About these Quinoa Salad Picnic Jars:
They’re fresh, light, and the perfect thing to pack alongside a bottle of white wine for your next picnic. Or a “not-sad” desk lunch. As well as a solution for dinnertime that falls between watching one child’s soccer game and the others tee ball practice.
Cucumber ribbons and whole basil leaves.
Earthy pearls of quinoa, that adds protein.
Sweet, dried Montmorency tart cherries, that help reduce inflammation + heart health benefits.
Creamy goat cheese.
Admittedly, an unexpected toss up of ingredients that over delivered. Melded together with a simple lemon vinaigrette, it’s the kind of thing we eat on the regular in summer. Anything that saves me from turning on the oven is a win! Better yet, the jars lasts for several days in the refrigerator. If you’re serving a crowd, you can leave it as one big bowl salad too.
Lightbulb Quinoa Moment: I finally learned the secret to making quinoa for salads, so that the individual grains are separate instead of sticking together and being quite mushy. It’s all in the ratio, and not listening to the back of the package! Which always tells you 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. Don’t do it. Instead, 1 1/4 cup water to 1 cup quinoa makes fluffy, light grains that are exactly what you want for a salad.
Six Little Things About Me:
Maybe it’s your first reading this blog, or maybe you’ve been with me for the last six years. Yes, this little blog turned SIX at the beginning of July, a venture I had no idea would turn into the thing that provides my living, but more so, fills me with passion and happiness every single day.
I love this space beyond the food and recipes because it has become my journal. Sharing the ebbs and flows of life, glimpses of the world we live in, and photos that will jog my memory and emotions as I grow older.
As I was looking through the archives recently, I realized I’ve shared some very big thoughts and happenings with you, like my decision to be childless, anxiety, health struggles, friendships, being the adult child of divorce, and career change. Yet some of the average every day things, which make us who we are, well, I’ve left those out. The quirky characteristics are what set us apart, and paint our picture, going beyond surface level. So! I’m sharing six of them with you today, in celebration of six years of Heartbeet Kitchen. Here goes….
- I never wear matching socks. Ever. Eight years ago I was working on unraveling my perfectionist stronghold, and challenged myself with this activity. It was difficult at first, driving me half crazy most of the day. But then it felt great. And so freeing! So I kept up with it, and have no plans to change.
- I eat chocolate and peanut butter every single day. They are the two easiest, fastest things that cure my sweet tooth, make my day better, or save me from hangry.
- I am that person who always tests their car’s empty fuel gauge. It drives Brian crazy. But I have never run out of gas! And similarly, I’m notorious for my phone’s battery to be at 1%.
- I drive a Mini Cooper, that I had no intention of buying. However, I turned the corner one day and there she was sitting in the car dealership lot, the same color as my KitchenAid stand mixer – pistachio. Three hours later I walked out with the keys.
- Almost every day, I start my day with a walk around our St. Paul neighborhood. I love looking at all the old houses, listening to the squawks of morning, and letting my mind wonder. I love to take a photo/video along the way and document via my instagram story.
- I listen to country music. A lot. Currently obsessed with Florida Georgia Line and this song by LANCO. In the same token, you’ll find old school rap like Salt-N-Pepa and Jay-Z right next to the twang on my current playlist.
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- 3 persian cucumbers, thinly sliced with mandoline, vertically (these are the little ones you get at Trader Joe's)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Rinse quinoa well in a colander with cold water. Add to medium pot, cover with water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- To a large bowl, add cherries, red onion, basil, goat cheese, cucumbers. Pour quinoa on top.
- Whisk together or blend olive oil, agave nectar, lemon juice, garlic, dijon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour over salad ingredients and fold to combine. Taste, and add salt if needed. Divide into jars and keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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