I love when recipes are customizable, meaning it’s very easy to make substitutions to fit what you’re craving.
This salad, for example, has quinoa, cucumber, sweet cherries, pistachios, feta and parsley and is tossed with a fresh orange vinaigrette dressing. Yum!
But next time I make it, I might use farro (an ancient grain), strawberries, spinach, almonds, goat cheese and mint with a fresh lemon vinaigrette dressing. The base of the salad is essentially the same, but I can swap out my grain, veggies, fruits, nuts, cheese and herbs to whatever makes me happy that day … or whatever I have leftover in my fridge, realistically.
And what’s extra cool is that this is one way to learn to cook without using a recipe. You start by customizing simple recipes like this one, and you eventually don’t require a recipe to throw something together that’s absolutely delicious.
I also like to pay attention to the colors in a recipe. I try to mix things up so I get at least two colors in each dish I make because those colors provide different, important nutrients.
And it also makes the presentation of the dish extra special.
So tell me – what are you going to put in your summer salad?Print
A quinoa salad with sweet cherries, cucumber, pistachios, feta and a fresh orange dressing.
- Zest and juice of 1 medium orange (about ¼ cup)
- 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 medium English cucumber
- 1 ½ cups sweet cherries, pitted and sliced
- ½ cup chopped pistachios
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the orange zest and juice, white wine vinegar, Dijon, honey, olive oil, salt and black pepper until combined.
- In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, cucumber, cherries, pistachios and feta. Add the dressing as desired and toss to combine. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Top with parsley to serve.
Cooking Tip: To cook quinoa, add 2 cups water and 1 cup quinoa to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until water is absorbed and the germ pops out from the quinoa seed. Fluff with a fork.
Substitution Tip: Use any combination of grain, vegetable, fruit, nut, crumbly cheese and herb in this recipe.
- Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
- Calories: 201
- Sugar: 9g
- Sodium: 161mg
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 10g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 6g
- Cholesterol: 8mg
Keywords: salad, grain salad, quinoa salad, quinoa, cherry, cherries, cucumber, vinaigrette