Quinoa is a very versatile seed. It easily lends itself to any type of dish or it can be substituted for other grains. Salads are no exception. Quinoa works well as the base of any hearty salad or simply sprinkled on for more nutritional value.
This simple quinoa salad with grilled summer vegetables brings together quinoa, zucchini, summer squash and asparagus in a beautiful melody of flavors and textures.
This salad can be eaten on its own as a vegetarian, or vegan meal as it is nutritionally sound from the quinoa along with the added vegetables. It can also be paired with other proteins, the choice is completely yours.
Salads are also a great way to bring various vegetables and fruits together especially when you have an abundance. It also helps you to get those extra fruits and vegetables in your diet, plus they taste great too, so that’s a win-win, right?
So lets start by preheating the oven to 400° or your grill for roasting the garlic and grilling the veggies.
Next start by preparing the quinoa, you can refer to my previous post on cooking fluffy quinoa or follow the directions on your quinoa package.
Once your oven is heated, place your garlic in the oven to roast for 2o min. I found this great link which offers great step by step directions on how to roast a head of garlic. You can check it out here.
If you don’t want to use the oven during the hot summer months, your garlic can be roasted on the grill using the same method as for the oven. Once the garlic has roasted and cooled, separate the cloves, mash them and set aside.
In the meantime, cut your zucchini and summer squash in half and place on the grill. You can season them with a bit of salt and pepper to taste and some olive or avocado oil for a light basting.
Once grill lines appear turn over and repeat. You don’t want to grill the zucchini and squash too long, as you want them to have a firm bite for the salad. Depending on your grill’s temperature, 3 – 4 min per side should be ideal to form beautiful grill lines.
Once the zucchini and squash have been grilled and cooled. Cut into bite size cubes and set aside.
Prepare your asparagus by cutting into bite sized pieces, chop the shallots, measure the capers, mustard and pat of butter and set aside.
Next add oil to a heated pan and saute the shallots for 2-3 min.
Add the butter, allow it to melt before adding the asparagus and saute for 1-2 min. The butter used in this recipe is a vegan butter. I often use Earth balance. You can also skip the butter if you prefer.
Next add the capers and mustard and saute for 1-2 min. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, add the quinoa, cubed grilled zucchini, squash, mashed roasted garlic and the cooked asparagus with any left over pan juices.
Mix together completely and refrigerate until ready to serve.
This is a perfect make ahead recipe for an outdoor barbecue, gathering or pot luck. It is delicious and full of flavor.
The asparagus develops this amazing flavor from being sautéed, while maintaining its crisp crunch. The grilled zucchini and summer squash gives this salad a nice bite and brings the colors of summer together in one hearty salad dish.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water or broth
- 2 large zucchini- cut lengthwise
- 2 large summer squash
- 1 medium shallot
- 1 head of garlic - roasted
- 1 bunch asparagus- cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- A pat of butter
- Salt & pepper- to taste
- 1 tbsp avocado oil & a little extra for grilling
- Cook quinoa - set aside
- Roast garlic- chop and mash and set aside
- Grill zucchini- cube and set aside
- Add oil to a heated pan and add shallots- saute for 2-3 min
- Add butter and asparagus - saute for 1-2 min
- Add capers and mustard - saute for 1-2 min
- Remove from heat
- In a large bowl, add quinoa, cubed grilled zucchini and mashed roasted garlic
- Add the cooked asparagus and pan juices
- Mix together and refrigerate until ready to serve