegetables, quinoa, feta and half the vinaigrette.  Gently toss with a spatula.  Add more dressing as needed or to taste.  Serve either at room temperature or chilled.

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