Of all the places I’ve ever lived, and there are quite a few, the Pacific Northwest has the most beautiful summers! Gloriously sunny, warm days and cool nights let us forget the long, dreary and drippy winters.
One thing I don’t always enjoy during the dog days of summer is heating up the kitchen to cook. Slaving over a hot stove is no fun, but easily remedied with salad dinners!! I’m not talking leafy greens, but salads made with an assortment of vegetables, fruits, different types of grains, beans and lentils, tofu, and even some cheese now and then. Salads, that can easily serve as a one bowl meal!
Here’s a dish we enjoyed last night. It came together quickly, and turned out quite delicious! I saw the recipe in a magazine, and adjusted it to the ingredients on hand.
The cherries have been unbelievable here in Portland this year. We’ve been munching on big, juicy, sweet dark red bings, yellow-reddish rainiers, and some delectable strawberry cherries. Yum!
This quinoa salad comes together quickly and benefits from chilling in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. It keeps well, and would be a nice change from mayonnaise heavy macaroni and potato salads people bring to picnics and potlucks!
Here’s the recipe:
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup of quinoa ( I used white )
- 2 cups sweet cherries, cut in half and pitted
- 1 large cucumber ( I used an Armenian cucumber ), cut into small cubes
- 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt, dairy or plant-based
- juice from 1 lemon
- a slash of olive oil
- sea salt
- cayenne pepper, if you like a little heat
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh salad greens
Toast the almonds in a small skillet until fragrant and lightly colored.
Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and then add to a small pot with 1 1/2 cups water.
Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
Turn down the flame to a simmer and cover the pot.
Cook for about 15 minutes, or until tender and the water has been absorbed.
Turn off the flame, and let the quinoa cool in the covered pot.
Put the cherries, cucumbers, garbanzo beans and red onion into a large bowl.
Add the cooled quinoa and the toasted almonds.
In a small dish, combine the yoghurt, olive oil and lemon juice.
Add a sprinkle of salt and some cayenne pepper.
Carefully mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Just before serving, line a large serving plate with fresh salad greens.
Top with the quinoa-cherry salad and enjoy!