guest post: summery quinoa salad recipe

Hey dearies, happy Monday!

To kick off the week, I’m turning the blog over to the lovely Jen Cortez, co-owner of The Hive Salon and blogger behind Midwest Vaygun. I asked Jen to share one of her favorite healthy dishes with us this week and the menu she came up with sounds downright divine, especially considering my recent barbecue bender in Kansas City. I’ve really been scaling back on the amount of meat I eat since my trip, and this protein-packed quinoa salad would be the perfect for toting to work for lunch. I hope you enjoy!!

xo, Meghan

Summer is closing in on us fast, and with the soaring temps comes one of my most favorite things—outdoor eating! The only problem is that picnics and barbecues are often filled with repetitious staples. I believe you can only have so much potato salad, right? I love Asian cuisine, but far too often my love of far-eastern goodness takes a back seat in the summer (except for those nights where take-out is the only retreat from a hot stove, or hotter backyard) for more seasonal fare. I decided to put an end to the monotony of usual summer stamples by “summer-izing” some of my favorite Asian flavors. These are perfect for bringing to any outdoor get together!

Cold Quinoa “Fried Rice” Salad with Tofu

Quinoa doesn’t harden when cold like most rice varieties, making it great for chilled salads. although mangoes and avocados aren’t traditional in fried rice, their textures and flavors compliment the spicy and salty flavors of the quinoa and add extra heft to the dish.

What You Need

1 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed well
2 1/2 c. water
1 20-ounce block Wildwood Tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large mango
2 avocados
1 bundle scallions
2-3 t. Sriracha hot sauce
3 T. gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 t. palm sugar, or regular sugar
2 t. fresh ginger, grated
1 T. coconut oil
1/2 c. loosely packed Thai basil and cillantro
bean sprouts, peanuts, and limes for garnish

Begin by bringing the water to boil in a tall pot. Add a few pinches of salt and the quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, this should take roughly 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Spread the quinoa out on a cookie sheet and pop into the fridge to chill,  or the freezer if needed ASAP.

Next, take the tofu and place in on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and pop it into your toaster oven *if you don’t have a toaster oven you can use the regular oven but you’ll really heat your house up. otherwise, you can pan fry the tofu if you don’t mind the extra oil. Crank your toaster oven onto it’s highest setting and bake the bejeezus out of it, or until golden brown and lightly crispy. Place the tofu with the quinoa to cool it down.

Halve and pit the avocados and the mango and cube before tossing into a large, portable bowl that has a lid. Thinly slice the basil, cilantro, and scallions and add them to the bowl as well.

Now you can go ahead and whisk together the soy, ginger, sriracha, sugar and coconut oil (melt first if needed).

Toss the chilled quinoa and tofu with the rest of your prepped ingredients, and fold in the dressing. Taste and adjust to your preference. Sprinkle with with crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. Serve with spicy grilled pak choy.

Spicy Korean Grilled Pak Choy

Feel free to swap out the pak choy for larger bok choy  or another bitter green, like broccolini.

What You Need

1 lb. pak choy/baby bok choy
4 T. gluten free soy sauce
2 t. tamarind paste
1 T. sesame oil
3 T. rice wine vinegar
2+ T. garlic chili sauce

Rinse the pak choy and cut in half length wise. Whisk together remaining marinade components, taste for heat, and pour over the pak choy. Marinate up to a full day. Grill vegetables until tender, basting occasionally with leftover marinade. It was raining when I last made this so I used my cast iron grill pan, but I think it tastes best when it’s made outdoors.

Get more of delicious vegan recipes like this over on the Midwest Vaygun!

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