Veggie Potluck: Cranberry Sunflower Quinoa Salad

I don’t know about you, but as the weather warms up I find my appetite getting smaller.  I look forward to and crave light salads with fresh fruits and thick veggie sandwiches over the wintery pastas, soups and sauces.  Maybe it’s because I’m more active in the summertime, so my body doesn’t want to be weighed down with rich meals.  Or maybe it’s that I am so distracted by my blindingly white arms and legs that I forget to eat.  I swear, this Midwestern pastiness will never be okay with me and I’d rather actually rub lotion on tan mom than lay in a tanning bed.  So maybe I need to start running on my lunch break instead of before the sun comes up.

 tan mom

{I mean…}

I’m sorry, what was I talking about?  Because I don’t think it was supposed to be tanning.  Oh yes, food.

I’m digging light, healthy foods right now.  We recently had a vegetarian potluck lunch at work (I know – do I have my dream job, or what?), so I started brainstorming ideas. A few of my coworkers mentioned they have yet to try quinoa, and you all know my LOVE for the super food, so I knew a quinoa salad was the perfect dish.  It’s easily sharable for a group, and doesn’t need to be heated.

I looked at several recipes before basically throwing a bunch of ingredients from the kitchen into a bowl.  I tend to do that with salads, so none are ever the same.  This one, however, was such a hit that I think it’s a keeper.  Packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats, this delicious recipe can be ready in about 10 minutes.

 

Quinoa-Salad

Cranberry and Toasted Sunflower Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (approx 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups vegetable stock/broth (low sodium if possible)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds (directions below)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced tri-colored bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon’s worth)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place quinoa in medium sauce pot with the vegetable stock/broth.
  2. Cover the pot, bring to a full boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl. Pour on top of quinoa and mix together.
  5. Serve immediately or cover and chill in the fridge. Enjoy!

toasted sunflower seeds

Toasted Sunflower Seeds:

  1. Placed seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden browned and aromatic.
  2. Shake the skillet frequently for even browning and to avoid burning.
  3. Immediately remove from heat, so they do not continue to cook.
  4. Pay attention!  Seeds will burn REALLY easily.

 

RUNch Biking

{Helmets are so hot.}

The past few weeks, I’ve dusted off the ol’ bike!  Believe it or not, Kansas City is really hilly and I’ve been getting a great workout on short 15-20 mile rides. I’m so lucky to have such talented friends who can run, swim and bike!  Oh, and they like to eat chips and drink beer afterwards, too. What would I do without them?

RUNch Biking 2

 

What foods do you crave during warmer weather?

How have you been taking advantage of the sunshine?

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