quinoa salad with burst cherry tomatoes + herbs.

This recipe comes from me being inspired by my newest favorite cookbook, Plenty. It is the perfect book to get inspiration from this time of year, when summer produce is so plentiful — no pun intended!

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The original incarnation of this dish had you leave the tomatoes raw and bulk out the salad with grilled sourdough bread – YUM. I will totally be making it the way it was written, but I’ve been overdoing it a little on carbs recently, so I decided to leave out the bread and just make this with the quinoa and vegetables. Still very delicious, filling, and packed full of vitamins and protein. Hooray!

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You can definitely leave the tomatoes raw if you’d like — I just prefer cherry tomatoes roasted or thrown into a very hot pan for a minute or two; they begin to just burst, and they get even sweeter. I also think the juxtaposition of them against the cold, raw cucumber is just lovely. The salad is coated simply with some red wine vinegar and a touch of olive oil, but I think the real star here are the fresh herbs. We are using both fresh mint, which I love in savory salads, and cilantro, which has that herbal bite that cannot be replicated with any other herb. I know cilantro is controversial, so feel free to sub in parsley for all the cilantro haters. If you want a decidedly Italian spin, use fresh basil.

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Like most grain or seed-based salads, this gets even better as it sits, making it great for picnics, parties, or lunches during the week. Enjoy!

quinoa salad with burst cherry tomatoes + herbs.
inspired by the grilled sourdough + quinoa salad from Plenty. 

ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup/8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 english cucumber, peeled, seed scooped out, and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1.5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

directions
Cook the quinoa according to package directions (1 cup quinoa/2 cups water). Once cooked, remove from heat, fluff with a fork and add to a large mixing bowl.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat one tablespoon of oil in a heavy bottomed skillet (stainless or cast iron is ideal) over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering but not smoking, add the halved cherry tomatoes along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomatoes just begin to burst. Remove from the pan and set them aside.

Once the quinoa is at room temperature in the bowl, add the sliced red onion, diced bell pepper and cucumber, and burst tomatoes. Stir to combine.

Add the mint, cilantro, red wine vinegar, remaining tablespoon of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and pepper. Toss together. Taste, adding more salt or pepper if desired. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Serves 4 as a main, 6-8 as a starter/side. Keeps well in fridge for 3-4 days.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

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