With local produce abundant and the weather showing real signs of spring, it’s time to get your main course salad game on. Hardy, colorful salads featuring whole grains, veggies and proteins are just right for weekday lunch boxes and healthy, easy dinners. Add cheese, dried fruit, nuts and seeds for extra texture, and dress with all manner of vinaigrettes. Prepare a big batch of salad at the beginning of the week, and let it sustain you through busy meetings and rushed evenings. Get creative with your favorite combinations and incorporate leftovers with abandon. Pledge to keep some sort of main course salad in your fridge all spring long. You’ll feel great.
This salad features white quinoa tossed with fresh vegetables and mint, and a tangy, lemon vinaigrette. Add chicken, shrimp or tofu for extra protein.
Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
1 ½ cups cooked white quinoa
2 cups any combination roasted or raw vegetables or legumes of your choice, including shredded carrots, corn, edamame, chickpeas, sweet peas, tri-color peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes
¼ cup fresh chopped mint
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the quinoa and vegetables in a bowl. Stir in the fresh mint. Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Pour the desired amount over the salad and toss well. Serve immediately or store in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.