This is the perfect light lunch or a great summer side dish for a BBQ! It’s light, yet filling! It’s one of my stand by items for summer get togethers! Feel free to add any of your favorite vegetables to this dish. The more variety, the more the flavor! It’s perfect to make with your farmer’s market treasures or your fresh garden produce!
Grain & Veggie Pasta Salad
- 2 1/2 c. mixed grains (orzo, cous cous, quinoa, wild rice, etc.. I prefer the Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend)
- 4 green onions or ½ red onion
- 2 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, diced (I like some of each)
- 1-2 c. tomatoes, diced
- 1 c. carrots, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 2 c. sugar snap peas, cut into small pieces
- 2 avocado’s, cubed
Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing:
- ½ c. white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbls. sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 Tbls. lemon juice
- 1 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T. flax oil, optional
Process all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a blender while slowly drizzling in the oils.
For the salad:
Cook your grains ahead of time so they will have time to chill. Just follow the directions for whichever grain or mix you choose to use in the salad. If you have access to a Trader Joe’s, you will love thier mixed grain bags. I love the Harvest Grains blend. It’s a mix of Israeli couscous, red quinoa, orzo, & baby garbanzo beans.
If you don’t go to TJ’s, then you can always use straight quinoa (keen-wah), just make sure to rinse it first so you won’t have the bitter taste. I do cook quinoa in chicken broth because I think it helps takes the bitter taste away as well. It is an amazing ancient super grain that is wonderful for you. It provides a complete protein (meaning it contains all of the nine amino acids required for that) so if you are a vegetarian or want to get more plant protein in your diet, start using it more often.
After you’ve cooked your grains, let them cool. I put them in a bowl and chill them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. I like to cook mine the day before so they have time to chill in the refrigerator. After the grains are cold, dice all your vegetables and mix them in with the grains. Toss with the dressing until coated but not soaking. Then top with diced avocados!
- You will not use all of the dressing, but it stays good for a month or so in the refrigerator. It’s great on green salads too!
- Put avocado’s on the salad right before serving to prevent them from going brown.
- It is a great healthy lunch wrapped in a tortilla or a fun side salad to serve on a hot summer day