A make-ahead grain salad, especially one made with quinoa, is one of my favorite sides to serve for a picnic, cookout or backyard BBQ. Quinoa has a great nutty taste, is a very filling side dish, and is a good option for any vegetarians in the crowd because it has a decent amount of protein. There are so many quinoa salads that I like to make, like Mediterranean quinoa salad, Middle Eastern quinoa tabbouleh salad, asparagus & feta quinoa salad, spring quinoa salad with peas, mint & pecorino, and quinoa salad with orange, cilantro and golden raisins, but we were going for a serious red, white and blue 4th of July color scheme so I used roasted red peppers, tomatoes and feta in this tasty quinoa salad. Making the quinoa with chicken or vegetable stock instead of water adds a lot of flavor to the dish, as does the sherry vinaigrette dressing.
Serve this red and white quinoa salad as part of the 4th of July party menu, or at any picnic or cookout. The salad can be made up to 3 days in advance and travels well. Leftovers are great for lunch.
This red and white grain salad goes well with grilled meat, poultry and fish. It’s a great side dish for a cookout or BBQ since it can be prepared in advance and served at room temperature. Make this quinoa salad up to 3 days in advance.
- 4 C. chicken or vegetable stock (low sodium)
- 2 C. quinoa
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbs.)
- 4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 8 oz. roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 15 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. While waiting for the stock to boil, place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under warm water for 2 minutes to wash away the natural (but bitter) outer layer of the grain. Once stock is boiling, add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and simmer until quinoa has absorbed most of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, fluff with a fork. Cool at room temperature.
- In a medium bowl combine lemon, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined. Add cooled quinoa, chopped red peppers and tomatoes and stir gently with a fork to keep quinoa fluffy. Add feta and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.