I don’t know about you, but when the temperatures rise to 100 degrees I want to do as little cooking as I can get away with. We want our meals filling, but as light as possible. There is no worse feeling than to feel stuffed and bloated while winding down your day in the heat.
Skipping meals isn’t an option, so cold salads have become our summer staple. One of my favorites is definitely light and filling, easy to prep and makes an easy solution to eating on the run as well.
Quinoa salad has become my “go-to” meal for these dog days of summer. Prepped early in the day (or night before), then left in the refrigerator for the flavors to mesh, it is the perfect meal or side dish!
I’m sharing two of my favorite salads for Fitness Friday today.
To make these cool summer sides or meals I took a 14 ounce bag of quinoa and prepared all of it according to package directions, except I replaced the water with unsalted chicken broth for added flavor, then divided for the two recipes. Be very careful not to undercook your quinoa as it’s a whole lot like eating pebbles, or to over cook the grain and have a pan of mush on your hands. I’ll be honest, I have done both and it will totally kill your salad dreams.
After the quinoa was fully cooked, I divided it into two large bowls to make my salads.
One of the easiest and tastiest quinoa salads to make is my Southwestern flavored quinoa.
7 ounces of Quinoa, cooked
1/2 bag Organic frozen corn
1 15 ounce can of no-salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
Medium red onion, chopped
Green Bell Pepper, diced
English Cucumber, diced
2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
Juice of two large lemons
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine the vegetables with the quinoa and squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Drizzle your olive oil and then mix well. Taste to decide whether you need more lemon juice. Add the cilantro, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight for the flavors to mesh.
My other favorite quinoa salad dish is Mango & Shrimp. I really love this one, especially after it has had time for the flavors to really come together!
7 ounces quinoa, cooked
1/2 pound grilled shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved
1 mango, peeled, sliced & chunked
1 large jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine the quinoa with the shrimp, mango, pepper, tomato, and onion. Add the lime juice and olive oil and mix thoroughly. Then toss in the cilantro. Taste to make sure you like the strength of the lime juice. In the summer limes are often smaller and less juicy than the fall, so you may want to add a bit more juice.
Cover and let sit in the refrigerator a couple of hours (overnight is much better!).
Just a little side note; if you are wanting a salty juicy dish, this IS NOT one for you. I love these two dishes because they showcase fresh flavors without artificial flavor and toxins getting in the way.
Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do to your body when you are striving to live an active and fit life, and especially if you are trying to lose weight and gain muscle! Take advantage of these fresh dishes that can be enjoyed right from the refrigerator for a lighter meal as they both contain your carb and protein servings.
You can’t beat that simplicity!