This Meatless Monday recipe has it all! It’s gluten free, vegetarian, packed with protein, and it’s perfect for summertime picnics and cookouts. Oh, and kids love it too thanks to the crunch of the bell peppers, quinoa, and almonds and the sweetness of the apricots and honey.
Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids. Half a cup of cooked quinoa has 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. And it’s versatile, making its way into breakfast cereals, salads like this one, and hearty mains.
This is a flexible recipe. You can add just about any dried fruit you love, any nut, and if you’re a carnivore, your favorite grilled meat.
- Serves: 5
- Serving size: 1 cup
- Calories: 240
- Fat: 8g
- Saturated fat: 0.5g
- Carbohydrates: 36g
- Sodium: 250mg
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 7g
- 1 cup quinoa
- ½ small red bell pepper cut into ¼-inch dice (1/2 cup)
- ⅓ cup toasted sliced almonds
- ⅓ cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped (or golden raisins)
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse very well several times under cold running water. Drain well. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the quinoa in the skillet and “toast,” stirring frequently, until the quinoa is dry and gives off a nutty aroma, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place 1½ cups water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the “toasted” quinoa and stir well. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy, 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- Transfer quinoa to a salad bowl and fluff slightly with a fork every few minutes until the grains cool.
- Stir in the bell pepper, almonds, apricots, scallions, cumin, and salt until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Stir into the quinoa mixture until the grains are well coated. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.