Well it is way past my bed time right now, but between grooming the dog, sewing blankets, unpacking from my New Orleans trip, and re-packing for my Fredericksburg trip, I am kind of up against it! This has been a busy few weeks and it is far from over! Whenever I am traveling a lot I start to crave veggies. I think it is my body's way of telling me I need extra energy to keep up. This salad is a simple and easy way to have a healthy meal that is also filling. You will need summer squash ( such as zucchini, or yellow squash ), 3 ears of corn, raw quinoa, mint, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, feta, salt and pepper.
Quinoa is awesome, if you haven't tried it, I totally recommend it! It is a whole grain that packs a whopping 8 grams of protein per cup ( that is a cooked cup, because it doubles in size when it is cooked ). If you are eating Vegan/Vegetarian it can be a great way to get the protein that we all need. Much like cous cous, quinoa is most flavorful at room temperature, so if you have the time, let it cool down. A little trick you can do if you don't have much time is to spread it on a cookie sheet and pop it in the fridge for a few minutes.
To cook quinoa pour 1 cup of uncooked quinoa into a saucepan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring this to a boil, cover, and set the heat to LOW ( I forgot to do this and burned my first batch! ) Cook for 20 minutes, and then transfer to a sheet or bowl to cool.
The next step to make this salad is to prepare the lemon and shallot vinaigrette. I chose to use lemon because it would brighten the taste of the squash and corn, and shallot because it is a mild onion and would not over power the squash flavor. Grab a bowl & whisk and follow the steps below.
Set your vinaigrette aside and get ready for the next step. Preheat your oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Wash and dry your squash and corn. Sharpen your knife and get out a cutting board.
Chop all of your squash into small pieces, roughly the same size as the top joint of your finger. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread the squash evenly over it. Season with a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Don't drown the squash in olive oil, if you do your salad will be too greasy and basically defeat the purpose of eating healthy. Just coat them lightly so they are glistening, but not sitting in a pool of olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top.
Next place your corn into a glass dish and rub a little oil, salt, and pepper over it. Place the corn and squash in the oven for 7 minutes, stir, and then cook for 7 minutes longer. Oven temperatures vary from oven to oven, so you can cook them a little longer, but be warned. If you cook the squash too long it will turn mushy and will not hold it's shape when you mix up the salad. It will still taste good, but you wont get the little delicious pieces of squash that we are looking for. After you pull the veggies out of the oven, set them on the counter to cool off.
While the veggies are cooling, prepare the Mint and Basil. wash, dry, and pull the leaves off. Using a sharp knife, finely chop the herbs. I used about a handful of each herb. If you don't like basil or mint (god forbid) parsley or thyme would also make a good substitution. Set these aside.
When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off! Get a large bowl and a small bowl. Place the smaller bowl upside down in the larger one. This will elevate the corn and make it easier to cut every last kernel off! Carefully slide your knife down the cob, rotating the cob until you have every last bit. Personally i prefer the kernels when they stick to each other, but if you don't like it you can break them up.
Next dump the quinoa, squash, and herbs into the same bowl as the corn. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette ( I only used about 3/4 of the dressing), and toss just until incorporated.
Now pour the salad into a dish and top with as much feta as you can stomach! I used an entire container full : )! I filled up after one bowl, but Mikey went back for seconds. It was savory, bright, and incredibly filling. I especially enjoyed the little crunchy corn bits. If you try this out, let me know in the comments below, until next time y'all!
Savory and filling salad with lots of fresh roasted veggies!
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 Hours (mostly cooling time)
1 cup of quinoia
2 Cups of water
1 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup of minced shallots
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1 tsp honey
7 whole summer squash
handful of Basil
handful of Mint
Add 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Cool. Finely mince shallots and garlic. combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper. Whisk. set aside. Preheat oven to 425. Wash and dry vegetables. Chop Squash into cubes. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper. Season squash and corn with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 7 minutes, stir, and cook for 7 more minutes. Cool. Finely chop herbs. Cut kernells of of corn cob. Toss quinoa, squash, corn, mint, basil and vinaigrette. Top with Feta cheese and serve.