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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quinoa Caprese Salad

For most of the summer, I spend my Friday afternoons at the pool. Quite a few mothers (the number ranges from 5-15 on any given Friday) and anywhere between 10 and 40 kids take over the neighborhood pool for a few hours. There is no structure to our afternoon... other than the fact that there are always more hot dogs than there are kids, plenty of junk food to go along with the hot dogs, and something a wee bit more nutritious for us moms to eat.  

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time whatsoever, it will not surprise you to learn that I usually volunteer to bring some sort of salad or vegetable to our poolside potlucks. 

Last week, it was Quinoa Caprese Salad. I love tomatoes and fresh basil, and both are flourishing in my garden (and my AHO box) this week.  I decided to combine the tomatoes and basil with some quinoa to make a salad that would be easy to transport to the pool, gets better and better as it sits and the flavors meld, and is fresh and yummy. Of course, since there are always plenty of extra veggies around here, I added in a few others. Why not, eh? You can add more veggies if you have them, or skip some if you don't. I had zucchini, celery, and shallots in the fridge, so that is what I used. You could also add diced bell peppers, corn, parsley, peas, or really anything else you want. I don't think there is a possible way to ruin this one.

Quinoa Caprese Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot (minced)
1 medium zucchini (diced)
2 ribs of celery (diced)
8 ounces grape tomatoes (cut in half)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella (cut into small cubes)
about 10-12 leaves of basil, chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa well ahead of time, to give it time to cool. Bring two cups of water to a boil. As soon as it boils, add the quinoa, lower the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, fluff it with a fork. Let it cool completely.

Stir the olive oil and vinegar into the quinoa. Chop the veggie and cheese and stir them in. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chill completely before serving.