This dish is perfect for your fourth of July picnic. It’s elegant, flavorful and makes healthy use of my favorite food groups: leftovers.
The secret to a great quinoa bowl is to dress the quinoa while it’s still hot, which allows the quinoa to absorb all the flavors of your dressing. I used a Dijon vinaigrette, but change it up with whatever you have on hand. About a quarter cup of dressing per cup of quinoa worked for me. To quickly cool the quinoa I stored it flat on a plate in the freezer while I chopped the veggies and chicken. Then I combined everything in one big bowl, dished out individual portions and voilà! The perfect picnic lunch.
For picnics and school lunches, I rely on something similar to these reusable lunch boxes with a cold pack – mine have been to the beach, tousled about in a backpack at Disneyland, and even confiscated once by the San Diego TSA for containing chicken salad (apparently mayo is a no-no).
Quinoa is perfect for gluten-free eaters and vegetarians alike – with nine essential amino acids, it’s a complete protein. It also cooks faster than many grains and is cholesterol free. Use some chicken or vegetable stock to pump up the flavor, or add a pat of butter if you’re cooking your quinoa with water. Just be sure to rinse well before cooking. Let’s eat!
- 1 ½ cups red quinoa
- ½ cup Dijon vinaigrette
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- ¼ cup green scallions
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil leaves
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- Cook quinoa according to package directions; add a pat of butter to the water for additional flavor.
- While the quinoa cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Once the quinoa is done, toss with the Dijon vinaigrette.
- Combine with the remaining ingredients; season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.