Quinoa with Cherry Tomatoes and an Assortment of Grilled Vegetables

I often make a batch of quinoa, wheat berries, or lentils on the weekends and store them in the fridge all week to add to salads or to throw in a Tupperware on my way to work. I find that just a small serving of cooked quinoa (just one cooked cup) is plenty filling, but I like to play with the accompaniments and flavors that go along with it. This recipe utilizes summer’s best bounty of cherry tomatoes as well as fresh farm-grown zucchini and bell peppers, but feel free to use whatever is growing in your garden or available at your local market. Grilling the vegetables gives the dish a wonderful aroma along with a variation on texture, and leaving the tomatoes fresh and untouched makes the salad a refreshing and cooling option for a hut summer afternoon. There is nothing like biting into a ripe cherry tomato and relishing in the satisfaction of the ‘bite’ and the rupture of the juice. Filling, refreshing, and healthy, this quinoa salad is a quick and easy variation on summertime lunch choices.

Ingredients (For about 4 servings. Double the ingredients if serving for a small party or group): 1 cup quinoa, 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 small zucchini, extra virgin olive oil, juice from half a lemon, one bunch basil leaves julienned, salt, pepper

Recipe: Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir once. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let simmer for about 18-20 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed most or all of the liquid.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan and drizzle with olive oil. Slice the bell pepper into strips and add to the pan. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into long, flat strips and add to the pan. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the vegetables a few times as they grill in order to cook evenly.

In a large or medium bowl, combine the quinoa with the halved cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, julienned basil, and lemon juice from half or one whole lemon (however much lemon juice you prefer). Put the long zucchini slices on a cutting board and slice crosswise into half-inch or one-inch pieces. Add to the quinoa mixture. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of olive oil. Lightly mix the ingredients in the bowl. Serve warm or cold. This recipe will store nicely for one week in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.

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