Fresco Quinoa Salad

Spring and summer is the perfect time to gather with friends and enjoy the outdoors.  It is also the time to experiment with bright flavors that mirror the livening of the season and this Fresco Quinoa Salad does just that. The great thing about this recipe is you can tailor it to your liking with different ingredients like tomatoes, asparagus and other seasonal vegetables.  This healthy recipe makes a large batch, perfect for serving at an outdoor party of 10-15 people as a side dish. Add grilled chicken or fish to make this a balanced meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and refreshed.

photo from Land O'Lakes

Fresco Quinoa Salad

Serves 10 – 15 as a side dish

Ingredients for Salad:

2 cups quinoa
1/2 of one large white onion
4-6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 of one red bell pepper
1/2 of one green bell pepper
1/2 of one yellow bell pepper
1 can of black beans, drained
1 can of low-sodium corn, drained
1/2 cup of cilantro, minced (you can increase or decrease based on your liking but I love cilantro!)

Ingredients for Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
Juice from 2-3 limes (I like extra lime juice so 3 for me!)
1 Tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
dash of hot sauce (optional)

instructions:

Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, or 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, you can prepare the other ingredients in a large serving bowl.

Chop the onions and peppers and combine in the bowl with the minced garlic and cilantro. Drain the corn and beans in a strainer and rinse thoroughly.  After rinsing, add corn and beans to the bowl.

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small separate bowl making sure to mix thoroughly.

When the quinoa is finished cooking, set aside for it to cool before adding it to the other ingredients.  Once cooled, add the quinoa and dressing to the pepper mixture and mix thoroughly.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before serving.

ENJOY!

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