Color Wheel Quinoa Salad ~ You can have a lot of fun with this healthy salad ~ come up with your own veggies to fill in the spokes of the color wheel, there are so many combinations to try!
Quinoa is an ancient crop from South America, and it’s really more of a seed than a cereal or grain. It has a nice firm, nutty texture, and you can substitute it for rice or pasta as a side dish or in cold salads. I try to explore as many new foods as I can, not only because of possible health benefits, but because it keeps things from getting boring.
The dressing is simple but gives this salad a real kick. It’s just sesame oil, garlic, lime and mint, but all four of those ingredients are powerful flavors.
- 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (follow the package directions, it cooks quickly)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halves or quartered
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced, sliced or julienned
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
- a handful of greens, chopped (swiss chard, spinach, kale, arugula etc)
- 1/2 cup purple cauliflower, chopped
- 6 scallions, sliced
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 large clove garlic
- several sprigs of fresh mint (about 2 heaping Tbsp chopped)
- 6 Tbsp sesame oil
- juice of 1 lime
- Combine all the veggies with the quinoa, breaking up any clumps of quinoa as you toss.. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
- In a small food processor, or with a sharp knife, finely mince the garlic and mint.
- Whisk or pulse in the oil and lime juice. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss the dressing with the quinoa, and refrigerate until chilled.
I love this purple cauliflower, it represents the violet part of the spectrum beautifully. Why no blue foods? I’ve heard one theory that the color blue is an appetite suppressant. Another says that the blue color in nature is associated with poisonous plants and so humans have evolved to avoid it. The pigment itself is apparently difficult to isolate so it doesn’t show up in hybrids.