Blog Entries, Recipes, Salads, Vegetable Dishes, Vegetarian

Eileen’s “Tastes Like Summer” Salad

quinoa.123I threw together this salad today that was inspired by a salad we created in the cooking class at Food As Medicine recently.  Using what’s fresh, I gave it a new spin.  Similar to tabbouleh, it makes a great side dish, we had it with lamburgers one night and local wild rice brats on July 4th.  Yes, this does have a few carbs, but good ones. As you make this, keep in mind that any ingredient can be modified.  If you hate cilantro, leave it out, if you adore basil, add more.  If you are addicted to spicy, add some.  You cannot screw this up!  Just go slow and keep tasting it until you like it.

Summer Quinoa Salad

½ cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked (I used white quinoa variety)
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1 handful parsley, stemmed and chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped (stems are ok, they have same flavor as the leaf!)
1 small bunch of basil
1 handful mint, stemmed and chopped
¼ Cup Olive Oil (up to ¹/3 cup if needed)
¼ cup Fresh Lemon Juice (up to 1/3 cup if needed)
¼ red onion, diced or 4 green onions sliced thinly
2 tsp. coriander
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper or aleppo red pepper
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sumac (optional:  but this middle eastern spice adds a great lemony flavor)*
1 tsp. sea salt
1-2 T honey, to taste

It is best if you hand chop these, it really doesn’t take long.  BUT, if pressed for time, you can put all the fresh herbs in the food processor and pulse CAREFULLY with the pepper until small.  One pulse at a time, or you’ll have paste. Add the cooked quinoa and raw green onion or red onion.  Now the fun begins.

Put all the spices in front of you.  Start with a little salt, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Stir it up, taste it.  Now add the coriander, the cumin, sumac and the pepper.  Taste it again.  You may want more cumin (I like the way this tastes with more coriander, but that is a personal preference).  If it is too tart, add honey, if it isn’t “wowing” you or tastes bland, it may need more salt.  Too spicy?  Add a bit of oil or honey.  Keep working, stirring until you get the taste you want.  Do not be afraid of spices, they are your friend!

I’ve made this twice last week.  The grapes make it much more interesting that the usual tabbouleh type salads.  Today I added julienned kale for a larger salad.  Options: Add cooked chicken, tofu or fish for a meal.  Add chopped apple, or berries.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Have fun!  Happy Summer!


LINK: * Why you should have sumac in your spice cabinet.

Quinoa Options:

Go to for more info or to order wheatberries

Instead of quinoa, use Einkhorn Wheatberrys. You can’t eat this if you have gluten intolerance, but I make an exception in our diet for Einkhorn Wheat, which is MUCH less reactive and if you only have it once/month, won’t disrupt your insulin and sugar levels.