This scrumptious little salad was my lunch for three days in a row this week. I made a huge bowl and stored it in the refrigerator. I scooped some out each morning to take to work. The first day it was great, the second day it was even better because the dressing had soaked into the veggies, and on the third day it was still good but skimpy on the broccoli. I think I picked most of it out trying to put more broccoli into my first two servings. And I lost 2 lbs this week!
I have a little over two weeks before we leave for Italy so I’ve been adding a lot more raw vegetables and salads to my diet. I’d like to lose another couple of pounds before we go. I want to be a little underweight because I plan on eating me some real Italian pasta and plenty of gelato. I don’t want to outgrow my two pair of pants I’m allowed to take. I may make another similar salad this week for the convenience and the weight loss benefits, and because I’m craving it again just by looking at the pictures. I love the raw vegetables mixed with a few cooked vegetables and the quinoa gives it a nice nutty flavor.
For this salad you will need to roast corn or grill it. I always prefer grilled, but I really needed a fast throw together salad so I popped it in the microwave. For those of you that have never done that, you must try it. It’s the easiest and fastest way to cook an ear of corn; however, it’s not as good as grilled, but it tastes so much better than boiled. I put the whole ear of corn in the microwave with the shucks and all. I cook it on high for about three minutes per ear. After it’s cooked remove the shucks and silks and shave it off the cob. I eat it plain, but you can add seasoning or oil. Delicious!
You’ll need to start boiling the red quinoa according to the package and cook the red onion and yellow peppers in a skillet. When the quinoa is boiled, I add it to the onions and peppers and let stand for about 10 minutes. I like to let these things cool before I add them to the raw vegetables.
QUINOA SALES PITCH: Like everyone else in 2013, I fell in love with quinoa. I first heard about it on the Dr. Oz Show, and after I did a little more research, I started making this super food a regular part of my diet. For those of you that have never heard of quinoa, it’s a type of grain. I’ve used both red and white quinoa, and I like them both. Technically, in the world of botany, I believe quinoa is related to the spinach family. But it can be used in the place of rice, wheat, and added to any dish to give it a crunch or nutty taste. It contains more vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants than any other grain. It also contains more protein and twice as much fiber. It contains iron, B vitamins and has anti-inflammatory benefits and disease-fighting nutrients so if you want to look good and feel good, consider adding quinoa to your recipes. My mom even made my daddy try it with his rice and gravy. She loved it, but he said he’d rather stick to his Cajun rice. And that’s why he’s not as healthy as us. 🙁
The next thing to do is chop up those raw vegetables and add the corn and can of black beans.
I like to chop the broccoli in small bite-size pieces. I rinse the black beans, and chop a little red bell pepper to add a little sweet bell pepper taste. Make the dressing with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, and fresh dill. This dressing was once made with agave sweetener instead of honey, but I recently discovered on the Dr. Oz show that agave contains more fructose than any other common sweetener, including high-fructose corn syrup. The honey makes the dressing a little thicker and to me it’s not as sweet so if you want it sweeter, add more honey. I’d try it first with less to save on calories.
Stir in the cooked vegetables (onions and peppers) and quinoa. Add the dressing and here’s a close-up of what you’ll get:
- 3 ears of corn, roasted and sliced from the cob
- ½ cup of red onion, diced and sauteed
- ½ cup of yellow bell pepper, diced and sauteed
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup of red quinoa, cooked
- 2 cups of broccoli, chopped
- 1 can of black beans
- juice of two large lemons
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of honey,
- 1 teaspoon of fresh cut dill
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of red pepper
- Roast 3 ears of corn in a microwave for three minutes per ear. Do not remove shucks or silks until fully cooked. Shave the corn off the cob with a knife. Let cool.
- Cook the red quinoa according to the package instructions.
- Diced the red onion and the yellow bell pepper. Sauté in a skillet until tender.
- Add the quinoa to the onions and peppers. Let stand for about 10 minutes to cool.
- Meanwhile, dice the raw red bell pepper into tiny pieces
- Chop the broccoli into small bite-size pieces.
- In a large bowl, add the red peppers, broccoli, corn, black beans and stir together.
- Stir in the cooked onions, peppers, and quinoa.
- For the dressing: Juice of two lemons, 1 balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of fresh cut dill, salt, red pepper and garlic powder. Whisk briskly.
- Add the dressing to the salad and stir thoroughly. Let stand for a few minutes to marinate and stir again.